A few weeks ago, we asked you for your opinion on the measures you would like to see in place when Disneyland Paris reopens to prevent the spreading of COVID-19. Thank you for your participation. The following is an analysis of your responses. Of course, these are in no way official guidelines, measures or conditions, but only the opinion of our members.
Access to Disneyland Paris grounds
We asked you about a possible limitation on park attendance. The majority of participants (87%) think that attendance should be limited, of which 61% would prefer a capacity reduced to 50%. But on what basis? We had raised the possibility of reopening the Annual Passes, which is not an option for 76% of those surveyed. Indeed, an Annual Pass does not provide any additional protection against illness, so it is doubtful that it could provide any additional benefit in this situation. The Disney group may consider other possibilities, such as dated tickets, opening the park to Disney hotel guests (in the event of the hotels reopening), compulsory splitting of guests over the two parks, or half days. In any case, it is important to take into account the 100 km travel limit currently imposed by the government, which automatically limits the number of potential visitors.
Even before being able to access the parks, there is an unavoidable step: going through the security gates. Anyone who has waited for their turn in the long queues at these security gates will be able to attest that this practice cannot continue as is.
According to our survey, 95% of the participants believe that the park cannot do without security checks, which suggests that security inside the parks remains a priority. But what measures should be implemented? For 64% of the participants, a combination of social distancing and disinfection would be preferable. The distancing measure is certainly the simplest measure to apply, since the additional facilities that were installed just before the closure of the park to avoid clustering are still in place to this day.
In terms of disinfection, one can imagine the presence of hydro-alcoholic gel dispensers at the entrance to the band, and a disinfectant spray on the bags before placing them on the band.
There remains the question of temperature checks. 73% of the participants indicated that they were in favour of checking people’s temperature before entering the parks, both for visitors and for cast members. However, this measure remains problematic, because although fever is one of the first symptoms of the disease, it generally does not appear until 5 days after contamination. The same is true for carriers of the disease, but who do not show any symptoms. Under these conditions, how can we ensure that carriers who pass the temperature test will not infect other visitors?
Circulation and activities
Masks are a solution to the problem of asymptomatic carriers. They are the best way to avoid the transmission of the disease through spit. Even if a person is a carrier of the coronavirus but does not have a fever, the mask will limit the risk of transmission. For 81% of the participants, not only visitors but also cast members are required to wear a mask in the park. But how can we ensure that children will wear their masks at all times, especially when it comes to children (or even adults) with autistism or other special needs?
It is interesting to note the difference between participants in the English-speaking and French-speaking surveys. On the French-speaking side, 82% voted in favour of masks for all, while only 50% of the English-speaking side voted in favour, and while only 12% of French speakers felt that masks should not be mandatory, 41% of English speakers chose this response. This certainly relies heavily on government communication. While the French government is trying to take the country out of confinement by trying to impose the wearing of masks in public, the British government has until recently focused on the importance of masks for health care workers. This measure may therefore seem inconsistent for British visitors.
We had addressed the issue of meet & greets with characters, and princesses. And while 24% of the participants preferred that all encounters with characters be prohibited, two proposals caught the attention of the respondents:
- meet only the characters fully covered (full costume like Mickey or Donald) (36.4%)
- have the opportunity to meet all the characters without distinction, but whilst wearing a mask and avoiding all physical contact (characters with uncovered faces like Alice or the Mad Hatter) (31,5 %)
English-speaking respondents overwhelmingly prefer to meet only fully covered characters (51%), rather than meeting characters wearing masks and not being allowed to touch them (19%). Again, the explanation may relate to government positions or to the wish not to keep photo souvenirs with the visitor wearing a mask. On the other hand, this distinction is more subtle in France, where both answers received 34% of the vote each.
The trend is reversed on the question of meet & greets with princesses. Once again, two responses stood out, both on the French and English-speaking sides:
- Cancel meet & greets with princesses (46,8 %)
- Only allow meetings at the Princesses Pavilion, with temperature check at the entrance (27%)
It should be noted, however, that the possibility of meeting the princesses with the obligation to wear a mask counts for 21.4% of the votes. Once again, it is on the English-speaking side that the difference is more pronounced, since only 10% of voters would like this measure to be applied, compared to 23% on the French-speaking side.
What about shops, which are places of direct contact between people and indirect contact through intermediary objects?
The majority of respondents (61.4%) would like customers to be able to manage the entire purchasing process in shops themselves, under the supervision of a cast member. To do so, the customer would have to scan his items, pack them if they are fragile, put them in bags, scan the annual pass if necessary, pay without contact and retrieve his ticket. This completely autonomous method remains the safest.
Rides and queues
Let’s talk about rides. First of all, the capacity of the rides. On the French speaking side, it is the possibility of letting in only the number of passengers to fill a cart that comes first (52.7%), followed by the use of the fast pass system (19.6%). On the English speaking side, however, the reverse is true, with the fast pass system accounting for 36% of the votes, compared with 34.7% for the number of passengers to fill a cart. If the fast pass system remains a solution to control the number of people entering the queue and to respect social distancing, then strict adherence to timetables should be imposed, and no delays should be allowed, which can be problematic if guests are stuck in a ride, or if the ride breaks down. As for allowing only the number of passengers to enter for one boarding at a time, the problem remains the line that may form at the entrance to the attraction. One can then imagine different checkpoints all along the queue, with cast members only letting a group through when the next group moves on.
This brings us to the question of social distancing in the attraction queues. While 92.8% of the participants are in favour of respecting social distancing, again there is a distinction between the responses to the English speaking and French speaking surveys. On the French speaking side, 47.3% of people think that there should be a distance of 1 metre in the queues, and 30.8% think that it should be 1.5 metres. On the English speaking side, 51.8% of respondents would opt for a distance of 2 metres. Once again, this distinction can be linked to government recommendations, because while in France the government calls for a distance of 1 metre, in the United Kingdom this distance is pushed to 2 metres. The difficulty with this measure relates mainly to the configuration of the queues. Because while some lines are fairly straight and spaced out, others involve back and forth traffic, forcing people to cross each other at a distance of well under one metre. There is also the question of the transition rooms (library in the Tower of Terror, Phantom Manor lift…) in which the guests will have to be confined, while remaining at a distance, or the turnstiles that some people, especially children, touch at each passage.
Let us move on to boarding. Unsurprisingly, 52% of participants would like to see maximum precautions applied, namely spacing passengers apart by limiting the number of people on board the same vehicle, and disinfecting the vehicle after each passage, since it is not possible to prohibit passengers from holding on to the protective bars. It is possible to imagine filling one wagon while the other is disinfected and running empty, reversing between each passage (with a system of even and odd numbers), or of every second cart. But doesn’t this involve wearing a mask? Passengers shout and therefore spit on board the attractions. Only wearing a mask can prevent these spit particles from remaining airborne and depositing on the faces of the passengers in the following rows.
Finally, let us move on to restaurants, which will require very strict measures because of the impossibility of wearing a mask.
The main points of sale are kiosks and fast food restaurants. Once again, the vast majority of respondents (63%) would opt for maximum precautions, i.e. limiting the number of people queuing in front of the kiosk or in the restaurant, and imposing a distance in the queue and between tables.
These are followed by buffet restaurants. It is impossible to keep the service system as it was, with dozens of people using the same utensil to help themselves to food. Not long ago, a Japanese experiment showed the transmission of a virus in this type of restaurant. The virus is represented by fluorescent paint, applied to the hands of a single participant. The result of this experiment speaks for itself.
On the French speaking side, the respondents are torn between asking cast members to fill their plates at the buffet (38.1%) or limiting the number of people who can access the buffet at the same time (35.7%). On the English speaking side, on the other hand, it is the limit on the number of people at the buffet that prevails (41.9%), followed by table service by cast members (31.6%) and only then asking cast members to fill the plates at the buffet (21.5%).
We also asked about the distance between tables in restaurants. Like the distance in the queues, the various government recommendations have an impact on the responses, because while the majority of English speakers would like a distance of 2 metres (68.3%), a distance of 1 metre would be sufficient for 52.7% of French speakers.
Once again, the measures set out here are only options and ideas and are in no way a statement or affirmation of the measures that will be implemented by Disneyland Paris.