BREAKING: Shanghai Disney Puts Financial Strangle-Hold on Domestic Disney Parks

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Shanghai Disneyland is behind schedule and over budget, so Disney Parks will be looking to shave some money off their operational budget by cutting labor hours at both the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts.

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According to inside sources, the Disneyland Resort saw a 20% cut in labor costs from non-profit locations starting at the beginning of the month, this includes positions such as attractions, guest relations, custodial, entertainment, and more. Walt Disney World will see similar cuts starting this week, such as the cut of front desk curbside greeters at all resorts. All front desk and concierge cast members will also only be offered only up to 32 hours a week once the cuts are in effect. Other departments will have similar restrictions, but we could not confirm a complete list.

Entertainment cuts are coming as well, such as the removal of the 2nd Fantasmic! show on evenings until Easter week and only one nightly performance of the Main Street Electrical Parade through the entire month (a month which is typically quite busy thanks to Spring Break and Easter). Other entertainment cuts have been rumored, such as various characters meet and greet experiences being permanently removed, but none are confirmed at this time.

This isn’t the first shakeup Disney has made since the Shanghai project financially got out of hand. Just a few weeks ago there was a massive shakeup at Walt Disney Imagineering in an attempt to prevent such projects from falling apart again. However, these new changes affect cast members on the much lower end of the pay scale, many of which count on the longer hours in these seasons to make a decent living. Many have voiced concerns over the cuts and that they may have to look for work elsewhere in order to pay their bills.

Disney has made no public statement on the cuts as of yet.

About the author

Tom Corless

Tom has been regularly visiting the Walt Disney World® Resort from the time he was 4 months old. While he has made countless visits in the last 28 years, he did not become a truly active member in the Disney fan community until the summer of 2007, when he decided to launch the WDW News Today website and podcast. Tom has since become an Orlando-local and is a published author on Walt Disney World.
Contact Tom at [email protected]

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Laurence Banks
Guest
Laurence Banks

This seams silly, I guess that Disney does not share revenue between the Parks group and the Movie division. Hello guys ‘Star Wars’ has brought in over 2 BILLION dollars!

Christian Fronckowiak
Guest
Christian Fronckowiak

It used to be that Disney profits were for the entire company. Eisner changed that, so you’re correct. Profits for the studio division mean absolutely nothing for the parks.

J
Guest
J

Yep. And each park is a seperate business. This article doesn’t seem to grasp that. It’s highly unlikely what happens in Shanghai has anything to do with domestic staff cuts.

Sk
Guest
Sk

It actually does. We’ve been told as cast members from management that Shanghai Disney is affecting us here locally, on a financial level.

Someone in the know
Guest
Someone in the know

Well that goes to show how much you know. The shorter work hours for Cast Members are a DIRECT result of the Shanghai situation. All divisions across WDW and DLR are being asked to cutback to make up for the shortfall.

lampwick
Guest
lampwick

To “someone in the know” and others… This has NOTHING to do with Shanghai; Shanghai’s budget is an ENTIRELY separate pool of money. Any manager at the parks dealing with rank and file employees is not privy to these details, and if they told you as an individual CM that this is the case, they were re-reporting bad info. The majority of the investment is from Shanghai Shendi Group, a state-owned entity. This is a cost-cutting measure that would have taken place regardless of Shanghai’s existence.

Someone in the know
Guest
Someone in the know

Really, BECAUSE my information came from 4 different Labor Managers across 4 different lines of business. Care to explain how all 4 told me the exact same scenario without having spoken to each other?

Sadric
Guest
Sadric

This has been confirmed. Shanghai Disney forced domestic cutbacks

Robert
Guest
Robert

No, they don’t. Thank Eisner for that. Yet if Iger gave every cast member an hour of his annual salary, none of them would have to work for the next year or so.

sweetdacey (@sweetdacey)
Guest
sweetdacey (@sweetdacey)

Are the cuts to the parades rumors or definite? We made our ADRs and FPs with the second parade in mind. :( We leave in 6 days. GRRRR. What meet and greets are being cut?

Mysty325
Guest
Mysty325

Meanwhile, as your fast pass option MIGHT not be valid, Cast Members are LEGIT trying to make ends meet with hours, paying rent, feeding their kids, paying bills….

But you’re right… Let’s talk about the lack of fast passes you might get…. #priorities

Shawn
Guest
Shawn

This person is pointing out that Disney shouldn’t cut hours because there is a need for them. No need to attack them.

Jud
Guest
Jud

A little harsh, don’t you think? Things like this happen to companies all the time, unfortunately. I’m sure this person isn’t saying they could care less about the job cuts….but alot goes into planning a vacation for a family and a trip to Disney is one of those things you want to be perfect. I completely understand the concern they are showing.

Andy
Guest
Andy

Most companies don’t do it while they have RECORD PROFITS though. Jeez…

derfallbright
Guest
derfallbright

It’s about future profits. If for example Shanghai was scheduled to open in March, but doesn’t open until October, you are six months short of projected revenue, because you developed a budget based on money starting to flow in March.

Ryan S
Guest
Ryan S

Why are people raising kids on Disney front line, entry-level, near minimum wage, hourly positions? These aren’t career positions…. Get a better job. You knew the payscale before joining.

No
Guest
No

Enjoy having 16 year olds run the park and be in charge of your safety on attractions then. Idiot.

Charles
Guest
Charles

Greeters & parade talent are hardly running the park or managing your safety. Better check that finger you’re pointing.

Zach Lyttle (@ZachtheKingsfan)
Guest
Zach Lyttle (@ZachtheKingsfan)

Please tell me what other job out there pays more, doesn’t need a college degree, and isn’t damn-near impossible to get? I guess you forget adults ages 18-24 that REQUIRE these types of jobs to pay off rent, and their ridiculous student loans, since college is more expensive than a house.

Ryan S
Guest
Ryan S

My comment is not for the 18 to 24 year olds, it’s for the the person who said “feeding children” and supporting families. I worked in the Orlando parks while going to college (not a CP), and knew I could not sustain myself, let alone support a family. The issue is people who cry victim when they knew what they were getting into! They knew what the wage was, what the benefits were, and hour structure, before they signed their offer letter. As for your comment about jobs not requiring four year degrees, they still definitely exist. They are called… Read more »

Zach Lyttle (@ZachtheKingsfan)
Guest
Zach Lyttle (@ZachtheKingsfan)

Also, ever heard of a seconds job? Someone I work with is a teacher and works attractions at Disneyland. Why? Because teachers get paid crap in this country, and are forced to get second jobs. So when their second job decides to just cut them out, they have every right to be pissed.

Mysty325
Guest
Mysty325

Exactly. I just feel bad for those that truly need hours… From what I hear, not many places are looking to hire at the moment… So yes. I know how hard it is to book a vacation… But I also know of the people working the rides we all love need this job… So for those above Zachariah comment that decided to get defensive… What if it was you? What if you depended on the hours your company gave you to make your ends meet? So I’m sorry if my heart goes out to the workers and not a simple… Read more »

HarryHG
Guest
HarryHG

We knew the pay scale when we signed on, but some of us need the medical benefits which are almost impossible to match anywhere else, and probably most of us wouldn’t like to move to a job without a real pension, Disney is one of the only companies that still offers a pension to hourly employees. But when most of us started 32 hour weeks didn’t exist for full timers unless you wanted them, in fact a lot of us were working on mandatory 70-80 hour weeks. It’s not just the hourly rate but the total paycheck that’s important. Also,… Read more »

Tony
Guest
Tony

Sorry, respectfully your comment doesn’t seem true in my three years working for Disney So. Cal. Disney is not forth coming with details on status conversion, CR opportunities and full time is a carrot on a stick which since our last union contract, has been the most brutal process where deals are made and “promotions” to leads or full even full time have now led to two to zero days on the schedule. These cuts are Draconian to say the least. These cuts include 88% reduction in new hiring for summer. The Happiest Place On Earth may be true for… Read more »

Carol O.
Guest
Carol O.

If you lived in Central Florida you would know their aren’t many job options. Plus, Disney pretty much sets the pay scale for the entire area.

G
Guest
G

@ Ryan S WDW has the training programs for trade jobs. They are three year programs, not “a few months”. And they pay significantly less than $18 per hour! Look to the facts about Disney and not general assumptions about your limited knowledge.

Vernon Loyed
Guest
Vernon Loyed

The Company is Posting Record Profits, and those “Fast Pass” folks that you are dismissing and disrespecting, have paid the King’s Ransom that Disney charges to take families to their parks. They have to Save and spend a significant amount of time planning trips to this place. ANY attendee has the right to expect a level of service that is reflected in the Cost they have to pay….. Of Course, The Employees suffer…but maybe the ire should be directed at Disney. THEY are the Bad Guy here. They literally COLLECT more cash every single day than most countries on Earth.… Read more »

Jason Honingford
Guest
Jason Honingford

Also a drain on Disney, ESPN!

ADP
Guest
ADP

I actually think this is the bigger reason for the reductions. They are using Shanghi Disney as a scapegoat to hide the cord-cutting problem.

Ryan S
Guest
Ryan S

Parks and Resort Division operates as completely seperate entities.

ADP
Guest
ADP

Very true, but don’t think for a second that profits & revenue don’t cross over between divisions. They all effect each other. At the end of the day it’s about the top & bottom lines.

William Dwight Stewart Jr
Guest
William Dwight Stewart Jr

True Ryan S .
But we still are talking about an entity under the same company name ” Disney ” .
And this is another part of the problem , people want to devide the Walt Disney Company into separate entities instead of
UNITE the Walt Disney Company the way it should he . A house divided cannot stand . Remember this .

Diane
Guest
Diane

Disney used to be such a proactive company known for being a cut above the rest regarding guest experiences. Unfortunately whoever these “new” executives are have made Disney become very ordinary. They are now very reactive, poor in giving guests a high end experience. The very things that made them so superior, are the things they are eliminating. Such a shame to see a company who set the bar so high, turning into a very average entertainment experience.

Ryan S
Guest
Ryan S

You are 100% correct. Every single year the cost (admission, lodging, dining) goes up for a worse experience (more park attendance, longer lines, more overcrowding).

The value gets worse every single year as Disney fails to meet demand, or reduce it.

Chris
Guest
Chris

You think its wise for a company to reduce demand?

Ashley
Guest
Ashley

That is why Disney raises the prices though. There are so many people who visit that it gets crowded. They raise prices to try and cut back on attendance. If it is more expensive to go then people will put it off or not stay as long meaning less people.

Ryan S
Guest
Ryan S

Exactly right! Raising prices helps reduce/slow demand, but brings more revenue.

The problem is that the demand at Disney keeps rising while prices do, so paying customers keep getting a worse value every visit.

Jacob
Guest
Jacob

You think its wise for a company to reduce demand? If I think it’s wise … let’s change the context of “company” cause that’s really generic, and use what is the mission of the company itself: “We seek to develop the most creative, innovative and profitable entertainment experiences and related products in the world.” Now we know part of what’s Disney’s Mission as a Company. Do you think that keeping increasing the demand overflowing their parks with people in a way that it’s impossible to make that entertainment experience that they allegedly make you expect. Disney nowadays is a place… Read more »

RippingMK
Guest
RippingMK

The three cinderella girls at MK, Chip and Dale at Epcot and I heard Pluto at Epcot too. Dream Along with Mickey is ending in April Operating Hours are getting reduced too :(

Kate
Guest
Kate

Also Aurora at Epcot, Winnie the Pooh and Friends at the UK, and others as well. Although Dream Along With Mickey is being replaced as it’s has been rumored for a while now.

Megan
Guest
Megan

Not all of the Entertainment cuts are because of budgetary reasons. For instance Dream Along with Mickey is stopping to make way for a brand new day time Castle show that showcases a wider variety of Royalty (like Tiana!!). As far as meet and greets, they’ve done it for ages where they phase out a character opportunity based on it’s lack of popularity …I’ve been witnessing no longer than a 3 minute wait for Pluto at Epot for the past 4 years, it’s inefficient when he can be found elswhere. Working for Disney as a front line cast member definitely… Read more »

Joe
Guest
Joe

Actually pkuto keeps a solid 20 minute line all day at epcot, and the character meet and greats are a temporary cut due to Shanghai

Connerd
Guest
Connerd

There are certainly some well informed cast members who list decades worth of events that affect Walt Disney’s cash flow and attendance, who explain what full time employees think of the College Program participants and the real life problem of a livable minimum wage that affects all of the United States. I commend you. There are a few items that I did not see mentioned and these are capital expenditures, CapEx, which are funds used by a company to acquire or upgrade physical assets such as property, industrial buildings or equipment. CapEx will be amortized over several years versus the… Read more »

Dave Barnes
Guest
Dave Barnes

Reading stuff like this makes me so happy I’m not a cast member anymore, trying to survive on front-line cast wages is hard enough as it is.

Carrie Wogawoga Hamilton
Guest
Carrie Wogawoga Hamilton

That’s why Paul Fair is leaving!!!

Paul fair
Guest
Paul fair

Hey that’s not why I’m leaving haha:) I’m just leaving to pursue other opportunities :)

Carrie Wogawoga Hamilton
Guest
Carrie Wogawoga Hamilton

What opportunity? When is your last day?

Carrie Wogaman
Guest
Carrie Wogaman

Hello. Carrie Wogaman here. I’m assuming, since I’m a huge Hamilton fan, that you are pretending to be me online. I don’t understand why, and I’m uncomfortable with this for many reasons. Please stop using my name, especially to leave creepy comments like this about people I don’t know.

Carrie Wogaman
Guest
Carrie Wogaman

Hi Paul, I don’t know you and I apologize for whoever is pretending to be me on this website. I’m trying to shut it down and I’m very uncomfortable with it. I’m so sorry they mentioned you, and as soon as I find out who it is I’m going to take action!

Allison
Guest
Allison

Well… those jobs were never meant to be made into a career anyways… As a former CP, I wouldn’t ever want to go back and work those same jobs again— although a BLAST it’s just not something that’s made to sustain you and/or your family entirely. Just like any other low-skill position.

Hello?
Guest
Hello?

Kind of a messed up thing to say… There’s a huge number of people in this country working low level jobs to support families, and low level jobs and the institution of things like minimum wage were instituted to provided people with the minimum needed to provide, survive and thrive.

Charles
Guest
Charles

Minimum wage only raises costs across the board, making it difficult for all people to keep costs low, make monthly ends meet, save money, invest in anything (like themselves) and improve their standard of living.

Ryan S
Guest
Ryan S

Spot-on. Every Cast Member knew the pay before joining, just like every other minimum wage workers in unskilled positions across the country.

Kai
Guest
Kai

What about cms that work skilled jobs? Ones that you can only get with 10 years experience? And the money is still bad at best? Not every job at disney can be done by anyone, think the techs for the fireworks shows. Or the peoe who drive the trolley down mainstreet. These are jobs that people worked for and have a skill in doing. Jobs teens can’t just pick up and do as a part time job. Get of your high horse and realize everyone deserves to have enough to live and eat.

Ryan S
Guest
Ryan S

What about them? They still knew what they were going to be paid before they accepted the job. And given they’re skilled labor with Disney on the resume, I imagine they could find another job elsewhere.

Ecm
Guest
Ecm

Also to consider before ripping the hard working cast of the Disney company consider the fact that ticket prices have increased over 100% in the past twenty years yet the base wages have seen less than a 30% increase in that time. Granted not unique to this one company as this has been a trend nationwide so how can it be justified that revenues have increase yet wages have not met that

Charles
Guest
Charles

Exactly. Very well said, Allison. Bravo!

Allison
Guest
Allison

Thanks, friends. I really appreciate y’all understanding what I’m trying to articulate!! I love, love, love the Walt Disney Company and the cast members that work there. But I am just saying–the outrage among the cast is really overdone. Even when I was a CM people complained about hours, blamed me (CP) for taking their hours away from them…but nobody is entitled to the 40+ hours a week they want. You’re entitled to what you were guaranteed when you were hired. That’s 30 hours a week if you’re full time. Always has been. And in a corporation that employs hundreds… Read more »

Nancy
Guest
Nancy

Actually, cms are getting paid $9.50/hour. The raise has never appeared. And while CPs are getting 10 hour days because their pay is subsidized and high rent taken out, others are only getting 32 hours. Pt are getting 1 day if that. There are many people in Orlando area who have little education and no job skills. These are the people who are housekeepers, custodians, food and beverage. I work with a mix of people; some like that, some retired who are trying to stay busy, some who are working for the benefits, and some who lost a lot like… Read more »

Jake
Guest
Jake

Cuts should be done on those upper management staff, like managers/general managers, so that they can feel what it is like to have hours and pay cuts. To much money is given to them and they do not do asmuch work as the low end folks. Maybe then they can have the money needed to finish their lovely Shanghai project.

Victoria
Guest
Victoria

Actually managers and general managers at Disney don’t make as much as you think they do. They usually end up working 60+ hours a week and make in the high 30’s – low 40’s a year

Ryan S
Guest
Ryan S

GSMs in particular… Very low salary for very long hours. If you do the math on what GSMs make hourly, it’s terrible. But that’s also Disney’s fault for having a bazillion GSMs.

Ryan S
Guest
Ryan S

Or Disney could do what they’ve been doing… And replace their upper level, high-paying administrative positions with immigrants on H1-B Visas!

Cast4Life
Guest
Cast4Life

Older cast remembers: Euro Disney, Gulf War, ABC acquisition/slump, ESPN acquisition, 9/11, College Program numbers exploding (CP’s are the scourge of the full time hourly!), Movie slump, Cruise Line coming online, Hong Kong, Year of a Million Dreams (each park wasn’t budgeted for that daily Magic).
We’ve been there and done that.. Nothing new.. The weaker will separate and the rest of us will fill the gap.. Maybe we can purge the bad attitudes, again! ;o]

SafariGuide
Guest
SafariGuide

Lets hope! We just got 100 new CR and FT at Kilimanjaro getting ready for Nighttime, but we’ve been seeing these cuts. Some of us are only working 1 day next week (Me included) but I’m waiting for the pissy CPs and other CRs to leave so we can pick up their slack. It’s going to happen. Always does. Just this year it’s happening more than usual. It’ll get better around April/June.

Bob
Guest
Bob

Everything about this is 1000% true. Some cast members getting 0 hours. Its tough times, but seems to only effects lower level hourly cast members. Meanwhile the higher ups dont even flinch. Its ironic that hardest workers, the ones that make everything tick, are the ones that suffer.

Larry
Guest
Larry

Seems like Big Bob could have kicked in some of that huge bonus, doesn’t it….?

Michael
Guest
Michael
Michael
Guest
Michael

And yet Bob Iger (CEO) Only Made $44.9 Million This Year

Ryan S
Guest
Ryan S

You could completely take away Igers salary and it wouldn’t even put a dent in anything compared to how much they can make shaving CM hours.

That’s also a very low salary for a CEO of a company the size and power of Disney.

Joe Wright
Guest
Joe Wright

Get out of Shanghai! If your losing money..get out. Stop throwing money at something and expect a different result.

andrew
Guest
andrew

lol…..just lol

Bill Paxton
Guest
Bill Paxton

It’s not open yet dingbat… of course they’re not making any money yet.

Mike S.
Guest
Mike S.

You all know that ESPN, ABC, and all the existing parks, including Paris and Hong Kong are making a profit, right? Divisions which are making less money this year than last year aren’t ‘draining’ anything… they’re still adding to the pot. They understandably are causes for concern, but it’s not DOOM!-time. That being said, Shanghai is indeed a drain, because it’s still building and not taking in operating revenue. But that’s the nature of a capital investment project. The money is borrowed from somewhere. While there may be a financial wall internally between movie studios and parks, the Shanghai project… Read more »

Mike S.
Guest
Mike S.

Oops. I take back what I said about Hong Kong.

Eddie
Guest
Eddie

Also, you probably want to take back what you said about Paris, too, which is still facing net losses:
http://disneylandparis-news.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/uk-2015-05-05-Q2-S1-FY15-Press-release.pdf

Shawn
Guest
Shawn

Stop to build outside USA and give the hours the employee need.

dramamomsue
Guest
dramamomsue

What a mistake this is. Vacationers in China visit the Disney franchises in the US because they want to leave the city and awful air pollution. Disney is like paradise for them!

D Johns
Guest
D Johns

ESPN and fears of cord cutting have the cowardly institutional investors dumping stock. Even though record profits this quarter they have cut and run and thus Disney stock has fallen off a cliff. So now of course the top level execs want to protect their own interest too and the best way to do that is cut from the bottom up. Sad but true in all public companies especially when the top level management are the ones that ultimately always benefit in the end.

Chris Fabian
Guest
Chris Fabian

Shanghai Disneyland is only beginning to be a disaster. The trouble they had with guests in Hong Kong when it first opened are going to be seen tenfold in mainland China. Ticket prices keep rising, and the service is going down. While Universal keeps doing everything right, half-assing it seems to be the MO in Disney Parks. There are without a doubt a lot of good people still working on the Parks but even they are jumping ship…

Ryan S
Guest
Ryan S

That’s a good point about guests. Working in travel industry for years, Chinese tourists are some of the absolute worst when it comes to habits and manners. Maybe it will workout for the natives, but I can’t imagine an outsider visiting that park.

j
Guest
j

Tom Coreless is clueless and flat out wrong. Disney schmucks like Tom think they know but they don’t, lol. Too many Disney park fools expecting to get something FREE or Comp’d – always with their hand (or magic band, lol) out. And we watch and laugh.

andrew
Guest
andrew

Was that even a coherent thought?

risadawn
Guest
risadawn

“Many have voiced concerns over the cuts and that they may have to look for work elsewhere in order to pay their bills.” Ummm… YEAH! Disney doesn’t pay people enough to be making cuts to their front line cast! This is ridiculous. They need to find the money somewhere else or start figuring out how to stop spending so much on the the Shanghai project.