Things are tough all over for the travel industry in the wake of the pandemic, and theme park attendance has been particularly hard hit. Despite reopening, both Universal and Disney have been dealt severe blows to their bottom lines, and more layoffs are inevitable.
After taking a massive 94% hit to their revenue, Universal has already announced more staff cuts.
Here is a statement from Universal via Click Orlando…
“We continue to manage our business through challenging times, focusing on the health and safety of our guests and team members and working to remain as resilient as possible. We are prioritizing daily operations and shorter-term projects and continuing our pause on longer-term projects such as Epic Universe as we allow the tourism industry to recover. We have again made the difficult decision to reduce our workforce to reflect current priorities and needs,” a spokesperson for the company said. “As always, we are aware of the impact this will have on those affected by this decision and their families. We are grateful for their contribution and we will support them through this process with severance pay, subsidized health benefits and reemployment assistance. We continue to have confidence in the long term future of our business, our industry and our community.”
Universal has not commented on how many employees will be affected by the layoffs, which are the second round of layoffs at the theme parks.
In addition to the layoffs, Universal is also closing some of their less popular attractions. It’s unclear if any of these closures will become permanent, such as those at Walt Disney World.
Beginning on August 9, the closures include:
- A Day in the Park with Barney
- Fast & Furious: Supercharged
- Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl
- Fear Factor Live
- Poseidon’s Fury
- Storm Force Accelatron
Here is a statement from Universal regarding the attraction closures, via Spectrum News…
“As we continue to evaluate our offerings during this phase of our reopening, we’re decided to focus on our marquee guest experiences,” a Universal Orlando spokesperson said in an email to Spectrum News.
Universal has previously announced that Halloween Horror Nights is also canceled this year. Construction on Epic Universe, which will feature Super Nintendo World, has also been shelved for the time being.
Universal has also cut back on their operating hours starting on August 2, Universal Studios Florida will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, while Islands of Adventure will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The parks had been operating from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
There are rumors circulating that Walt Disney World might also cut back on its operating hours, and may even consider closing on weekends.
Next week is Disney’s Q3 earnings call, and it will likely be a very dismal call indeed. Expect more cutbacks and closures as Disney is in an even worse place than Comcast-backed Universal is. Nearly all of their business model depends on public gatherings, and they don’t have a telecom giant to back them up.
[Sources: Click Orlando, Spectrum News]