We’ve only got a few weeks to go until Shanghai Disneyland opens its gates on June 16. And while we’ve already talked about some of the unexpected problems this resort is facing in the days before its opening, even more issues have popped up during its technical rehearsal that are gaining international attention.
All eyes will definitely be on Shanghai Disneyland for what Disney is likely hoping will be a blockbuster opening, but if Disney doesn’t solve these problems in the days left before its big day, the park could suffer a disastrous opening day the likes of which we haven’t seen in 60 years. Of course, there’s still time for the resort to correct these issues, but the clock is ticking - and the following problems have been making headlines around the world in recent days
1. Potential guest behavior issues are addressed via "etiquette guide"...
In our previous piece about the uphill battle Shanghai Disneyland seems to be facing we mentioned an unfortunate event where a swarm of guests caused massive damage at the DisneyTown shopping district. Though Cast Members quickly resolved the issue and repaired the damage caused by this situation, it looks like Shanghai city officials (and probably Disney executives as well) are trying to prevent a similar situation from happening in the opening days of Shanghai Disneyland. The South China Morning Post reports that an official “etiquette guide” was released earlier this week that is designed to ensure that guests don’t behave badly inside the resort, and laid out some interesting guidelines for guests wanting to visit this park.
Among other things, this new guide warns Shanghai Disneyland guests against throwing trash away in places other than designated trash receptacles, being loud or rowdy, vandalizing Disney property, skipping in line, damaging the landscape, and other "uncouth behaviors" including, rather specifically, lying down on the ground while in the park.
Patronizing? Absolutely. Embarrassing from a PR perspective? Yep. This is certainly a strange development (though every park has official rules and guidelines, we've never heard of an “etiquette guide” being released for guests), but if it helps to keep situations like the recent destruction of the resort’s shopping district from happening again, than maybe it will be worth the current PR awkwardness.
2. Wait times skyrocket for a number of attractions
Right now, Shanghai Disneyland is going through a technical rehearsal, where a limited number of guests (who mainly consist of Cast Members, their families, and of course a few VIPs) are able to experience attractions, purchase food and, of course, stock up on souvenirs. During this initial “dry run” phase, capacity is limited, and while we don’t have official figures about how many guests are being let into the park, Disney is purposefully keeping guest levels at manageable levels so they can test various things like guest flow without worrying about the pandemonium of a full park.
So with a smaller amount of people in the park to begin with, you’d expect that wait times would be pretty low, right? Well, not exactly. Social media reports in recent days have shown attractions like Soarin' and Tron Lightcycle Power Run showing wait times up to four hours, which is absolutely insane for a park with limited capacity, trial run or not.
While some of these wait time issues are almost certainly due to teething problems with operations, with only a few weeks to go before this park has its grand opening, these reports of long queue lines are concerning - especially as tickets for the park's first two weeks are completely sold out. If two of the park's rides are already hitting four hours (interestingly, the Jet Pack attraction has also been hitting 3 hour wait times as well), what could possibly happen when you have a park with wall-to-wall people? We could imagine there would be many complaints if guests pay for a full day of "peak admission" and are only able to experience 2-3 attractions.