Though most attractions at Walt Disney World have reopened with several safety measures in place, stage shows like For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration, Festival of the Lion King, and Finding Nemo The Musical at the resort remain dark, largely due to a dispute with the Actors’ Equity Association, which is the labor union representing American Actors and Stage Managers in the theater.
When the dispute started
Though Cast Members that performed as a part of these shows were initially called back to work on June 23, according to the union, Disney rescinded its call for performers to return on June 26.
Disney released a statement before reopening that they would have liked to include live stage shows in their reopening, but the requests from the union did not make it possible. Reportedly, these demands included face masks and regular COVID-19 testing for all performers, which were measures that Disney pushed back on.
Reopening with modified and cancelled shows
Because of this dispute, members of the Actors’ Equity Association union are not able to work and stage shows at Walt Disney World have remained dark, with the exception of Up! A Great Bird Adventure which was reworked to be performed without actors and renamed Feathered Friends in Flight to avoid any further disputes.
However, it looks like the Actors’ Equity Association union is continuing to pressure Disney into taking the measures necessary to allow actor Cast Members to return to work safely, and have released a new video which uses an edited version of Walt Disney World’s “Welcome Home” video, to highlight increasing COVID-19 cases in Florida. You can see the full video from the Actors’ Equity Association below.