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Disney Parks To Lay Off 28,000 Cast Members

Today, Josh D’Amaro, the Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, shared some sad news.

The company will begin the process of laying off 28,000 employees.  Disney said that about 67% of the reductions will be for part-time employees.  The layoffs will include executive, salaried, and hourly roles.  The company will notify impacted employees and unions soon.

Disney said that, while they had hoped the impacts of the pandemic would be short-lived, the impacts on business have been significant: limited capacity due to physical distancing requirements and continued uncertainty regarding the duration of the pandemic.  They specifically mentioned that California’s unwillingness to lift restrictions that would allow Disneyland to reopen contributed to the decision.

Here is the full text of the letter, which Disney released to media:

September 29, 2020


I write this note to you today to share some difficult decisions that we have had to make regarding our Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products organization.

Let me start with my belief that the heart and soul of our business is and always will be people. 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.

Earlier this year, in response to the pandemic, we were forced to close our businesses around the world. Few of us could have imagined how significantly the pandemic would impact us — both at work and in our daily lives. We initially hoped that this situation would be short-lived, and that we would recover quickly and return to normal. Seven months later, we find that has not been the case. And, as a result, today we are now forced to reduce the size of our team across executive, salaried, and hourly roles.

As you can imagine, a decision of this magnitude is not easy. For the last several months, our management team has worked tirelessly to avoid having to separate anyone from the company. We’ve cut expenses, suspended capital projects, furloughed our cast members while still paying benefits, and modified our operations to run as efficiently as possible, however, we simply cannot responsibly stay fully staffed while operating at such limited capacity.

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, including limited capacity due to physical distancing requirements and the continued uncertainty regarding the duration of the pandemic.

Thank you for your dedication, patience and understanding during these difficult times. I know that these changes will be challenging. It will take time for all of us to process this information and its impact. We will be scheduling appointments with our affected salaried and non-union hourly employees over the next few days. Additionally, today we will begin the process of discussing next steps with unions. We encourage you to visit The Hub or the WDI Homepage for any support you may need.

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.

Most sincerely,

Josh D’Amaro

Chairman – Disney Parks, Experiences and Products

Educational Assistance

Many Walt Disney World Cast Members participated in the Disney Aspire education programs.  The Disney Aspire program pays 100 percent tuition upfront at network schools for a variety of programs.  Cast Members taking classes through Disney Aspire who are separated may have the opportunity to either complete their program in full or complete their current term, even after separation.

Disney Cast Members can continue free classes and may get outplacement services.
Disney Cast Members can continue free classes and may get outplacement services.

Outplacement Services

The Walt Disney Company will provide the services of Randstad RiseSmart for 90 days post-separation
The Randstad RiseSmart program provides professional career transition coaches and branding experts,
valuable resources, and a series of actionable tools that includes resume support, career coaching, job leads, and a talent directory.

Sad to hear Disney will layoff 28,000 Cast Members?