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BREAKING: Disney Parks Announces 28,000 Cast Member Layoffs Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Mass layoffs have been announced at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort, affecting approximately 28,000 Cast Members. Disney states that the prolonged impact of COVID-19 on their business, exacerbated by the extended closure of Disneyland, ultimately led to this decision. Below is the statement from Disney Parks Chairman, Josh D’Amaro.

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From Disney Parks:

In light of the prolonged impact of COVID-19 on our business, including limited capacity due to physical distancing requirements and the continued uncertainty regarding the duration of the pandemic – exacerbated in California by the State’s unwillingness to lift restrictions that would allow Disneyland to reopen – we have made the very difficult decision to begin the process of reducing our workforce at our Parks, Experiences and Products segment at all levels, having kept non-working Cast Members on furlough since April, while paying healthcare benefits. Approximately 28,000 domestic employees will be affected, of which about 67% are part-time. We are talking with impacted employees as well as to the unions on next steps for union-represented Cast Members.

Over the past several months, we’ve been forced to make a number of necessary adjustments to our business, and as difficult as this decision is today, we believe that the steps we are taking will enable us to emerge a more effective and efficient operation when we return to normal. Our Cast Members have always been key to our success, playing a valued and important role in delivering a world-class experience, and we look forward to providing opportunities where we can for them to return.

Layoffs will impact executive, salaried, and hourly roles. The company declined to break down the layoffs by individual park locations. According to CNBC, the following memo was released to Cast Members:

Team,

I write this note to you today to share some difficult decisions that we have had to make regarding our Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products organization.

Let me start with my belief that the heart and soul of our business is and always will be people. Just like all of you, I love what I do. I also love being surrounded by people who think about their roles as more than jobs, but as opportunities to be a part of something special, something different, and something truly magical.  

Earlier this year, in response to the pandemic, we were forced to close our businesses around the world. Few of us could have imagined how significantly the pandemic would impact us — both at work and in our daily lives. We initially hoped that this situation would be short-lived, and that we would recover quickly and return to normal. Seven months later, we find that has not been the case. And, as a result, today we are now forced to reduce the size of our team across executive, salaried, and hourly roles. 

As you can imagine, a decision of this magnitude is not easy. For the last several months, our management team has worked tirelessly to avoid having to separate anyone from the company. We’ve cut expenses, suspended capital projects, furloughed our cast members while still paying benefits, and modified our operations to run as efficiently as possible, however, we simply cannot responsibly stay fully staffed while operating at such limited capacity.  

As heartbreaking as it is to take this action, this is the only feasible option we have in light of the prolonged impact of COVID-19 on our business, including limited capacity due to physical distancing requirements and the continued uncertainty regarding the duration of the pandemic. 

Thank you for your dedication, patience and understanding during these difficult times. I know that these changes will be challenging. It will take time for all of us to process this information and its impact. We will be scheduling appointments with our affected salaried and non-union hourly employees over the next few days. Additionally, today we will begin the process of discussing next steps with unions. We encourage you to visit The Hub or the WDI Homepage for any support you may need. 

For those who will be affected by this decision, I want to thank you for all that you have done for our company and our guests. While we don’t know when the pandemic will be behind us, we are confident in our resilience, and hope to welcome back Cast Members and employees when we can. 

Most sincerely, 

Josh D’Amaro
Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products

Our hearts go out to all Cast Members affected by this decision.

For more information on booking your next trip with our official travel agent sponsor, the Vacationeer, visit wdwnt.travel.

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Cali sucks
Cali sucks
21 days ago

California doesn’t really need a big earthquake to sink into the ocean…it’s government and people are sinking itself on their own

Noah
Noah
21 days ago

Did Disney ever think if they bring back Park hopping, fast passes and get everything back to normal, no masks, more people would come. They wouldn’t have to lay people off.

sean
sean
20 days ago
Reply to  Noah

You mean their normal business plan of making money like they did before the pandemic? Yeah, I’m sure that stuff hadn’t crossed their minds

Katie
Katie
21 days ago

By all means repaint the entrance sign to MK, but lay off 67% of your pt cast. 🙄

Dave
Dave
21 days ago

No, not covid, it’s the governor of CA stuck on power. He’s single handed my destroying one of the finest institutions in the world.

Dland Fan
Dland Fan
21 days ago

This is sad but not unexpected. Hopefully, when Disneyland does open, they would be able to hire everyone back quickly as capacity is allowed to increase.

Frank W
Frank W
20 days ago

Curious timing, Florida is getting ready reopen without crowd limits. Now seems to be a very poor time to make massive layoffs.
Disneyland is another subject.

Mike
Mike
20 days ago

But sure, give all the execs raises and bonuses, they’re doing so much…

Tnac
Tnac
19 days ago

100% Disney’s own fault. Florida has no restrictions. There is some demand with their current restrictions, but they could be back to pre-covid numbers next week if they wanted. Instead, they’d rather hurt the little guy, their employees.

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