“It really felt like a princess’s homecoming," one guest said.

By Cailey Rizzo and Elizabeth Rhodes
Updated May 21, 2020
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Hu Chengwei/Stringer via Getty

Shanghai Disneyland welcomed visitors back on May 11 with the expected excitement, but far fewer visitors.

“It really felt like a princess’s homecoming, especially when the staff lined up after the ticket check and said, ‘Welcome home!’,” a visitor told The Associated Press on opening day. “It feels like so many fewer people than normal. You don’t need to line up."

Travel + Leisure spoke to park guests who visited Shanghai Disneyland during its reopening week, and they echoed those positive sentiments. Laura Yang, who visited a few days after the official reopening, said, "It's definitely different, but not the bad kind of difference." She noted that the reduced park capacity was "great for us because we used to need to wait in line for a long time, now it only takes about 20 minutes on average for each ride."

Aside from the decrease in crowds — limited to 24,000 per day to be exact — selfies with Disney characters are not allowed and all visitors are required to wear face masks, except for when they’re eating. Additionally, new markings on the ground indicate how far people must stand apart in line.

Related: More Disney news

Hu Chengwei/Getty Images)
Hu Chengwei/Getty Images

Although images of the reopening measures may seem dystopian, park officials hope that its grand re-debut provides hope for Disney fans around the world.

“We hope that today’s reopening serves as a beacon of light across the globe, providing hope and inspiration to everyone,” Joe Schott, the president of Shanghai Disney Resort, told the AP.

And visitors were excited to return following the park's January closure.

The visitors T+L spoke to reported having a good — albeit different — experience during the park reopening. Gwenan Williams, who attended reopening day, said she "felt very safe there," and noted that she's already booked a ticket to go back.

Tickets to Shanghai Disneyland’s opening week sold out almost immediately following the announcement of the reopening. Entrance fees for the following weeks start at about $55 (399 yuan) for weekday visits and $70 (499 yuan) for weekends. Annual pass holders must make advanced reservations online, and general admission tickets will not be accepted during the "advanced reservation period," according to the website.

Upon entry, visitors must undergo a thermal temperature scan at the gate and be able to show a "green QR code" from a health tracing app – meaning their risk of having come in contact with COVID-19 is low. Visitors are also entering at allotted and scattered times.

Every opportunity for close contact at Shanghai Disneyland is limited. Only one family is allowed per car on rides. Restaurant capacity is also limited. Visitors will find decals on the floor, indicating how far apart they should social distance. Folks are also urged to continue health and safety measures, like frequently washing and disinfecting their hands.

The procedures for Shanghai Disneyland’s reopening were taken from a successful soft opening of Disneytown, a shopping and entertainment area in the Shanghai Disney Resort.

In the U.S., Walt Disney World has begun reopening as Florida begins to relax shutdown orders. Disney World’s Disney Springs waterfront development began a “phased reopening” of stores and restaurants on May 20. Disney recently released potential health and safety measures that the U.S. resorts might use upon reopening, suggesting many of the procedures currently in use in Shanghai. An agreement between The Walt Disney Company and a union representing many of Disney World's workers further outlined safety measures that will be used to protect employees at the Florida resort.

There is still no reopening date set for the Walt Disney World or Disneyland theme parks or resort hotels.