It was an emotional reunion for Qi Xiaoyu, who was bouncing in anticipation even before Mickey and Donald padded into view. The 27-year-old nurse visited Shanghai Disneyland over 200 times between its 2016 opening and its closing in January due to the coronavirus.
Qi says regular trips to the theme park boost her mental well-being, which has suffered over the 15 weeks she’s spent on the front line of the coronavirus pandemic. Her only respite has been dressing up at home in one of her 20-odd Disney princess costumes, she says, to escape the real world of death in her hospital. “Disney is pure happiness and takes my mind off all the pressure I feel at work,” Qi says, grinning behind her face mask as she enters Shanghai’s iteration of the Magic Kingdom on May 11, the day it reopened. “Here, everything is wonderful.”