More Details Revealed on Massive Disney Layoffs

September 30, 2020, 12:06 PM · We are beginning to get some more detailed numbers on the massive layoff that the Disney Parks, Experiences and Products segment announced yesterday.

On Tuesday, Disney Parks Chairman Josh D'Amaro said that the segment would lay off approximately 28,000 employees in the United States, out of a reported 170,000 people that the segment employs worldwide. About two thirds of those let go would be part-time employees.

In Florida, Disney will dismiss more than 6,390 non-union employees at Walt Disney World, according to a filing with the state of Florida. Those cuts will be effective December 4.

In California, unions representing Disneyland employees announced how many layoffs they are expecting among their members. Workers United Local 50, which represents about 7,500 cast members, mostly in food and beverage positions, said that it expects more than 2,500 members to be fired, with notice to affected members going out November 1. UNITE HERE Local 11, which represents 3,000 cast members, said that it expects 900 of its members to be let go.

While D'Amaro and Disney executives push California Governor Gavin Newsom for permission to reopen the parks, union leaders are asking Newsom to sign Assembly Bill 3216, which would require employers that lay off workers in the hospitality industry to give preference to those laid-off former employees when hiring new workers.

"I love my job, which is why as a mom of five kids I am asking Governor Gavin Newsom sign AB 3216 to ensure that hundreds of thousands of workers like myself have the opportunity to return to their job once the pandemic is over," Ines Guzman, a furloughed housekeeper at the Disneyland Hotel, said in a release offered by the union.

The non-union dismissals in Florida combined with the union layoffs in California account for about 10,000 of the 28,000 job cuts. That leaves dismissals among union positions in Walt Disney World and non-union positions at Disneyland still be revealed, plus whatever cuts come at Walt Disney Imagineering, consumer products and publishing, and from domestic employees still left at the Disney Cruise Line.

Update: Disney has filed to dismiss 2,765 non-union cast members in California, including 2,050 Disneyland employees and 411 people at Walt Disney Imagineering. That brings us up to about 13,000 accounted layoffs, leaving 15,000 more to come from union-represented employees at Walt Disney World as well as remaining union employees at Disneyland.

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Replies (17)

September 30, 2020 at 12:14 PM

As David Koeing nicely put it: "Everyone knows Disney is a business. They just don't like it when he acts like one."

September 30, 2020 at 12:25 PM

So, Florida is open and attendance is rising, yet they are laying off more workers than California? Oh, Can't lay off too many union workers so California is now responsible for Florida workers losing their jobs, Thanks Newsome!

September 30, 2020 at 12:45 PM


Florida will have more layoffs because it has four theme parks to California's two, so it employs far, far more people. (Not to mention having nearly 10 times as many hotels.) And union workers will be laid off in Florida as well as California. The Florida unions simply have not revealed the numbers yet.

And while attendance is rising in Florida, it remains far, far below traditional and budgeted levels. And there is no sign that attendance will return to those levels within the next year or perhaps even longer.

But I do not blame Governor Newsom for overseeing a policy that has kept California's per capita infection and death rate below most other states, including Florida's. I blame a complete lack of federal leadership and effective international coordination for not locking this thing down when it started, months ago. The NBA and Disney should not have had to be the ones leading the nation's Covid-19 response. But here we are.

September 30, 2020 at 1:03 PM

@RobertNiles: MrTorrance has shown he listens to the places insisting "vaccine is coming, hospitals are not filling up, it's fine." But blaming Newsome for loss of Florida jobs is insane troll logic at its finest.

I admit a bit surprised being so strident as even Illinois has been in Stage 4 for months but maybe Newsom is privy to information most of the public is not on how bad it is. All it takes is some big outbreak in a state like this to send spikes up again just like in June.

September 30, 2020 at 1:28 PM

It's been over 6 months of lockdown in California, how much longer before the risk of death from Covid is Zero? 6 more, 12 more, 2 years? Do people die from the flu every year? YES! Will people die from Covid 19 every year now? BIG YES, lockdowns or not!

September 30, 2020 at 2:44 PM

"But I do not blame Governor Newsom for overseeing a policy that has kept California's per capita infection and death rate below most other states, including Florida's."

What policy? Aside from "talk to the hand", there has been no policy or guidance to give theme parks (and many other businesses) any sort of pathway to resume operations, particularly given the decision from state and local officials to allow other similar businesses to operate. It's been a constant echo of nothing from the California government despite multiple requests from Disney, Universal, Cedar Fair, Six Flags, and dozens of other businesses spending unknown amounts of capital trying to reach a carrot that Newsome won't even put on the end of a stick for these companies to grab. If the answer is, "We just can't let theme parks operate because of X, Y, and Z reasons", why can't California come out and say that, and explain why conditions in the state are not where they need to be and why they don't agree with other states that are allowing such operations. It shouldn't be that hard, yet these companies are forced into a never-ending holding pattern waiting for a response. These companies can't even provide accurate predictions to their employees and/or shareholders because of the lack of guidance and plan from California. As Robert has noted in previous articles, theme parks aren't called out specifically anywhere on California's tiered reopening plans, and despite numerous requests, they refuse to offer any clarifications and continue to string these companies along like some kind of yo-yo. It's simply not fair or ethical to treat businesses (and citizens) this way. It's just as easy to say "no" as it is to say "yes", yet California won't even say "maybe, with conditions", and is holding the theme park industry (and many other industries in the state) hostage for no reason. Indecision can sometimes be as harmful as making a poor decision, and while many of us will agree that some of the decisions being made around the country are pretty poor, not making a decision at all in California is causing as much damage, if not more, than many of these poor decisions. The silence from California is DEAFENING.

September 30, 2020 at 2:47 PM

The problem in this country is perfectly summed up by Robert's comments. We are so entrenched on our "sides" that we refuse see the whole picture. Robert clearly dislikes the response from the federal government and who is in charge of that government. Deserved blame for sure, however, to continue to beat the drum of "the federal government screwed us!" is not being honest with yourself about the whole situation.

As other's have pointed out on various threads, other states have found a way to move into higher phases and Disney and Universal in Florida have created the template of success to open theme parks safely. To sit back this far into it and keep crying foul on the federal government while refusing to acknowledge that Newsom may be going too far is not a balanced approach. Of course nothing anyone seems to do these days is coming from a balanced approach.

September 30, 2020 at 3:10 PM

If attendance is rising here in Orlando, then the Magic Kingdom must have been like a ghost town back in July and August.

We went today, and the place was deserted. Main street was virtually empty, and the usual bottlenecks around Peter Pan and it's a small world were non-existent. The area in front of the castle was like a no-go zone .... just a few people here and there.

Sadly, when seeing the parks first hand, it's obvious why Disney is now laying-off those furloughed CMs. And I wouldn't be surprised to see even more layoffs down the road.

September 30, 2020 at 3:22 PM

@makorider: See, you're nailing the key issue: As much as there's talk on "reopen, folks want to come", guess what, a lot of folks don't want to come. Look at the movie theater situation, it's not so much lack of content but people just not wanting to risk infection just for a movie. I LOVE WDW but if someone offered me a free trip next week, I would have to think long and hard and perhaps turn it down because still risk in that state.

With California, yes, there would be a rush of folks going back to Disney and Universal but many will more likely just stay away, especially in the early opening. And this "well,we just have to live with a deadly pandemic and get back to normal" mentality isn't working because you can't be back to "normal" in this time period.

If what Mako says is true and crowds that low in Florida (and seeing vids from park goers backing him up), then yes, it explains it because brutal truth, if your work force exceeds the demand by a huge degree, there's going to be cuts. It's going to be a very, very long time before we get close to how we were when 2020 began and that includes folks giving theme parks a wider berth.

Remember: Newsome was all set in June to reopen...and then a huge spike in cases. Just read how in Canada (which handled this better), TV shows are shutting down production in Vancouver because of testing delays and worries of a spike. So if they're having issues, little wonder he's worried about something happening here.

September 30, 2020 at 3:49 PM

I hope Disney isn’t short sighted enough to lose too many at imagineering. If British airways was right in air travel returning to normal in about 3 years, then I don’t see a reason to believe the parks would be different... how long does it take to go from concept to delivery?

September 30, 2020 at 4:05 PM

@MIkeW .... I would say DAK has been the "busiest" park so far. According to the blogs DHS gets packed, but for me, just wanting to go in and stroll around, that park is at the bottom of my list to visit. The passholder 30% off deal is a good way to get me in as well, LOL :)

I'm back at Epcot next week, so I'll be able to compare attendance to 3 weeks ago. Supposedly the fish 'n chip place is reopening !?!?, and it's my favourite park for walking around, so we'll see.

I'd call all 3 parks very safe. I certainly don't have any issues. Maybe a different story though if I was doing more of the 'touristy thing'

As said previously, it will stop me from going if Disney opened up as normal, as per DeSantis, but I think they know they will drive away a huge amount of people, especially passholders, who like me feel safe, and are happy to go as long as the safety precautions are adhered to.

September 30, 2020 at 7:24 PM

I would just ask everyone to keep these considerations in mind. That area (Surrounding Disneyland) is a major hotzone. While I do believe the Cali GOV should provide the guidance they request, you have to make sure you're not going to have to close again. And THAT is what is keeping this in a holding pattern. That would be far more devastating.

That guidance can still help them set proper staffing levels, reduce delays in meeting requirements, prepare contingency plans, map out tracing procedures and guest safety.

Unfair...absolutely, vacillating...yes, correct maybe, however, OC is prepping for flu season. This can tip things back in a bad direction. This is a far more densely populated area compared to the 47 Square miles of the WDW resort. In Florida, Disney has an environment they largely control. Cali, not so much.

It's not just Disney, nobody wants to see the Disneyland Esplanade turned into COVID Testing Esplanade. You don't want an image of people going to Disney in screening tents filling out contact tracing information and getting interviewed like a TSA interrogation. You don't want images of people in bunny suits sticking swabs up peoples noses and lab equipment trailers on the Esplanade.

Disneyland will unfortunately (by no fault of theirs) have to have more stringent requirements such as pre-screening, contact tracing, and testing for COVID prior to entry.

Not exactly a lovefest here. Once again, It's not fair, but it could be correct. Disney by their own admission in statements, did not believe they would be restricting capacity at this point in Florida. Although Florida peaked July 11th, the County around Disney is 3rd in the state with new cases. And, Disney will continue to enforce mask requirements and social distancing despite that restriction being lifted by the State.

Robert Redfield CDC Director: “It’s in our hands, within our grasp,” CDC Director Robert Redfield told reporters on a conference call. “But it is going to require all of us to embrace these mitigation steps. And we’re going to need to do that four, six, eight, 10, 12 weeks and then we will see this outbreak under control.” THAT WAS AUGUST 21st.

Meanwhile, States, Counties, and Local Governments are now removing mask restrictions.

Were trying to apply political rhetoric to solve a science problem. NOT GOING TO WORK. The virus doesn't care about our politics.

September 30, 2020 at 9:56 PM

@leastinteresting: Thank you for pointing what many forget, that Disneyland is in an area known for high infections so obviously that's a huge factor.

October 1, 2020 at 1:40 AM

I live in OC and haven't heard anything about our area being known for having high infections. We've been dropping in Newsom's color coded tiers as fast as we're allowed in Orange County. Please site your sources. Are you talking LA County?

October 1, 2020 at 5:27 PM

The area surrounding Disney recently moved into Red status from (Tier 1 Widespeard) this means they are above 5% testing positive. They just fell under 8.

They would need to achieve tier 4 (under 2%)

Cases in the last 7 days were 1338. If they maintain (for 7 days avg with 7 day lag) that would have them at 4.21% and allow them to move into moderate tier 3 if they can hold there the next 14 days..

What did you hear..?

October 1, 2020 at 5:41 PM

I am looking at San Diego county, they are not looking so good either, if the cases that I am reading are correct, that would put them at 5.17%. As Sea World is allowed to open.. from what I am led to understand is they only operate 3 days with limited hours, extremely limited capacity, show reservations and, with all rides and coasters closed.

October 1, 2020 at 5:42 PM

@AngryDuck, as an infromational exchange, if you are hearing something different, it would be interesting to know...

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