Shanghai resort will also unveil latest policy on less intrusive security checks
Shanghai Disney Resort will soon detail a raft of adjustments from food policies to security checks as it responds to recent public debates over a no-outside-food rule and screening procedures upon entrance.
The theme park had said on Friday it is mulling new policies that would allow customers to bring their own food under certain conditions and make security checks friendlier and less intrusive. Details are being finalized.
"We will be updating our policy in the near future. In the meantime, current rules remain effective," the company said in a written statement to China Daily on Monday. "We are in the transition period and we appreciate the patience from our guests."
The latest addition to Disney's global theme park portfolio came under spotlight after a college student in Shanghai sued the park for banning food from outside its boundaries.
According to the Friday statement outlining the upcoming changes, the park will allow all food that isn't in containers that can be reheated, doesn't require preparation and is for personal consumption. Alcoholic beverages, cans and glassware will still be prohibited, but bottled beverages will be allowed.
The resort also pledged to modify its security screening procedures, through notifications ahead of ticket purchases via all sales platforms and a friendlier and less intrusive screening process.
For instance, guests will be encouraged to open their bags, remove any banned items and return items from their bags themselves when security screening is completed. With support from local government, the resort team is also looking to use new technologies and equipment to improve screening procedures.
"We understand that our guests may feel uncomfortable when undertaking security screenings," said Johnny Xue, director of security, safety, fire and health at Shanghai Disney Resort.
He said the adjustments are meant to ensure safety and security for guests and Disney employees, and provide a more guest-friendly experience.
"The resort team has been working closely with various government departments to finalize these improvements, and we aim to start the implementation immediately," Xue said.
Packaged food items such as bread were already allowed in the park on Saturday, according to footage released by China Central Television. But a security guard said food with pungent smells, such as durian-flavored bread, or those require reheating, are still banned.
Furthermore, manual checks of backpacks are equally applied at all six Disney resorts worldwide.
Visitors have mixed views on the development. Wang Xiaojun, a 43-year-old middle school employee in Shanghai, said he applauded the new moves, which reflected how quickly Disney attends to the needs of consumers.
Others, though, were concerned the new green light given to certain food and beverages would affect the park's tidiness and consequently sacrifice the overall quality of the journey.
"Can you imagine someone bringing a watermelon? Why don't many people understand that the food policy is aimed at protecting a sound touring experience?" according to a widely-circulated article by a WeChat public account under the avatar "Jiliang in Shanghai" on Sunday. The post quickly garnered over 100,000 reads, a bench mark gauging popularity of a post on China's social media landscape.
There is a lack of statutory regulations that clearly defines "banning individual food and beverages" as an unfair clause by nature, said Hu Yue, senior partner at Shanghai Jiehua Law Firm.
"In legal practice, whether clauses that ban individual food and beverages should be rendered unenforceable depends on the details case by case," he said. "You cannot simply say whether Disneyland should or should not allow customers to bring food with them".