Disneyland Unions Not Yet on Board for Reopening

June 19, 2020, 3:14 PM · So Disneyland is reopening on July 17, right?

Well, not so fast.

When the Disneyland Resort announced earlier this month that its theme parks would return on the 65th anniversary of Disneyland's July 17, 1955 opening, it carefully noted that this was a "proposed" reopening date. So far, the state of California has not given Disneyland - or any other theme park in the state - permission to return.

And now, a coalition of unions representing many Disneyland cast members has told California Governor Gavin Newsom that they don't yet believe it is safe to grant that permission just yet.

"We are not yet satisfied that it is safe to reopen the Resort," the unions said in a letter to Gov. Newsom posted on UNITE HERE Local 11's Facebook page. "Each member Union of CRLU [Coalition of Resort Labor Unions] has met with the Company to discuss terms for reopening. Although Disney has provided some information and accommodated some of our concerns, such as the need for the company to take temperatures of all cast members as they enter the worksite, there are numerous questions about safety which Disney has not yet answered."

The unions praised Disneyland's decision to close in March and to pay cast members for several weeks following the closure. And it said that member unions are in ongoing discussions with the resort about reopening procedures.

According to some front-line Disneyland cast members, the company is beginning to schedule new safety protocol training sessions for the cast. Gov. Newsom yesterday issued a statewide order mandating the use of masks while in public, in an effort to turn around the recent increase in Covid-19 cases in the state. California, along with many states across the country - including Florida, has been seeing an increase in cases as they ease stay-at-home restrictions.

On the east coast, the Walt Disney World Resort today provided new details about its "Disney Park Pass System" for guests to reserve dates to visit its parks under their new capacity controls. Disneyland yesterday emailed its annual passholders to say that information would be coming about its new reservation system.

When the parks reopen, Disney has said that it will require masks and temperature checks for all guests and cast members, on both coasts, as well as capacity controls to promote safe social distancing, among other new health and safety procedures.

Replies (24)

June 19, 2020 at 3:57 PM

We've been (at best) on a plateau in terms of positive cases in Southern California since May, which makes this whole thing a Pretty Terrible Idea. But if we shelve that for a minute, it does occur to me that it's wild the best practice for elevator protocol right now is One Party Per Elevator ... meanwhile, Disneyland is prepared to send groups of guests on two elevators on the Haunted Mansion with a literal bellhop 12 hours a day.

I'm sure that'll work out!

June 19, 2020 at 4:29 PM

Wow, that sucks. I wonder if the unions realize the people they "represent" aren't all on the same page. Literally everyone I know who works at the resort is frustrated this is taking so long to get back up and running. Anyone here who works at DLR want to comment?

June 19, 2020 at 5:03 PM

Disneyland isn't the only entity facing strong union objections...

https://labornotes.org/2020/06/teachers-must-set-terms-how-and-when-schools-reopen

June 19, 2020 at 10:07 PM

And I’m sure CA unemployment + $600 a week from the feds has nothing to do with it at all. These people are all making more per week without working. Drop the $600 and let’s see what the union says.

June 20, 2020 at 6:24 AM

I love this myth that people don't want to work and stay at home on welfare. As someone who works with those who have to, most of the people I work with would rather go to work than live a poverty line existence.

This is my opinon and not that of past/present/future employers.

June 20, 2020 at 6:24 AM

I love this myth that people don't want to work and stay at home on welfare. As someone who works with those who have to, most of the people I work with would rather go to work than live a poverty line existence.

This is my opinon and not that of past/present/future employers.

June 20, 2020 at 6:51 AM

Those evil unions enabling those welfare queens in their cadilacs keep MEEE from visiting a theme park, how dare they!

Apple just closed down it´s stores in some of the worst regions among them Florida again. Can´t imagine Dinsney to open anywhere anytime soon or the other Florida parks to stay open much longer. Wundering when Paris will open however. Those covid numbers look like from paradise compared to the big US Theme Park regions.

June 20, 2020 at 10:41 AM

I don’t know, I think when your actually making more money on CA unemployment + $600 in fed payments per week, than what Disney was paying you... what would you do?

June 20, 2020 at 10:46 AM

@Fliptastic you're absolutely correct, this isn't an issue of choosing to "live at poverty line" as Chad suggests. Many bottom tier employees are better off financially under the current plussed up unemployment. If it were regular unemployment the unions would probably be screaming that it was unjust for the parks to remain closed. I have several good friends who work at DLR who aren't bottom tier, and they're very frustrated that this is dragging on, eager to get back to work.

June 20, 2020 at 11:32 AM

"Although Disney has provided some information and accommodated some of our concerns, there are numerous questions about safety which Disney has not yet answered." Shouldn't these concerns have been addressed with the unions BEFORE planning to reopen? If there are unaddressed concerns, let's get to it, start talking!

June 20, 2020 at 11:59 AM

Bob Iger isn't going to read your comments. If people are making more on unemployment than they would while running your theme park rides during a pandemic that has killed more than 100,000 people (again — it's still happening!), the problem is Disney's low wages.

An extra $1200 a month in Anaheim is not great money — you know that, I know that, but you're the one eager to make a bad-faith argument. It's also worth noting Disney made this announcement before formally engaging with the unions. I can't imagine why.

June 20, 2020 at 12:17 PM

Yeah, those lower-income employees aren't telling the truth! It's not that they care about their health and the safety of their families, all they really want is to lay around being lazy and collecting their government checks! What a bunch of shifty liars! /sarcasm

The truth of the matter is these workers are in a terrible position. If a covid carrier isn't wearing a mask and you're in close quarters with them, even if you're wearing a mask, there's a 70% chance you could catch it. Thus, the ONLY sensible way forward is for everyone to wear masks in public places. But of course America is cursed with those self-righteous weirdos who insist on their right to infect others by not wearing a mask. It's easy to sit here behind a screen telling other people how to live, but what if you were the employee assigned to load people onto doombuggies and saw a tour group of maskless doofuses coming your way??? The first one who barks "hay, is this ride scary?" into your face could be your executioner.

Rates are spiking all over the country--Arizona in particular, where the numbers should scare any rational person. Indeed, I think things are about to get so bad that Disney itself will reverse the July opening date, not just to protect patrons, but also, ultimately, to protect their workers. The other option--forcing everyone to return prematurely and potentially killing some of them--would be an indelible stain on the brand.

June 20, 2020 at 2:11 PM

Cases are spiking, but what about hospitalizations and deaths? And couldn't a lot of this be related to protests where health officials and various government leaders said it was okay to participate in those activities without practicing social distancing or wearing masks? Social distancing, masks, lockdowns, etc. are all about FLATTENING the curve, not eliminating cases. The only way cases are eliminated is if we all go into a strict lockdown for 4 weeks with ZERO contact with others. Don't see that happening, regardless of what political affiliation one might have.

June 20, 2020 at 6:52 PM

I don’t think I heard any political leaders say it was okay to participate in those protests. I heard lots of reminders to socially distance, wear masks and get tested (and here in the UK Direct clear encouragement not to go). Seemed more like resignation that people were so upset they weren’t going to listen.

Deaths would follow a couple of weeks later

June 20, 2020 at 11:33 PM

Again, I understand participating in bad faith arguments is the only sport we have at the moment, but I encourage everyone to fight against their innate instinct. Protests against centuries of injustice on the basis of race may lead to increased COVID-19 cases, but government leaders did not say it was okay to participate in those activities without *masks* — to say otherwise is a lie and you know that. To misinform as to why it's more important to protest against racial injustice vs. going to *Disneyland* is also absolutely absurd and you know that. Grow up.

June 20, 2020 at 11:51 PM

Amazing how the very ppl we need to run the theme parks are belittled by the belief that they are lazy and don't want to work just because they aren't as eager as some to return to work safely. So many comments (not just here) about the extra $600. Are u taking into account that its an extra $600 on top of a low wage (lower than normal) unemployment check. The few friends I have that work for DW & DL are averaging about an extra $200 more if not breaking even from their normal check, and that's with some working OT. Let's not forget that most will be receiving their last extra $600 either now or in the coming weeks depending on when they applied since its only for 13 weeks. Then it's back to their original unemployment check which from my calculations is around $400. Let's be honest, that ain't sh!t.

June 21, 2020 at 12:02 PM

"Cases are spiking, but what about hospitalizations and deaths?"

Those come in a few weeks.

"And couldn't a lot of this be related to protests where health officials and various government leaders said it was okay to participate in those activities without practicing social distancing or wearing masks?"

It's such a strange American instinct to worry about apportioning blame more than addressing the ongoing problem.

June 21, 2020 at 12:02 PM

"Cases are spiking, but what about hospitalizations and deaths?"

Those come in a few weeks.

"And couldn't a lot of this be related to protests where health officials and various government leaders said it was okay to participate in those activities without practicing social distancing or wearing masks?"

It's such a strange American instinct to worry about apportioning blame more than addressing the ongoing problem.

June 22, 2020 at 8:43 AM

The biggest issue is that too many people in this country are not viewing this crisis in the right way. We are at war and have managed to turn what should be a unified worldwide effort of science vs a plague to a shrill shouting match about whether people should wear a mask.

The United States is battling a horrifying unseen enemy that we have yet to find an effective weakness for. Consider the changes and unifying event the deaths of 3,000 Americans had on society during 9/11 or the 2400 KIA at Pearl Harbor. After the tragic events of the Vietnam War we inscribed the names of our dead on the memorial wall-it has 57,939 names. Covid 19 has now killed 120,000 Americans and that number is rising. Many of those deaths were preventable had proper precautions been taken such as simply having everyone wear a mask and socially distance. Much of the blame falls not just upon our government but upon its citizenry. Here in Myrtle Beach SC we have tourists pouring in every week. They do not socially distance and they do not wear masks. Most of the locals act in the same cavalier way. The County authorized 1500 tests to be made available for the week and the center ran out in the first thirty minutes.

Imagine if the nation was as lackadaisical fighting World War II. No rationing of supplies, no carpooling, no victory gardens just people complaining they cannot get a haircut or visit a theme park yet. Yes, the economy is tanking, people are hurting by not working but this is a crisis of global proportions and the faster we work together to get it under control the faster we can get everything back to a semblance of normality. Rushing to open things will result in a very long term solution to a short term problem for many thousands.

June 22, 2020 at 11:24 AM

@MattMcDonough: You nail it totally but the issue being how many in the nation are listening to places openly lying about "the numbers are inflated, it's just a minor flu" etc. A certain network is openly talking about fake numbers and acting like this is some grand plot and at his "rally", our President literally compared it "a case of the sniffles." Plus, how he refused to wear a mask when visiting a mask factory so they had to destroy all the masks they'd worked on to avoid infection.


Granted, other nations were as bad (See the UK) but you look at how New Zealand is able to have 20,000 folks in a rugby stadium sans masks or distancing and it shows how a concentrated effort could mean we'd be back to semi-normal now but far too many don't want that. It's like a line someone just posted on another site: "It's like we want to skip past the boring health commercials and get back to the game."

June 22, 2020 at 1:58 PM

Agree completely. But if our leadership is incapable of leading (which it has clearly shown that it would rather favor the Gods of Wall Street than our own scientists and medical professionals) then it fall on us to save ourselves. And hopefully remember that competence, uncomfortable truths and a belief in science should not be optional but fundamental qualities of any elected official come November.

June 22, 2020 at 6:23 PM

For those of you who don't believe some people think this way; I heard my 18 year old step-son & a friend say they don't want to go back to work because they made more on unemployment.

June 23, 2020 at 2:53 PM

Health care workers, people who work in grocery stores and all other shops or stores that are open, cab drivers, etc., etc. etc. are all working with the public, and taking steps to mitigate risk. Why not the unions?

June 25, 2020 at 2:51 PM

How about we close all health care and supermarkts for a month since the infection risk there might be higher than at theme parks. Instead we open all theme parks to stick it to those winy theme park workers.

Regarding those Uber drivers, you have to ask their Union why they don´t just get unemployment benefits instead, oh wait.

This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Need Discount Tickets?

  Now open, or date announced:

  Still waiting on these:

Get Our Newsletter

Read Robert's Book

Stories from a Theme Park Insider