New details are starting to emerge that paint a clearer picture of where Disney’s announced 28,000 layoffs will be coming from. As we reported yesterday, Disney has announced that their Parks & Experiences division will soon be laying off 28,000 cast members. The news came as a shock to theme park fans, financial investors, and, most hard hit, the cast members themselves.
Disney’s employees have yet to be notified regarding who, specifically, will be let go, making the bad news even worse due to added anxiety and uncertainty. This afternoon the OC Register has reported some new information, while it doesn’t answer exactly who is being laid off, it begins to tell the story of where the layoffs will be coming from.
According to the OC Register, the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, is estimating an expected loss of at least 5,000 cast members. A large number of these employees are represented by various unions and these unions have shared their best estimates. Workers United Local 50 represents food and beverage workers at Disneyland expect 2,500 of their members to be laid off. Unite Here Local 11 represents 3,000 employees that work primarily as hotel workers and they expect 950 of their members to let go as well.
Non-union layoffs totaling 2,765 employees are being reported publicly due to a requirement in the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act). Due to this requirement, Disney filed notifications earlier today that layoffs were coming in the following divisions: 2,050 from Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, 129 from Disney Entertainment Productions, 95 at Disney Destinations, and 74 from Walt Disney Travel Co. Disney even announced over 400 layoffs will come from Walt Disney Imagineering in Glendale California.
As we reported yesterday, the reason for these layoffs is the continued economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. Practically every industry has suffered financial hardships due to the coronavirus with many well known companies filing for bankruptcy, including 24 Hour Fitness, J.C. Penney, Neiman Marcus, California Pizza Kitchen, Lane Bryant, Lucky Brand, J. Crew, Chuck E. Cheese, Hertz Car Rental, GNC, Gold’s Gym, Mens’ Warehouse, and thousands more.
Travel and tourism has been hit especially hard, with 40,000 new layoffs being announced this week in the airline industry.
Back in March, in an unprecedented move, all of the Disney Parks worldwide were closed at the beginning of the pandemic. Since then, all of the major resorts have reopened with the exception of the Disneyland Resort in California. It is important to note that the announced layoff of 28,000 employees is limited to the parks operating in the United States, Walt Disney World Resort in central Florida and the Disneyland Resort in Southern California. The employees at parks in Paris, Tokyo, Shanghai, and Hong Kong are not included in this news.
Disney has made some major gains with its successful launch of their Disney+ streaming service as subscriber numbers continue to break industry expectations. However, the rest of the company has taken a hit from the coronavirus. Large theatrical releases have been postponed or released directly to streaming, production at the movie and television studios were halted, the delays and cancellation of college and professional sports caused revenue from the wildly successful ESPN divisions to dip dramatically, and retail locations were shuttered due to lockdown efforts.
The one division that has hurt Disney the most has been the shuttering of their parks, hotels, resorts, and cruise lines. This area has been one of Disney’s most reliable profit generators, so their shut down and slow reopening has dealt a huge blow to the company. It is also their most visible and public divisions with millions of visitors every month. The company has had to weigh their own financial needs, with government mandated regulations, along with their own self-enforced requirements, and the result has put the company in the unenviable position of laying off a large percentage of their workforce.
Josh D’Amaro, the chairman of Disney’s Parks, Experiences, and Products, expressed his regret in a letter to employees. He said that they had hoped the shutdown back in March would have been short with a speedy recovery, but that has not been the case. D’Amaro hopes that once the pandemic is put behind us, the company can start hiring back cast members.
The DisInsider sends its well wishes to all of those affected by these layoffs. We know that working for the Disney Parks is more than just a job and that the void left cannot simply be filled with a new job at another company. For those struggling emotionally, please reach out to fellow cast members and Disney fans on social media. With continued public effort we will move through this pandemic and once again welcome magic back into our lives.
Please continue to check with The DisInsider for future updates on this developing story.