Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products announces layoffs

Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products chairman, Josh D’Amaro, released a statement today announcing that the number of Parks, Experiences, and Products employees will be reduced due to the longer-than-expected impact of COVID-19 on park operations.

Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products, Walt Disney World, Magic Kingdom
Photos courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort

Despite limited capacity due to physical distancing requirements and the continued uncertainty regarding the duration of the pandemic—exacerbated in California by the Disneyland Resort’s inability to reopen—D’Amaro’s statement notes that the company has kept non-working Cast Members on furlough since April. However, the statement continues, they will now, unfortunately, need to reduce the workforce at all levels of the Parks, Experiences, and Products segment, a decision that affects approximately 28,000 domestic employees (about 67% of which are part-time).

D’Amaro made it clear in his statement that he believes Cast Members have always been the key to Disney’s success by playing a valued and essential role in delivering a world-class experience.

“Let me start with my belief that the heart and soul of our business is and always will be people,” D’Amaro wrote in a letter to employees. “Just like all of you, I love what I do. I also love being surrounded by people who think about their roles as more than jobs, but as opportunities to be a part of something special, something different, and something truly magical.” 

Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products, Walt Disney World, Magic Kingdom, Cast Member

D’Amaro stated that the company hoped the situation would be short-lived and that the Disney Parks would recover quickly and return to normal, but seven months later, that has not been the case. He also said the management team tried to avoid separating anyone from the company by cutting expenses, suspending projects, and modifying operations; however, he explained, the company can no longer remain fully staffed while operating at such limited capacity.  

Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products, Walt Disney World, Magic Kingdom, Mickey Mouse

“As heartbreaking as it is to take this action, this is the only feasible option we have in light of the prolonged impact of COVID-19 on our business,” D’Amaro wrote. “For those who will be affected by this decision, I want to thank you for all that you have done for our company and our guests. While we don’t know when the pandemic will be behind us, we are confident in our resilience, and hope to welcome back Cast Members and employees when we can.” 


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