A NUM­BERS PROB­LEM

Crowd and traf­fic man­age­ment re­mains a con­cern at Shang­hai Dis­ney­land, but au­thor­i­ties and the park op­er­a­tor are con­fi­dent of pro­vid­ing a safe en­vi­ron­ment for vis­i­tors to en­joy them­selves

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI - By YU RAN in Shang­hai yu­ran@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Since Dis­ney’s first theme park in the Chi­nese main­land kicked off its six-week trial on May 7, the re­sort has al­ready wel­comed close to 960,000 vis­i­tors, with as many as 110,00 turn­ing up in a sin­gle day dur­ing the La­bor Day hol­i­day.

While the over­all tech­ni­cal op­er­a­tions in the park are run­ning smoothly, the city’s au­thor­i­ties are none­the­less work­ing hard to ad­dress more than 100 is­sues, most of which per­tain to peo­ple and traf­fic vol­ume.

“The prob­lems are mainly re­lated to traf­fic fa­cil­i­ties and man­age­ment, safety stan­dards, law en­force­ment pro­vi­sions, guest ser­vices, as well as emer­gency plans to han­dle big crowds,” said Liu Zhengyi, the ex­ec­u­tive deputy di­rec­tor of Shang­hai In­ter­na­tional Tourism and Re­sorts Zone at a news con­fer­ence on May 19.

Liu added that the com­mit­tee is work­ing around the clock with Dis­ney and gov­ern­ment bod­ies to solve the prob­lems as quickly as pos­si­ble.

Tick­ets to the park went on sale on March 28 — reg­u­lar ad­mis­sion is priced at 370 yuan ($56), while peak pric­ing for hol­i­days and week­ends is set at 499 yuan, the same as the open­ing pe­riod be­tween June 16 and 30.

Un­sur­pris­ingly, re­sponse has been over­whelm­ing. En­try tick­ets for the first two weeks fol­low­ing the park’s grand open­ing on June 16 have al­ready been sold out. Mur­ray King, vice pres­i­dent of pub­lic af­fairs at Shang­hai Dis­ney Re­sort, said that the park has been is­su­ing dated tick­ets to as far ahead as Septem­ber 30 as part of crowd con­trol ef­forts.

“We are man­ag­ing the num­ber of vis­i­tors to the park by is­su­ing dated tick­ets so that at­trac­tions will not be over­crowded. We want guests to en­joy the at­trac­tions and leave with great memories and the de­sire to re­turn,” said King.

There have also been sev­eral com­plaints from the pub­lic about the ex­pen­sive din­ing and re­tail op­tions at the park. A num­ber of vis­i­tors claimed that hav­ing to pay 60 yuan for a Mickey Mouse bal­loon and at least 70 yuan for a set meal was a lit­tle un­rea­son­able.

“The din­ing and ac­com­mo­da­tion op­tions are priced al­most on par with Dis­ney’s other theme parks in the world. How­ever, our in­come lev­els have not caught up with those in de­vel­oped coun­tries like US and Ja­pan,” said Tian Yuxin, a Shang­hai na­tive who vis­ited the theme park with her fam­ily.

Tian added that while the over­all ex­pe­ri­ence dur­ing the trial pe­riod was pos­i­tive, with lit­tle signs of peo­ple hav­ing to brave long queues for rides, she feared that the sit­u­a­tion would change af­ter the of­fi­cial open­ing.

In re­sponse to the pric­ing is­sue, King said that the theme park does not dif­fer­en­ti­ate the crowd by in­come cat­e­gories as its tar­get mar­ket is typ­i­cally de­fined as those liv­ing within a three-hour jour­ney from the park. He added

The re­sort is de­signed spe­cially for the peo­ple of China, so I am proud to say that ev­ery Chi­nese guest will en­joy his or her visit.” vice pres­i­dent of pub­lic af­fairs at Shang­hai Dis­ney Re­sort

PHO­TOS BY LIU XIN FOR CHINA DAILY

About 15 mil­lion vis­i­tors are ex­pected to visit the Shang­hai Dis­ney Re­sort in its first year of op­er­a­tions.

The op­er­a­tor of the Shang­hai Dis­ney­land has been is­su­ing dated tick­ets to en­sure that daily crowd num­bers do not pose a dan­ger to vis­i­tors. Tick­ets for the first two weeks fol­low­ing the grand open­ing have al­ready been sold out.

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