Last night, Disney released its latest round of layoffs. If ending the Disney College Program early and saying goodbye to some beloved smaller acts when the pandemic began felt like a slap in the face, last night’s layoffs felt like a punch in the stomach. Shows such as “Festival of the Lion King” and “Monsters Inc Laugh Floor” were given their official layoff notice. These shows have not been opened since Disney’s reopening this summer. Given their typically closed quarters large crowd capacities inside their theaters, it makes sense that Disney would want to keep risks to both actors and guests to a minimum. Safety at Disney has always been one of their four keys, in addition to Courtesy, Show, and Efficiency. Nevertheless, these layoffs illustrate how integral these performers are to the magic of Disney. It’s not just the incredible wow factor of seeing them live. What has always set Disney apart was that with each of these groups, you became a part of the magic with them. Whether it was tears running down your face laughing with the gang at the Hoop Dee Doo Revue, having your child be selected to perform in the parade at Festival of the Lion King, or singing along with the Broadway style Beauty and the Beast show, these cast members touch our heart because we have been right there with them. The photos of these moments become the most cherished because it illustrates the humanity that these incredible cast members bring to your Disney experience. So where do we go from here?
First, I’d encourage you to check out the Facebook group, “Ear For Each Other.” This group is comprised of furloughed or laid off Disney Cast Members who have done work in other areas and are now using that work as their means of income. If you are looking for Christmas gifts this year, that might be a great place to start. Secondly, it’s important to remember that while some cast members are laid off, there are thousands more that would love your support by visiting Disney World. I’ve said it before but it’s worth repeating that you cannot possibly do everything at Disney World in one, three, or five visits. So while we wait patiently for these facets of Disney to return, there are a plethora of things to do. It was very obvious to us that Disney World was operating at a loss upon it’s reopening. At times my family and I were there, we would see a ratio of 5-6 Cast Members per guest simply due to operational needs. They have gone above and beyond to keep their guests safe which is likely why there have been no COVID outbreaks tied to Disney. They are going to err on the side of caution which is exactly what is happening here. And as a guest, I’m relieved they are doing so. The theme for 2020 continues as we all must prioritize safety. If you need info on masks, certified young person Paul Rudd can fill you in.
Some awesome services offered by the “Ear for Each Other” group can be found here:
Orange Blossom Ink – 2020 family Christmas cards by the incredible Sarah Matthews, Disney graphic designer
ACCraftiness – apparel and home accessories by Adriana Cullen
Mood Kolor – socially distanced themed shirts from Santiago
Kids Create Art – Virtual art classes for kids, also available for birthday parties – contact Sarah
Many Disney families come from homes where both parents are Cast Members and have been affected. While Disney is a large company, it’s important to remember behind each moment of magic is a mother, father, daughter, or son who has dedicated themselves to creating the magic for you. A more comprehensive list to help can be found here. You can contribute to the Cast Member Food Pantry here. Another option to support can be found here for Christmas. And as always, if you have questions or need help in booking a Disney vacation, as a travel planner specializing in Disney I would love to help you out so shoot me your questions!
As always, have a magical day!