Disney has announced a massive 28,000 Cast Member layoff across both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort that will be going into effect this week. In a statement released to social media, Disney states the prolonged impact of COVID-19 on their business, exacerbated by the unwillingness of California Government officials to allow Disneyland to reopen, ultimately led to this decision. You can read the full statement from Disney Parks Chairman, Josh D’Amaro below:
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
Even though Disneyland has not been able to reopen fully, next door neighbor Knott's Berry Farm has been operating its own daily food festival, which is allowed under the current California guidelines. In fact the park's recently announced Taste of Fall-O-Ween event (which costs $35 to attend) has completely sold out for the season, which is helping keep theme park workers employed during this time. Why Disneyland isn't adapting to California guidelines with a similar strategy remains unknown but it looks like right now Disney is placing the blame squarely on the government's shoulders.