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
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
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.