The global health crisis has rattled the entertainment industry in a very serious way.
The Disney Parks are not excluded. With Disneyland remaining closed until further notice and many offerings (including some live entertainment) on hiatus for the foreseeable future in Disney World, Disney announced that 28,000 Cast Members would be laid off.
We’ve looked a little bit at how Disney executives have handled the layoffs, and last night we heard that Hollywood Studios’ Citizens of Hollywood were affected. Now, according to Orlando Sentinel, a number of beloved live entertainment casts have been laid off.
Cast Members have reported layoffs from large musical shows such as Festival of the Lion King and Finding Nemo: The Musical in Animal Kingdom. Without the casts and crew, these shows could be very far from reopening.
Performer Nicolette Quintero posted on her layoff from Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue saying, “My dream role at my dream company on one of my favorite stages. Today is a very hard day.”
The Sentinel article continues to mention the Citizens of Main Street USA, the Citizens of Hollywood, and the Green Army Men from Toy Story Land; improv performers who helped with the streetmosphere of the parks.
In some cases, those being laid off have reported that the ENTIRE cast and crews of some attractions will not be returning. This includes Monsters Inc: Laugh Floor, Beauty and the Beast — Live on Stage, and Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular. We do not have more information on that at this time.
Jennifer Bonner, a Cast Member at Jedi Training Academy said, “I will miss saving the galaxy. I will miss the young girls who look at me and think ‘Wow, I can do THAT.’ I will miss my Jedi family.”
In some cases, those who were laid off had worked at Disney for decades, some had only just gotten hired. Despite the extensive union talks throughout the summer, many affected performers are members of the Actors’ Equity Association.
Very limited numbers of performers have returned to the parks at this time including those at Savi’s Workshop, and at For the First Time in Forever Frozen Sing-Along. We will continue to update on returning performers.
Overall, it is not an easy time for Cast Members. These layoffs mark one of the saddest events of the year in Disney World and in the other Disney parks. If you are an affected Cast Member looking for resources or if you just want to help, click here for a list of resources.
We love you Cast Members. You are and will always be the magic. Sending you thousands of virtual hugs. ❤️