The Walt Disney Company has just announced that they will be laying off 28,000 domestic employees amid the coronavirus. This harrowing news has caused panic among employees. The people laid off will be from the Disney parks, experiences and products unit. 67% of the people who face these layoffs are part-time employees.
The Disney Parks and resorts employ over 100,000 people, and many, if not all of these people, were furloughed as the coronavirus attacked the country. It has been reported that the Disney company profits dropped 91% during the first three months of 2020. This showed that major layoffs were bound to happen.
Walt Disney World opened its gates back up in the beginning of July. In a bid to control the spread of the virus within its gates, Walt Disney World cut down the number of guests that could attend the parks and the entire way it operated, from food service to the Fastpass system. California’s Disneyland was set to follow with its opening, but it ended up postponing it indefinitely.
Walt Disney World has done a good job maintaing social distancing regulations, considering that as they opened, Florida’s numbers were rapidly rising.
Disneyland, however, has yet to open, leaving many cast members furloughed and questioning when and if they will return to work.
I happen to follow a good amount of Disney cast members on Instagram because I am a big Disney fan. So far, I have seen three people laid off. These people all worked in separate parts of the company: a V.I.P. tour guide, a worker for Disney Imagineering and a worker for Disney’s Golden Oaks (a residential area within the Disney World property).
It is very scary and sad to see so many people who have dedicated so much of their lives be fired from this company. Although I know that myself and others saw that people would lose their jobs due to the massive loss of profits, I did not think that anyone expected it to be this big of a number.
It is hard to think of other ways Disney could have handled this situation. Clearly, they lost a large amount of money because of the coronavirus, and even when one of the resorts could open again, they were still not making the same amount of money as usual due to the lower number of guests allowed in the parks.
It is just truly upsetting to see how many people lost their jobs, whether it be part-time cast members or full-time employees, many of whom this was their dream job. For so many people, working for the Disney Company is a dream. So for COVID-19 to take away this dream for some people is just upsetting.
Hopefully, when Disney can return to normal — as in have normal occupancy numbers and have both domestic resorts open again — they can hire more people to work for them. And hopefully, they will call back the people they laid off first. This would be the most fair way to get back a full staff, but of course, it may be harder than it sounds to do this.
The sad news of the Walt Disney Company having to lay off 28,000 cast members was very disheartening, but not surprising. My heart goes out to everyone affected by these layoffs, and I hope everyone can land back on their feet.