Disney Fires Longtime Hilton Head Island Resort Cast Members B’Lou Crabbe and Shadow the Dog

While live entertainment is returning to many Disney Parks and resorts, one Disney resort will not be bringing back its live performers. Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort Cast Member Mick Ayres, who plays the resort’s folklore expert B’Lou Crabbe, was terminated in early November. The resort’s mascot, Shadow — the dog that accompanied Ayres’ B’Lou Crabbe — was also fired by Disney.

Photo: Mick Ayres on Facebook

Ayres and Shadow were furloughed when the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered the resort. They had yet to return to the resort.

In a November 9 Facebook post, Ayres shared how he was let go. During the first week of November, Ayres received a phone call from a “Resort admin.” The administrator read a short statement that informed Ayres that he and Shadow will not be coming back. And with that phone call, Ayres and Shadow are gone after 21 years at Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort.

According to Ayres, Disney management continually told him that he and Shadow would return. Management said, “We can’t wait to have you and Shadow back. We’re just waiting on Orlando to bring all the entertainers back at once,” according to Ayres’ recollection.

Photo: Mick Ayres on Facebook

Over the past 20 months, Disney continued to pay for Shadow’s veterinary and grooming costs. Ayres was not compensated during the layoff. Furthermore, Ayres honored his agreement with Disney, refusing offers to perform off-property.

Ayres also stated that he “believed [Disney] when told we were coming back.”

A petition has been set up to rally support around Ayres and Shadow. As of publication, the petition has nearly 2,600 signatures. The petition urges Disney to bring B’Lou Crabbe and Shadow back to Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort.

Photo: Mick Ayres on Facebook

The story of Shadow is tightly woven into the resort’s history. The legend is that construction workers would often spot Shadow while building the resort. After the resort opened, Shadow was given a home at the resort. Guests could find signs of Shadow throughout the resort grounds.

Where guests would find Shadow, they would find B’Lou Crabbe (Ayres). B’Lou Crabbe entertained guests with stories, music, and magic.

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  1. This is so incredibly sad. The innocent joy that this duo brought to our family alone over the past 15 years cannot be replaced by a costumed character. What a terrible decision. I hope they have a change of heart.

  2. B’Lou is a treasure and it’s shameful that Disney has let him go. I’ve been going to Disney HHI for 15+ years and a big part of that has been for B’Lou and shadow. This a huge loss for the resort.

  3. Please support B’lou Crabbe and Shadow getting back to DHHIR.
    As lead admin and creator of the B’lou Crabbe and Shadow fan site – they’ve presented wonderful warm shows and southern welcomes for years – tell DISNEY at HHIR And Orlando – bring them back now. This is urgent. Sign the petition too. Call Disney. Wrong move Disney.
    – Admin of “B’lou Crabbe and Shadow fan site”

  4. Disney’s actions are shameful. How can you expect an entertainer not to work as an entertainer for 20 months without pay? I lost my job during the pandemic by phone. It’s rude.

  5. Simultaneously, profoundly saddened, extremely angry, and dumbfounded by Disney’s decision. B’Lou and Shadow are the reason we have made the trip to Hilton Head, and the source of treasured family memories. This made my daughter cry.

  6. As a DHHIR DVC owner, I find this very upsetting. My family has been owners/members for about 15 years and the kids in our family as well as extended family have grown up with B’lou and Shadow. We have all loved the magic shows, storytelling, ghost stories, banjo and fiddle playing. This was part of the Disney magic that made DHHIR our happy place. All that gone now without so much as an apology or explanation from higher ups.

  7. That’s a crappy way to treat the specialty entertainers. Make them sign a agreement that they couldn’t perform outside of Disney while they were furloughed, keep promising them they’d be able to return soo, then just fire them outright. That’s a few other choice not family friendly words.

  8. Not too many resorts at disney offer free live entertainment. We need to remove half of the plastic toys they sell and put some good ole fashion live entertainment back for all to enjoy.

    1. They’re going to see their resort profits plummet if they don’t figure out ‘which side their bread is buttered on.’

  9. The man is Furloughed with no pay honors his agreement with Disney not too perform elsewhere and is told you’ll be back. Sounds like breach of contract on Disney’s part. Of course with a team of high priced lawyers to drag on any lawsuit seems fruitless. Welcome to the new Disney folks run by the empty suit Capek and his bean counters. Seriously Disney stinks to high heaven with all their recent changes and completely taken the magic, fun and soul of Walt out of the Disney brand. I’ll spend my money somewhere else.

  10. Normally I’d say this is just business but to keep him from taking other gigs for 20 months and then let him go? Not to sound like the conspiracy disnerds lately but this is more than likely Chapek and I’m tired of his bs.

  11. Disney owes an explanation on this one. (This one TOO – just one of many!) Diminishing the guest experience seems to be a new Disney approach to cost savings company wide. It’s very disheartening to lifelong fans to see ‘the magic’ slowly erode turning Disney experiences cheaper, more ‘plastic’, less personal, and in the end, less magical. Sad.

  12. I hope I’m wrong, but reading his Facebook post he mentions “overreaching Covid restrictions” and “overreaching politicians.” To me, that sounds like he refused to get vaxxed and was let go accordingly. If so, he suffered consequences for his decisions and is trying to use public sentiment to change outcome.

    1. “suffered consequences for his decisions” – a decision he might have made based on decisions which were made by Disney at their whim, with no regard whatsoever as to how they might affect individual cast members… And now… due to their painfully shortsighted policy making, they’ll be seeing fewer and fewer guests.

  13. Ah the evil money corrupt company that treats their staff like property back at it again. No one should be surprised at this point. We are all thrown away and forgotten.

  14. Who’s next?! The greeting captain at Disney’s Yacht Club? This is despicable and disgraceful. I’m finding it harder to continue my love for Disney when they make stupid decisions like this. The optics are simply poor. Shame on them!

  15. By firing them, the story of the resort is no longer. It was a magical story and when we first started staying at the resort, we always hoped we’d spot Shadow. We loved seeing paw prints in the walkways or floor tiles, the dog house near the entry, a private entrance for Shadow at the recreation center etc. B’Lou’s stories told of lowcountry culture and always fascinated us while we learned about the area. It was soooo special. Now that the magic is gone, it won’t be a special place. How can Disney have a resort with no story?! Sadly,they’re taking away the magic.

    1. Taking away the magic to the extent that it seems they were never even aware of what ‘the magic’ is! (was?)

  16. I’ve been going to Disney since I can remember and blu and shadow have been there at Hilton head, it just does not feel right to go back if they are not there. They made Hilton head what it is today, I remember going to the lodge to just hear blu tell stories. We even got the cd with his stories on it and I will never forget them.

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