BREAKING: Legendary “Citizens of Hollywood” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios Let Go As Entertainment Layoffs Continue at Walt Disney World

News of equity performer layoffs is surfacing at Walt Disney World, affecting many of the beloved and tenured entertainers of the Citizens of Hollywood troupe at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

When Disney’s Hollywood Studios reopened in July, many hoped that the roaming improv characters would return to the park, as they’ve been a staple of its entertainment lineup since 1989, back in the days of the Disney-MGM Studios when they were known as Streetmosphere.

Fans and performers alike are taking to social media to show their gratitude to the Citizens of Hollywood and other equity performers that brought the Disney Parks to life every day. Here at WDWNT, we were huge fans of the Citizens of Hollywood, and are distraught at the decision to cut their performances in the park.

It’s unknown whether these characters are gone for good, but we hope to see the return of these extremely talented performers to the parks very soon. Select equity performers returned to Walt Disney World back in September after initial negotiations, but for the most part, the majority of entertainment across the resort has remained dark, with performers on extended furlough up until the recent layoffs.

The Walt Disney Company restored the salaries of its Senior Executives in late August, when thousands of Cast Members were still on furlough.

We at WDWNT are supporting these Cast Members as much as possible. You can help too! Help raise money for the Cast Member Pantry by donating directly through WDWNT.

The donation-based organization also has an Amazon Wish List as well as Venmo—their account is: @castmemberpantry. Cast Members can email Cast Member Pantry or contact them via their Facebook page to book a 15-minute “shopping” window.

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

  1. This is horrible, The Citizens of Hollywood were icons of the park, I’d argue more than the Chinese Theatre, and certainly more than the stupid sorcerer hat. Once again Disney management is making stupid decisions that are short term game long term loss and we fans have no choice but to sit back and watch these iconic experiences die. This is a very sad day.

  2. This is just wrong, We are Disney Freaks spending upwards of 12k a year in WDW but these changes are really making us rethink about spending our time and money there.

  3. This is awful :( The citizens of Hollywood are what made a day at DHS magical. We always sought out their performances and jokes we heard from them have become beloved and cherished family jokes. These layoffs worry me about what’s going on at WDW. Disney World without entertainment isn’t Disney World.

  4. This is incredibly sad. Disney losing the entertainment is losing its heart and soul. I don’t understand why they let COVID be an excuse to cut this department when Universal Studios has been open for months, still with it’s entertainment, albeit modified.

  5. SHAMEFUL. No rational excuse justifies the cancelation and shut down of SO MANY LONG-TIME, popular (GUEST FAVORITES) LIVE entertainment elements. Along with “Streetmosphere/Citizens of Hollywood” WDW is also giving the axe of stupidity to “INDIANA JONES EPIC STUNT SPECTACULAR”, HOOP-DEE-DOO-REVUE, Finding Nemo: Musical, Festivals of Lion King, Beauty and th Beast: Live Stage Show, and OTHERS. So lots of performers, stage mangers, technical staff, costuming and other behind-the scenes Cast members… THOUSANDS of WDW cast members. Guests DO NOT come to WDW to take pictures in front of the amazingly detailed buildings and they don’t return home whistling the landscaping. Live entertainment is the beating heart and living, breathing life of the parks. N one of these CANCELATIONS would have happened under Michael Eisner, He was a huge supporter live shows. As former Artistic Director of SAK Theatre (a.k.a.SAK Comedy Lab in downtown Orlando) we were hired to present 10 shows-a-day of our trademark audience-participation street theatre in EPCOT Center’s ITALY. The shows we an instant hit drawing HUNDREDS of guest every hour. (We had a contract for just three months of EPCOT’s opening) Disney Creative Entertainment asked us (within a couple weeks of opening) to add a 2nd troop to “UK” and we asked to do TWELVE shows a day in both countries. In Late Nov. of that year (1982) disney request an extension for all of 1983. We we’re soon called into am meeting w/ to execs from. Walt Disney Imagineering (based in Glendale, CA, 8min from Disney Burbank Studios and corporate HQ) These men were Imagineering VPof Creative development, RANDY BRIGHT (R.I.P.) and BOB WEIS (who went on to be creative lead for all of “Disney-MGM Studios.” Bob is NOW President of Imagineering.) They wanted our assistance in “adding life to Future World.” (the OPPOSITE of what Disney management has now done remove SO MANY popular live entertainment elements! SAK Theatre created three different “shows” for Future world and by 1984 we were producing 45 live show a day in EPCOT. • WE (Herb Hansen, SAK co-founder, and I) began consulting at Imagineering (One full week-a-month, every month. THe first day I met Imagineering chief, Marty Sklar. Even before he said “Hi” Marty shook my hand and asked, “Have you ever thought about putting live actors INSIDE a ‘brick and mortar’ theme park attraction?” I smileD AND TOLD HIM, “ONLY SINCE THE SUMMER OF 1967 WHEN OUR FAMILY FIRST EXPERIENCE PIRATES of the CARIBBEAN.” MY MOM WAS MY JR. HI DRAMA TEACHER AND SHE AND I LOOKED AT EACH OTHER AND SAID’THIS WAS GREAT,BUT IF THEY ADDED A FEW 3 OF 4 ‘LIVE’ PIRATES IT WOULD BE AMAZING! (In 1987, for Imagineering’s 35th anniversary dinner & Party we add more than THIRTY actors (ALL IMAGINEERS) to the attraction and IMAGINEERS WENT TO HROUGH AND WOULD NOT LEAVE AT LOAD-UNLOAD AREA. Huge Hit!!!] • During our first visit to “WDI” Herbie and I were invited into Concept & Design meetings for “a night club district in or near WDW Shopping Village, A theme water park, “EURO Disney”, and a “Small. working movie studio in Florida.” Bob Weis said at the first “Studio Project” meet we’d been asked by MICHAEL EISNER to design a small working studio. Bob want to give him MORE. We imagined TOW connected projects: a studio (soundstage, post production shops and facilities, a backlot) AND theme park celebration movies, TV, radio/sound, but UN-like UNiversal Studios in LA our park would bw about HOW it was done. AND … we decided and Marty urged this, every attraction would have LIVE ELEMENTS (not hosts telling us to “Move across the aisle, filling in every seat.”)EISNER loved the two pronged idea of studio/theme park. From the first time we showed him that concept, he said to me “Make sure there’s ‘street theatre’ … we have to have street theatre.” On a subsequent visit to WDI, following a full day consulting on many unannounced projects we’d gone to dinner and I was in my hotel room (over looking Universal Studio Tours and I was thinking about our plan for a hollywood Blvd. of the 1930’s & 40’s (as our studio theme park ‘Main Street.) It came to e that this newest magical Disney place needed ‘citizens’—the “Citizens of Hollywood.” I spent that night sketching characters for those characters. None for them famous look-a-likes of dead celebrities. NEXT morning I posted my sketches , covered w/ blank copy paper sheets, As I tore off each cover sheet I slipped into character as “Sid Cahuenga” inviting guests into his home (a.k.a. Sid Cahuengs’s One-of-a-Kind Shop,” A pair of Hollywood gossip columnists (each with their own “look/costume” and different character name; HPD (police), Hollywood City Maintenance crew; autograph hound asking park guests for their autograph; kid selling “Maps to the Stars Homes” (the exact same maps sold in Los Angeles); Starlet just of the bus, European movie director who directed park guests “Go back! We try it again!”(getting them to repeat what they’re just dome walking down Hollywood Blvd., and MANY MORE. Bob Weis, Marty, the entire Studio Park tam LOVED it. Bob called it, “The Best new idea I’ve seen in a decade.” When. we showed it to Michael Eisner we went crazy. When he like something he’d say it was a “Home Run.” On seeing the “Citizens of Hollywood” he yelled, “GRAND SLAM!” Then he asked me, Is this ‘street theatre’?” I told him, “No it’s ‘STREETMOSPHERE.” They won’t do scripted shows. They LIVE there and will interact with each other and treat WDW guests as though they, too are Southern Cal. residents. “Is that your word, McNair?” Eisner asked.”Yes, sir, but I’m negotiating with Marty to lease him the word.” He told Marty, “Pay him.” You may know that “Streetmosphere” is now used around the world by scores of theme parks (including LOTS of NON-Disney parks to indicate their atmosphere characters themed to different areas in their parks.) The word appears in Dave Smith’s “Disney A to Z: The Official Encyclopedia” • A team of three directors, to costumers, a rep from Creative Entertainment toured TEN North American cities, auditioning more than 2,000 female and male ACTORS for 33 Streetmosphere positions + the casts for “Comedy Warehouse” and the remarkable “ADVENTURERS CLUB.” (There’s a mortuary there now.) We also found and cast key actors for “Indiana Jones stunt show” and a few other smaller projects.) On our first day of rehearsal I told the “Streetmo”cast, “It does not make sense that a huge company—Disney—would do a little project like this. But it’s a great I des and I believe you all can make it AMAZING! They did. Guests loved and the park’s VP of operations BRUCE LUVAL considered it a “major attraction” the “occupies 2,000 or more Disney-MGM Studios guest every HOUR. That is an ‘E’ ticket” He told me., As long as I’m here, the ‘Citizens of Hollywood” will be here.” (below ia the full ORIGINAL CASGT of Streetmosphere in from to the studio gate, shot late afternoon on the night of the big premiere party. The interacted with scores of celebrities who LOVED the “Citizens,” The for guys in tuxedos are the directing staff. The lady in the white dinner jacket, far right was our wonderful stage manager. I am front row, center, kneeling, to the right of “Mel Rose” Agent to the Stars (a favorite of Michael Eisner because Mel gave him his business card!) There’s a good bit of early Streetmosphere in “The Making of Disney-MGM Studios”video on YouTube, here: https://youtu.be/pah8sfvQnHI. – – – – Photo did no upload, sorry.

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