Bring your own lunch to the Magic Kingdom


The Chinese are increasingly protective of their consumer rights. Just ask Disney, which recently reversed a policy preventing visitors from bringing their own food into its theme park in Shanghai.

The controversy started after a law school student surnamed Wang and her friends were stopped from entering Shanghai Disneyland because they were carrying snacks in their bags. Their request for a ticket refund was rejected and they ended up dumping the food before going into the park (the incident happened in January).

The irate Wang then launched a lawsuit against Disney last month saying it was applying a different standard to visitors in Shanghai to the one that it employed at its parks in the US (where food purchased outside can be brought in).

With the Sino-US trade war still raging, it wasn’t the best time for the US multinational to be riling its Chinese customer base. Sure enough, calls were soon growing on social media for a boycott of the Shanghai park. And with poor publicity in the local newspapers too, Disney soon decided that it was better to relent on the rules than insist they were respected.

According to the People’s Daily new regulations came into effect last Thursday which allow visitors to bring their own food and beverages into the Magic Kingdom. However, there were still a few provisos, including a continued ban on food that needs to be heated (like instant noodles). Likewise Disney specified that watermelons were still on the forbidden list (because they need to be cut with a knife). So too were smelly foods such as durians and stinky tofu.

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