Culture

You Must Be This Cool to Enter: Disney Theme Parks May Soon Start Taking Your Temperature

(Image by Demko from Pixabay)

Less than 30 days ago, I told you about the Chinese restaurant chain in California that was taking people’s temperatures with a infrared thermometer as a reaction to COVID-19 the Chinese virus. I posted about it mainly so I could use the headline “With 98.6 You Get Eggroll,” but I also said:

This doesn’t seem like an unreasonable precaution. If people are scared about the Wuhan virus coronavirus and they’re not going out as much, this makes sense. For a business owner trying to increase foot traffic, “You won’t get sick here” seems like a good selling point. I have no idea whether the media frenzy over this is warranted, but why not be safe? Better than sorry.

Little did I realize that barely a month later, “Better Safe Than Sorry” now has the force of law and restaurants aren’t really a thing anymore. Nobody seems to know when, or if, we can return to going into restaurants and bars and pretty much anywhere that sells something other than groceries and guns. Nobody seems to know much of anything.

But if your business depends on putting a lot of people in the same place at the same time, you need to do something to keep going in Virus World. You need to try to keep your house in order. Even the House of Mouse.

Elaine Low, Variety:

As the Walt Disney Co. looks beyond the current coronavirus crisis and to a horizon where its worldwide theme parks and resorts are able to re-open, Disney executive chairman Bob Iger is floating the possibility of taking visitors’ temperatures…

“One of the things that we’re discussing already is that in order to return to some semblance of normal, people will have to feel comfortable that they’re safe,” Iger said in an interview with Barron’s. “Some of that could come in the form ultimately of a vaccine, but in the absence of that it could come from basically, more scrutiny, more restrictions. Just as we now do bag checks for everybody that goes into our parks, it could be that at some point we add a component of that that takes people’s temperatures, as a for-instance.”

I’m picturing a new sign outside the park, with Mickey holding a thermometer reading 98.6: You Must Be This Cool to Enter.

This is only the third time in Disneyland’s history that it’s closed down completely. The first two crises were the Kennedy assassination and 9/11.

Still think this is a hoax? Still think everybody’s doing all this for no good reason? Okay, keep thinking that. If the government was willing to fake the moon landings and make us think the world is actually round (LOL!), what won’t they do?

Disney is also reacting by putting first-run movies on Disney Plus, way ahead of schedule. Onward was released in theaters on March 6, and it started streaming on April 3. Twenty-eight days later, literally. That would’ve seemed insane just a month ago, and now it’s barely news. This whole thing feels like it’s happening in slow motion, but it’s also incredibly sudden. It sure is reminding us of how many things we took for granted.

This seems like a good time for Disney and all these other mega-corporations to finally give us the virtual reality we were promised a quarter of a century ago. If we can’t leave the house, why not bring the theme park to us? We’re already getting used to “personal shoppers.” Will “personal tourists” be next? The future of Ready Player One may be coming way ahead of schedule.

Which is… good? Bad? I don’t even know anymore. But if anybody can get through this, Disney can. If they survived Cabin Boy and It’s Pat, they can survive anything.