Shanghai Disneyland, the world’s sixth Disneyland and the first in mainland China, officially opened to the public on Thursday.
Construction of the resort started as early as April 2011. It is the world’s third largest Disneyland, cost RMB 34 billion (USD 5.16 billion) to construct, occupies 390 hectares, and its expansion into the planned 700 hectares is already underway.
Yet in spite of great expectations from millions of potential visitors, problems emerged. It became a hot topic of discussion amongst Chinese netizens.
Among the tens of thousands of visitors on Thursday, a netizen said, “The furthest distance in the world is when Disneyland is right in front of you, yet you’ve got to wait in line for another hour.” This is joke from a classic poetic quote that says “the furthest distance in the world is not between life and death, but when I stand in front of you yet you don’t know that I love you.”
Herds of people flooded there on its official debut day. Shanghai Disneyland opened only a dozen check-in offices half an hour before the planned opening time of 12 noon – in the face of the appalling crowds stuck at the entrances.
In spite of the rain and the fact that new tickets were not being sold on the opening day, some went there at 3am, ready for a nine hours’ wait to collect their tickets booked online. Many tourists waited for over two hours just to get in.
“Subway line 11 may rival the always crowded line 2 now that the Disneyland is open,” said Weibo netizen Eyeable.
Even the trial operation saw 960,000 visits in a mere 23 days, and tickets are mostly booked out until the end of September.
The bad manners
It was raining. People were walking. Though an umbrella keeps the hair dry, it does not make shoes waterproof… But does that justify people drying their feet with hand dryers? Newspapers have shown photos of some tourists doing so, adding mocking comments saying that they looked like they were practicing yoga. But come on, since when did yoga look so lame?
Of course, the story does not end here: cutting in line, sometimes using a faked Fast Pass to do so, stepping on flowers, smoking inside a crowd, climbing on a trash bin to watch the parade, taking flash photos even though it is forbidden, regarding everywhere as a dumping ground for trash… There just are some people who are amazingly good at assuming ill manners as their own “rule of thumb”, and turning a blind eye to the contemptuous looks that others throw at them.
For example, a father let her daughter take off her shoes to sit with him on the raincoat laying on the floor, thus “occupying” a spot to watch an upcoming parade. Even worse, some parents, to save the trouble of waiting, allowed their children to pee into a plastic bag at the table in a restaurant, even though the toilet was only 20 meters away.
The facility malfunctions
On Thursday evening, an adventurous ride called Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure temporarily broke down. The safety harness failed to loosen and tourists were trapped in their seats for quite some time. Fortunately, no one was injured.
The roller coaster Seven Dwarfs Mine Train suffered a breakdown, and was closed for two days.
The ticket was priced at RMB 499 per day for peak seasons and RMB 370 per day for standard days, cheaper than the disneyland in Hong Kong. While some netizens complained about how expensive the food was, others were okay with the price and pleased with the variety of the food available.
Aside from of the abovementioned problems, as judging from Weibo posts, the overall impression of most visitors seems to be positive. After all, a wonderland where childhood memories are kept can always be a source of joy and fun… but it would be better if those problems would vanish outright.
(Top photo from Zmdtvw.cn)