Earlier this week, Disney announced that approximately 28,000 Cast Members in the Parks, Experiences and Products division would be laid off.
We’re starting to get more details about what this could mean for Cast Members in Disney World, Disneyland, and elsewhere. We know that this is a very difficult time for Cast Members throughout the country, and we know that information is coming in fits and starts, bits and pieces, and third-party games of telephone from other Cast Members.
We wanted to create a curated page where we can unpack any details we’re getting about the announcement, and where interested Cast Members can find all of the information we currently know about the layoffs.
If you scroll down, we also have information about Cast Member resources and how to access them; and we have details on how you can donate to current Cast Member support organizations.
We’ll continue to update this page as we get more details.
As we noted earlier, on September 29th, Disney announced that a large number of layoffs would be coming to the Disney Parks, Experiences and Products division of the Walt Disney Disney Company. Specifically, these layoffs are set to impact about 28,000 employees.
The announcement came via a statement made by Josh D’Amaro, current Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, posted on the Disney Parks News Twitter account. In the statement, D’Amaro notes that due to “the prolonged impact of COVID-09 on [Disney’s] 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 — [Disney] has made the very difficult decision to begin the process of reducing [their] workforce at [their] Parks, Experiences and Products segment at all levels.”
©Disney Parks News via Twitter
Up to this point, Disney had kept many non-working Cast Members on furlough since April, while paying their healthcare benefits. In a letter sent to employees from D’Amaro, the Chairman notes that he believes “the heart and soul of [Disney’s] business is and always will be people.”
Cast Members in Front of Spaceship Earth
He says that they initially hoped the pandemic would be short-lived and that things would return to normal quickly, but that has not been the case, and, as a result, they are now forced to reduce the size of their team “across executive, salaried, and hourly roles.”
What Division of the Company is Affected?
Specifically, D’Amaro has noted that the layoffs will be affecting employees in the Parks, Experiences and Products segment of the Company.
1. Disney Parks and Experiences
According to the Disney Parks, Experiences and Products website, the “Parks and Experiences” part of this division covers the following aspects of the Company:
- Disneyland Resort
- Walt Disney World Resort
- Tokyo Disney Resort
- Disneyland Paris
- Hong Kong Disneyland Resort
- Shanghai Disney Resort
- Disney Cruise Line
- Disney Vacation Club
- Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa
- Adventures by Disney
- Walt Disney Imagineering
The Disney Parks and Experiences site specifically notes that these divisions include “more than 170,000 cast members.” But remember that D’Amaro notes in his statement that all of the layoffs will pertain to domestic Cast Members here in the United States. More on that later.
2. Consumer Products
The Consumer Products side of this division includes Consumer Products, Games, and Publishing. According to their website, this side of the business involves Cast Members who work on the following:
- Global Products — physical products and digital experiences like toys, apparel, jewelry, apps, books, and console games
- Retail — meaning, Cast Members who work at or for the Disney Store
- Games — including those on mobile and console platforms
- Publishing — including artists and storytellers working on children’s books, magazines, and more
A Place For Mulan – Live Action Book ©shopDisney
According to CNBC, last year, the Parks, Experiences and Products segment accounted for 37% of the Disney’s $69.6 billion in total revenue. It has long been a significant part of the company’s revenue.
What Cast Members Are Affected and How?
Josh D’Amaro’s statement indicates that these layoffs will be spread “across executive, salaried, and hourly roles.”
Domestic Employees Only
According to Josh D’Amaro’s statement on twitter “[a]pproximately 28,000 domestic employees will be affected.” According to CNN, Disney’s Parks, Experiences and Products division “has more than 100,000 US employees.” As far as we know right now, this should not affect Cast Members in any of the international parks or resorts (i.e. Tokyo Disney Resort, Disneyland Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, or Shanghai Disney Resort). It is presently unclear what impact it will have on Adventures by Disney’s international employees. According to the New York Times, while theme parks will “account for most of the layoffs…Disney Cruise Line and Disney’s retail stores will also be affected.”
Enchanted Storybook Castle at Shanghai Disney ©Disney
Josh D’Amaro has noted that of the 28,000 domestic employees who will be affected by these layoffs, 67% are part-time employees.
Thus far, we have heard that the layoffs will affect at least 6,700 non-union employees in Florida. These layoffs will reportedly begin on December 4th. These figures, however, do not include union and salaried workers. According to News 6, “Employers are required by law to notify state and local leaders of mass layoffs under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification or WARN, Act.” Today, the WARN notices website reflected Disney’s two filings. The first filing indicates that 6,390 employees of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, U.S., Inc. will be laid off, which breaks down as follows:
- At Walt Disney World, 1375 E Buena Vista, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830 (the Team Disney building which houses Cast Members who work in a variety of departments including some related to operations, finance, guest services, and more) — 6,246 employees will be affected;
- At 200, 210, 215, and 220 Celebration Place, Celebration, FL 34747 (which house administrative offices) — 61 employees will be affected
Disney filed one notice with the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity indicating that “6,390 employees of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S., Inc. will be laid off beginning December 4.” A second notice was thereafter filed notifying officials that 279 other employees will also be laid off beginning December 4th. WESH 2 News notes that these layoffs in Florida, but beyond Walt Disney World, could include layoffs at Disney Vacation Club’s offices in Celebration, FL and Disney employees at Orlando International Airport.
Walt Disney World Resort entrance
One group that represents thousands of Cast Members has already made a statement as to these layoffs. The 6 unions of the Service Trades Council Union, which represent 43,000 Cast Members at Walt Disney World, released a statement on September 29th via their Twitter account:
“We were disappointed to learn that the Covid-19 crisis has led Disney to make the decision to layoff Cast Members,” they wrote. “Unlike at the other theme parks and hotels in Central Florida, Disney workers have a voice at the table because of our Union. We have begun negotiations with the Company about this news and its impact to Union members. How many full-time and part-time Cast Members will be affected, how long health insurance and recall rights will continue and many other issues crucial to Cast Members are on the table. As soon as more information becomes available, we will notify our members.”
©Service Trades Council Union
Reportedly, several of the unions who represent many of Disney World’s employees are still in discussions with the Company to determine details of the layoffs.
Fox 35 News Orlando spoke with the Trustee of Teamsters Local 385 union, which represents approximately 5,000 Disney Cast Members, bus drivers, and laundry workers. Mike McElmury, the Trustee, said that he estimates about 1,800 of Teamsters Local 385 union’s members will be laid off. McElmury said he received a letter from Disney indicating that those layoffs will begin November 1st. Teamsters Local 385 union is set to meet with Disney to negotiate for things like severance packages and extended healthcare.
In Disneyland, it appears approximately 950 members of one union will be affected by the layoffs effective November 1st. AllEars.net reports that Unite Here Local 11, a union representing approximately 3,000 Disney employees, has issued a statement on September 29th via their website, which says:
“UNITE HERE Local 11 just learned that Disney will lay off approximately 950 of our nearly 3,000 members, effective November 1. The Union will engage in bargaining with the company over issues including job security and healthcare coverage.”
According to AllEars.net, Workers United Local 50, a separate union that represents other Disney employees, issued a statement via their Facebook account indicating that the notice of layoff to the Local 50 members is set to occur on November 1st and that actual termination dates will be set in the notice. Local 50 also noted that, at this time, “over 2500 Local 50 members are expected to be laid off.”
Disney California Adventure
Workers United Local 50’s statement, which represents food and beverage workers at Disneyland, indicated that there is still a lot of information they don’t know, and that they are “scheduled to meet with Disney in the coming days to get more information and bargain over the effects.” The statement also noted that who is subject to the layoffs is “still to be determined,” and that the contract and bargaining will determine this. They also noted that “Non-union, salaried, and executive cast are starting to receive notice [of layoff] now.”
According to WESH 2 NEWS, the Actors’ Equity Association, which represents stage directors and actors in the parks, says they’re still in talks with Disney.
Finding Nemo The Musical
In terms of other performers, Yehaa Bob Jackson has already announced that he has been laid off. Additionally, we have heard that performers at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort may also face layoffs.
The Grand Floridian Society Orchestra has similarly been laid off and has already shared the details regarding its final performance.
Resources for Cast Members
According to the letter sent by Josh D’Amaro to Cast Members, those affected by these layoffs will still have access to some self-serve resources and tools 90 days post-separation. Additionally, there will also be some HR resources available to all employees post-separation “via a dedicated employee resource center.” Disney’s HR team will be able to assist Cast Members through that resource center in their transition.
Magic Kingdom Cast Members in Costume
Some Cast Members enrolled in the Disney Aspire program may also have the ability to complete their program or term after separation, depending on the program the Cast Member is enrolled in.
Outplacement services will also be available for some employees. So far, only the information applicable to executive, salaried, and hourly non-union employees has been released. According to the email from Disney we reviewed, the Walt Disney Company should be “providing the services of Randstad RiseSmart for 90 days post-separation.” Under this program, executive, salaried, and hourly non-union employees eligible for the Disney Severance Pay Plan will also have access to professional career transition coaches, branding experts, and other resources and tools, including:
- Resume Support: A professionally-written resume and LinkedIn profile critique
- Career Coaching: Career coaching on interview techniques and salary negotiations
- Job Leads: Latest job-matching platform and professionally-sourced job leads
- Talent Directory: Public-facing website that highlights Disney’s exceptional people for recruiters and prospective employers
Cast Member at Pizzerizzo
Unite Here 737, which primarily represents Disney hotel housekeepers and food service workers, has been organizing a weekly food drive, as shared by the Orlando Sentinel. The lines at this food drive can stretch for hours, but if you need assistance, be sure to check out this resource.
Disney World Cast Member
Cast Members in need of groceries can also reach out to the Cast Member Pantry. This program, created by volunteer Cast Members, provides Cast Members in need with a reusable grocery bag filled with foods to make meals for 4, with breakfast and snack options as well, once a month. Cast Members can make an appointment to receive groceries through this source by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and can visit their Facebook page to learn more information.
Cast Member outside of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
Some Cast Members have noted that those who are concerned or at risk of being laid off should also get their medications refilled, and use their medical/dental/vision benefits, getting in any annual appointments or wellness checks as soon as possible. Cast Members may also want to print out any comp tickets they currently have in the system. Employees may also want to consider printing out their tax information and forms for the last few years, paycheck stubs, and resumes.
Trolley Car Cafe
Cast Members with pets can also visit the WDW Cast Member and Hospitality Pets in Need group on Facebook. Individuals who may need pet food or supplies can reach out via the group or via their email at email@example.com. The Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando also has a Pet Food Pantry for families who need it. You can learn more about where to get this food and whether you and your family are eligible by visiting their website.
How to Help
Reporter Ashley Carter has shared that individuals wanting to help can donate to the Cast Member Pantry by sending the group a donation via Venmo (@castmemberpantry). You can also purchase items from the Cast Member Pantry’s Amazon Wish List to help out the group.
Pinocchio Village Haus Cast Member
Those wanting to help out with Unite Here 737’s Food Drive can click here to donate. Other unions also accept donations, and you can visit their websites or contact them to see how to help.
Guest Relations Cast Member
If you’d like to help out with the WDW Cast Member and Hospitality Pets in Need Facebook group, which, as mentioned above, helps Cast Members in need of food and supplies for their pets get the things they need, you can drop off donations at 13239 Sunkiss Loop, Windermere, FL 34786, or you can donate through their Amazon Wish List. One post on the page notes that while the Amazon Wish List shows specific brands of supplies, anything that can be donated of that type of item is appreciated.
Lady at Disney’s Pop Century Resort
You can also donate food to the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando’s pet food pantry. Get more information on where to drop off this food by visiting their website.
This is a developing situation, so we will continue to update this page as we learn more.
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