Shanghai Disneyland may be easing controversial no-outside-food policy

China Plus Published: 2019-08-13 16:22:10
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Shanghai Disneyland may be easing its controversial no-outside-food policy, following a lawsuit over the theme park's ban on outside food, according to a report by China Central Television (CCTV).

Disney characters including Mickey and Minnie Mouse perform for visitors at Shanghai Disneyland. [File Photo: VCG]

Disney characters including Mickey and Minnie Mouse perform for visitors at Shanghai Disneyland. [File Photo: VCG]

The suit was brought by a law school junior stopped from entering the park with her own snacks early this year. The college student believes the food ban constitutes an unfair term in standard-form consumer contracts, and is a violation of the legitimate rights and interests of consumers.

The case was heard on April 23. The verdict is yet to be released.

News about the lawsuit has made headlines in China over the past week. The world's second-largest Walt Disney park introduced a ban on outside food, alcohol, and non-alcoholic beverages over 600 milliliters on November 2017.

Many people have argued that the purpose of denying visitors the right to bring their own food is to force them to purchase expensive food and beverages on sale within the park. Some people have also said they believe that the park is violating people's privacy by forcing customers to submit to having their bags searched at the entrance to the park, although others have defended the searches, saying that they're important for park security.

In response to questions from CCTV journalists, Shanghai Disneyland said in an email on Monday that its food ban is "consistent with many other theme parks across China" and "guests are welcome to enjoy their own food and beverages outside the park."

Three out of the six Disneyland parks around the world allow people to bring in food and drinks, although the company's three parks in Asia – in Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Shanghai – have a no-outside-food-and-drink policy.

On Monday, the park's policy seemed to have softened. Two CCTV journalists brought their own water, biscuits, and bread into the park, although one was warned not to bring food to the park on their next visit. CCTV also reported on Monday that visitors are still being asked to open their bags and have their personal belongings checked before entering the park.

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