Shanghai Disneyland Closed Due to Coronavirus
Shanghai Disneyland is closed indefinitely due to the coronavirus that has now killed 26 people in mainland China. The virus broke out in the Wuhan province and has infected over 800 people in addition to the fatalities. In this post, we’ll share details about the closure and what to expect if you’re planning a trip to Shanghai Disney Resort in the near future.
This resort-wide closure comes during the heart of China’s Lunar New Year holiday, which is typically Shanghai Disneyland’s busiest period. Last year, the park reached a capacity closure during the holiday due to heavy crowds. This would be the equivalent of Walt Disney World not being open during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
Health authorities in China fear the infection rate could accelerate over the holiday, when hundreds of millions of Chinese travel at home and abroad to spend time with their families. Consequently, many businesses in the travel sector–including airlines, travel agencies, and hotel operators are on high alert or are closing as a proactive safety measure.
As of right now, Shanghai Disneyland has not set a date to reopen. However, Shanghai Disney Resort has released a statement on its website about the closures and refund policy.
“In response to the prevention and control of the disease outbreak and in order to ensure the health and safety of our guests and Cast, Shanghai Disney Resort is temporarily closing Shanghai Disneyland, Disneytown including Walt Disney Grand Theatre and Wishing Star Park, starting January 25, 2020. We will continue to carefully monitor the situation and be in close contact with the local government, and we will announce the reopening date upon confirmation.”
“Shanghai Disney Resort will assist in the refund for guests who have purchased tickets for admission to Shanghai Disneyland, have booked a resort hotel, or have booked tickets for Beauty and the Beast Mandarin Production through the original ticket purchase channel, and we will introduce the detailed procedure and guidelines via the resort’s official platforms as soon as possible.”
Wuhan and neighboring Huanggang–cities of 11 million people and 7 million people, respectively–are in total lockdown, with 5 other cities in China also having similar lockdowns. Public transportation has been shut down in at least 13 surrounding cities in Hubei Province, with a combined population of more than 33 million people, per a report in the state-run Global Times newspaper.
Hubei’s provincial governor Wang Xiaodong, stated that the crisis had “entered a critical stage” and called shutting down the city as a tough but necessary choice due to their responsibility to curb the spread of the epidemic to other places. Hubei has also announced the construction of a new 270,000-square foot hospital with 1,000 beds to help contain the virus.
The coronavirus has also had a significant impact on the travel & tourism and entertainment sectors in China. In addition to the closure of Shanghai Disneyland, Beijing’s largest amusement park, Happy Valley, has closed until further notice. Other major tourist destinations, including Beijing’s Forbidden City and sections of the Great Wall of China will also close, authorities said.
Many of China’s other amusement parks, zoos, and national museums will also be closed. Chinese media is also reporting that hotel occupancy rates in both Shanghai and Beijing–which are normally booked to full capacity months in advance during Lunar New Year–are at a fraction of their normal numbers.
The coronavirus outbreak has also prompted seven Chinese films that were set to premiere during the Lunar New Year holiday to postpone screenings. This comes as several chains are shutting down entirely until at least January 27, during what is typically the best week of the year at the Chinese box office.
Disney is not the only American brand in China taking preventive measures to ensure safety. Starbucks China has announced that all stores nationwide will be disinfecting every two hours and they will be closing all stores in Wuhuan and surrounding cities in Hubei Province until at least New Year’s Day per The Beijing News.
McDonald’s is doing likewise, and has “suspended business” in five cities near the center of the coronavirus outbreak, according to Reuters. It’s unclear how many restaurants will close, but McDonald’s has over 100 stores in the Hubei region that could be impacted.
Shanghai Disneyland is located on China’s east coast and is more than 800 km from Wuhan. This would be roughly the equivalent of Walt Disney World temporarily ceasing operations due to a virus outbreak in Atlanta. However, Wuhan is a major public transportation hub and sees large population flow during the Lunar New Year holiday. This poses great risks to the spread of the epidemic throughout China and beyond.
Due to this coinciding with a popular travel period, several coronavirus cases have already been reported outside of China. South Korea and Japan both confirmed their second cases Friday and Singapore confirmed its third. Cases have been detected in Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea, Japan, and Singapore.
So far there is just one confirmed case of coronavirus in the United States–a patient who flew from China to Washington State earlier this week. However, new cases are being reported daily. Hopefully, the latest preventive measures will halt the further spread of the coronavirus.
The U.S. State Department official said that China’s response to stem and contain the coronavirus outbreak shows “positive signs” per ABC News. The official added that China has lacked transparency in the past and has is often more preoccupied with saving face publicly than admitting and treating the problem. Given the scale of China’s response in closing transportation and businesses, we can’t help but wonder if there’s more to this story.
The U.S. State Department has also issued a new travel advisory for the Hubei region, declaring it Level 4: Do Not Travel. This is the strongest of the four travel warning levels issued by the U.S. government, and puts the region on par with North Korea, Syria, and Iran. China itself remains on travel advisory Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution. This is due to arbitrary detentions and law enforcement concerns, including exit bans where U.S. citizens are prevented from leaving China (the most recent of which occurred just this week).
While the coronavirus is obviously concerning, our main hesitation to return to mainland China remains the previous travel advisory. The latest escalation in suppressing free speech abroad coupled with China’s treatment of Hong Kong, cultural genocide, and its growing list of human rights violations give us far more serious pause than the coronavirus. By contrast, we would not hesitate to visit Hong Kong Disneyland at any point in the near future.
If you do still plan on visiting to China, check out our Shanghai Disneyland Planning Guide. It’s a comprehensive guide to the park and beyond, covering everything from transit visas to airfare to WiFi to currency and much, much more. For more photos and an idea of what we did day-by-day during our first visit, read our Shanghai Disneyland Grand Opening Trip Report.
What do you think of this news? Will the coronavirus cause you to postpone a trip to Shanghai Disneyland, or elsewhere in Asia? Are you hesitant to visit mainland China given the various ongoing issues? Any questions? We love hearing from readers, so please share any other thoughts or questions you have in the comments below!
recent update on how i will cue my SARS virus
I have an annual pass for Shanghai Disneyland. I travel through the area a few times a year and add a day to my trip so I can visit the park.
Depending on how long the park is closed I wonder if they will extend my pass expire date.
Currently expires the end of March and I have plans to visit the park for an evening and the following morning.
I’m obviously understanding of the park closure and not looking for anything, just wondering what the policy will be.
Tom, totally agree with you and appreciate the analysis. On the note of SDL – it’s the only Disney park that my SO and I have not yet visited and we are living in East Asia for the next two years. While we debated making a short weekend trip over to experience SDL and all the great food / culture in Shanghai proper ultimately the travel advisories, political issues, and actions of the CCP convinced us otherwise. Instead we plan on visiting TDR several more times and hopefully making a return trip to HKDL. That being said, I do sincerely hope that the long-term future of China is positive and that we’ll be able to enjoy SDL one day.
Just more theatre by the powers that be and this article is mainstream! https://nypost.com/2020/01/23/dont-buy-the-media-hype-over-the-new-china-virus/?fbclid=IwAR38LmCubkwfNcFm2tKxob_FnR97OWGE0nlW9eis-PiD9GwdMn7P0pQyIlo
I’m currently in TDL and the rational part of my brain is telling me I’m at no greater risk there than anywhere else and to enjoy myself, and a nagging 1% is wondering why I travelled to an “area” that is at higher risk, and nervous of how the situation will evolve over the week and how my journey home will be then.
I also have a return visit to HKG scheduled and I’m not at all sure I’ll want to go, even though my flight tickets are non-refundable. I’ll see how I feel but at present I just think I wouldn’t enjoy it. Again, arguably irrational.
As for “taking a stand on China”, I respect your thinking, even though I don’t follow the same logic. My view is that it’s the citizens that lose out by “boycotting” countries, not the governments. It’s a bit like how I support international aid to India even though I think its government has its priorities upside down. The main reason I haven’t returned to SDL (before the news about this virus!) is because of the visa (or TWOV!) hassle, plus the fact that getting to SDL was a bit of a nuisance with no off-site hotels nearby. (If I did do it again, I’d stay on site, probably at Toy Story).
I also consider about the healthcare system of any other country that I’ve ever traveled to. You never plan on an appendix rupturing, a heart attack or the return of disease you had beaten. I had a friend whose son moved to China and married when he was in his early 20’s. Long story short, his parents, community and online support got him back to the states for emergency healthcare. Over there, they just put him in a room with dozens of people and very little help because they did not have the means to even begin life prolonging measures. While I’m not saying to never travel, China is one of the worst places to go if you have a health emergency. I hope you have a safe trip and I can imagine all the lovely merchandise at TDL!
The ultra modern veneer cracks readily, doesnt it?
Personally, I wouldn’t worry too much about that. We’ve had to go to a doctor in Japan (without any sort of travel insurance), and there was no issue whatsoever. I’d hazard a guess Hong Kong is the same way–and in this scenario, it behoves those countries to provide the best possible treatment given the whole viral transmission process. Of course, if you won’t enjoy yourself, that’s a different matter entirely.
Normally, I’d feel the same as you about traveling to other countries that have politics/governments with which I disagree. I think Shanghai Disneyland is a bit unique in the sense that planning at trip there (or encouraging others to do the same) is primarily benefitting the business majority-owned by the Chinese government. I also wouldn’t really call this a boycott–I’m not imploring others not to visit, and can respect the decision to go; it’s just not something I have any interest in doing for the foreseeable future for the reasons identified.
Fair point about it not being a boycott (although I did quietly wonder why you hadn’t revisited since launch!). And I can see that it would weigh more heavily on your conscience than mine, given your influence.
That said, I certainly won’t think of you as a hypocrite IF you revisit when the next super-amazing-incredible expansion is launched 🙂
I’ve skimmed the comments and we can talk statistics until the cows come home. However, why take any needless chances with your health or visiting a nation that can be hostile to its own citizens even? I don’t care if more or less people die from chihuahua attacks, the flu, bad fashion decisions, West Nile or gator attacks. Totally irrelevant imho. If you are 1 out of 1 or 1 out of millions, you would still be as dead as Lincoln if you got it and died. However, I also would not choose to vacation in China even if it were great weather and very healthy. Just saying.
You can get a “deadly” virus anywhere so your best chances are to be a shut-in.
Well, the standard practice is to quarantine the sick and release the healthy. Zoos use it, governments use it and hospitals use it in the PICU I know from experience. They use a herd mentality of medicine. Vaccinate and release and separate the sick as needed. It’s the best they have. There have been times when I do stay at home more to avoid whatever is going around, especially before traveling or when you have a small baby. A friend of mine cared for an infant with open heart surgery and definitely stayed away from social gatherings as to reduce risk to the child. It’s common sense and your lazy and flippant response ro is not appreciated.
Agree with the sentiments regarding to not overreact but rather to be smart about this time of year anyway. We’re infinitely more likely to suffer from the flu or a number of other infections than this newest bug. However, I think part of what concerns infectious disease folks is that they still haven’t figured out the finer points of transmission, like how long it is contagious in a person, how it survives on surfaces, etc. With that being the case, keeping non-essential travel and exposure to a minimum is obvious. They’ll figure all of this out sooner rather than later though, and then the news and the fear-mongering will be on to the next thing.
Here is another Factoid from the WHO: So far this year —
“At this point in the season, CDC estimates indicate that there have been
13 million influenza illnesses, 120,000 hospitalizations, and 6600
This folks, is for the “NORMAL”, yearly flu season! Look at the figures and tell me again why this new virus is cause for anything more than taking the usual precautions: Watch what you touch while out and about. Sanitize your hands and keep them away from your mouth, nose and eyes. If you want to look ” Asian Avant Garde” by all means wear a surgical mask. But above all, live your life unafraid and dont be panicked by a media whose main purpose in life is to attract eyeballs for their advertisers by any means possible.
BTW, I’ve been to Shanghai. You ain’t missing much.
Your hesitations to return to China are exactly ours, ALL of them. I feel extremely powerless but I can, however, put my tourist money where my mouth is when it comes to China. We stan HK (that’s what the kids say these days, right?) but I fear that unless something drastic happens (independance???), the HK we knew is gone… 🙁
while i would love to say i visited all the disney parks in the world, shanghai is at the bottom of my list. i’ve heard a host of not great things about the park itself, the way it’s run, cultural things allowed inside, plus all the political aspects of china itself. and the various, not-so-subtle hints that a lot of US disney price increases in recent years were to offset the debt to built the park in shanghai in the first place have always left a sour taste in my mouth. no, i don’t have any confirmation to link to, i just recall a number of blogs and other sites reporting their feelings on the matter. i do hope this containment actually contains the majority of this virus, glad i don’t have a trip planned anywhere until the fall. don’t want to be in any airports anywhere until this scare passes.
I really appreciate your reasons not to support China AND to support Hong Kong & Taiwan. More of us need to put our $ where our mouths are.
I am fully aware of what happened with SARS and I stand by what I said.
Thank you. Thank you for not shying away from not just the Wuhan coronavirus story, but what else is going on in China. As someone who used to live in China and now lives in Taiwan, I always hope but never expect to see frank commentary and discussion about the current state of affairs outside of (especially in the case of Taiwan) niche political discussions. I (and others) really appreciate it.
Beyond the substance of the problems, the huge issue to me is that China is effectively stifling free speech outside of China. Capitalism can be great, but not when major companies are so beholden to profits and fearful of losing access to that lucrative market that they effectively do the CCP’s bidding for it.
That’s scary and Americans should not excuse it.
Meanwhile, (if my source is correct-see paragraph 6 in link) 35,000 abortions are performed in China PER DAY. I have compassion for the suffering, but I also want to keep perspective. Praying it stays contained at least. https://www.frc.org/twochildpolicy
Every year almost one million people worldwide die of the flu and related illnesses while tes of millions are sickened. Somehow I can’t get all that excited about 30 additional deaths and about a thousand more illnesses. Any flu is a virus. There is no “cure” for viruses, only symptomatic treatment. No matter where it originated, the only thing one can do is take reasonable precautions against infection. I have lived and worked in mainland China. All in all I can’t recommend the place as a tourist destination, flu or not.That said, in my opinion this whole thing is overhyped. What is the news media going to do without a crisis to report?
I would kindly recommend, then, that you go back and read about the Chinese government’s ineffective response to the SARS epidemic to have a better understanding of why this is a big deal.
I think it’s important to emphasize that what’s presented here is simply what China is letting the outside world know. Remember, the CCP controls the media and is very concerned with its image. Hard to imagine so many state-owned/partnered businesses (like Shanghai Disneyland) would be closing during the most lucrative week of the year if this was no big deal.
FROM THE CDC WEBSITE:
During November 2002 through July 2003, a total of 8,098 people worldwide became sick with severe acute respiratory syndrome that was accompanied by either pneumonia or respiratory distress syndrome (probable cases), according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Of these, 774 died. By late July 2003, no new cases were being reported, and WHO declared the global outbreak to be over.
If you feel there is a need to panic over about a 1% worldwide increase in flu sicknesses and deaths due to the 2003 SARS “pandemic” and in anticipation of this new, highly hyped outbreak being the same, be my guest. So far there aren’t enough zeroes to the right of the decimal point on my calculator to quantify the increase in cases and deaths. I’m an engineer. I deal in facts not emotion. Nine thousand SARS cases is hardly a pandemic. Have yourself a Disney Day!
Jack, I like your logic. Viruses and diseases are everywhere, they always have been! If it’s not one virus that’s causing fear and panic, it’s another. Apparently, it’s just time for coronavirus to have the spotlight…until another virus takes its place.