Disney Lays off 28,000 Cast Members at Walt Disney World and Disneyland

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I have some sad news today. Josh D’Amaro, Chairman Disney Parks, Experiences and Products has just posted a statement that says about 28,000 domestic employees will be laid off. Of the 28,000 about 67% are part-time.

Here’s what D’Amaro said:

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.”

According to the statement the layoffs are due to pandemic issues like limited capacity and he even calls out Governor Newsom because Disneyland can’t reopen. Walt Disney World has been extending hours and they definitely seem to have increased capacity limits, but it’s all too little too late at this point.

There were also letters sent out to Disneyland and Imagineer staff by D’Amaro as well:

An Important Message to Cast, Crew, Imagineers and Employees

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 believe that the heart and soul of 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 rolls as more than jobs, but as opportunities to be 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. 

 

I am so sorry to all the Cast Members who will be now laid off over this. I do think that if it’s Josh D’Amaro, the comment about looking for ways to provide opportunities for Cast Members to return is likely true. He always seemed to care a great deal about his people. 

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 it’s 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 that 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 

Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products

This is impacting Disney Imagineering and executives as well. WOW!

September 30th is the end of the fiscal year and we knew something like this was coming, we just didn’t expect it to be this many people.

What do you think? Comment and let us know.

Hat tip to WDWNT, and credit to MiceChat

Kambrea Pratt
Disney has been a big part of my life for years--from family trips to WDW to growing up on Disney classics, TV, and movies. Prior to Pirates and Princesses I successfully ran social media and websites since 2010. I've also been a public speaker and presenter since 2007. I'm the co-host for the YouTube channel Clownfish TV as well as the podcast/ Youtube Pirates and Princesses (PNP) channel. Former contributor, online personality and acting social media manager at The Kingdom Insider (which we built from the ground up and ran from 1997-2019 --Thom didn't quit FYI) Pirates and Princesses was started by my husband and I several years ago. We loved Disney and wanted to honestly cover all aspects from pop-culture to the parks from a consumer focused stance. Living OUR happily ever after getting to do what we love with our two kids! Creating fun content and building new things. Certified art teacher, and mom. Opinions are all mine.

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