Shanghai Disney Resort has officially implemented a new food policy allowing visitors to bring their own food into the resort's theme park since Wednesday and is also promising new and friendlier screening procedures. There will still be some exceptions though, watermelon, durian and instant noodles are still not allowed into Shanghai Disneyland.
Festively-decorated Shanghai Disney Resort gearing up for Chinese New Year 2019 in January. (Photo: China.org.cn)
Effective immediately, visitors are allowed to bring outside food and beverage items into the park for self-consumption, provided they do not require "heating, reheating, processing, refrigeration or temperature control and do not have pungent odors."
Examples of food items not permitted in the park include and without limitation, instant noodles that require hot water, food kept in containers with reheating capabilities, watermelon, durian and stinky fermented bean curd.
Disney said visitors could continue to bring bottled beverages into the park and can always take advantage of the over 50 drinking water fountains and over 20 hot water dispensers located throughout the park at no cost.
However, alcoholic beverages, cans and glassware will still be prohibited, with the exception of small baby food jars. For those who inadvertently bring prohibited items into the theme park, the resort now offers daily storage for a nominal charge of 10 yuan ($1.4) per item.
These new rules are due to the recent controversy after a student surnamed Wang from East China University of Political Science and Law sued the resort. She became involved in a dispute with the park's security on not being allowed to bring in her own snacks worth 46.3 yuan ($6.60) when she visited the resort in late January. The verdict is still pending.
This case was made public by a number of Chinese media outlets in early August, provoking heated discussion and disputes online. Quite a few internet users said the policies of the food ban and bag checks were unfair, and were a violation of privacy. China's major media outlets also published a series of editorials, opinions and investigative reports questioning Disney's operation. They wondered if the world's second largest Disneyland had a commercial motivation and interests behind the entry policies, especially as the food and beverages supplied within the park are overpriced.
The resort now stated that guests are welcomed to enjoy their own food and beverages at designated picnic areas throughout the park, but are "kindly reminded to follow waste sorting rules and help maintain a clean and tidy park environment".
It pointed out that dining is an integral part of Disney's "authentic storytelling experience" and added that an immersive culinary experience inspired by Disney characters and stories is part of the "magic" at Shanghai Disney Resort.
From themed restaurants within each land, to "innovative and photo-worthy food and drinks," the resort provides a diverse mix of Chinese, Asian and Western cuisines for every taste and budget while "adhering to strict quality assurance guidelines," the resort said, adding it would continue to expand the diversity of food in the park and will provide visitors with even more food options from a wide range of cuisines and price points, to cater to every taste and budget.
Visitors are "also welcome to enjoy the various dining options" in Disneytown, which is immediately adjacent to Shanghai Disneyland and includes many well-known restaurant brands.
In accordance with relevant laws, and by government directive, all visitors and their belongings are required to go through security screening prior to entering Shanghai Disneyland, the resort said. Guests will be asked to "follow security screening instructions" from their cast members, who have been certified by relevant government authorities to conduct security screenings. All personal belongings will still be checked and guests will need to pass through a metal detector before entering the resort.
Disney explained that their security screening procedures have been built upon "over 60 years' experience of operating its parks" and similar screening procedures are in place at Disney resorts around the world.
To minimize the impact of security screenings on visitors, effective immediately, the resort's team will provide a more guest-friendly security screening process to make it less intrusive. The resort team is also seeking ways to leverage new equipment like X-ray machines to support security screening in the future.
Disney said that visitors would be reminded of the park's rules and regulations, including the security screening requirements and the items that are prohibited from being brought into the park before they purchase entry tickets on any official ticketing platform.