Disney to Layoff 28,000 Cast Members at US Parks

Today Disney has announced that it will make a drastic reduction in its workforce at its domestic parks.  Disney Parks Chairman Josh D’Amaro announced that Disney will be laying off 28,000 cast members. He also stated that  67% of these layoffs will be part-time cast members.

In a statement, D’Amaro publicly mentions the state of California’s reluctance to allow for the re-opening of Disneyland as one of the driving factors. In a note sent to cast members. D’Amaro states that, “We will be scheduling appointments with our affected salaried and non-union hourly employees over the next few days.” It appears the action will happen soon.

Walt Disney World currently employs approximately 70,000, with Disneyland Resort employing around 30,000. It isn’t at this time clear how the layoffs will be distributed across the two coasts.

Both Disneyland and Walt Disney World closed in mid-March due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Walt Disney World re-opened in mid-July.  Disneyland Resort still remaining closed.

State of Florida to Begin Providing COVID-19 Testing at Disney’s Maingate Complex Near Animal Kingdom

The State of Florida announced that they will be opening a new testing site in Osceola County at Disney’s Maingate office complex near Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

The Maingate complex is on the south end of the property off of West Ilo Bronson Memorial Highway (US 192), located at 3010 Maingate Lane.

Testing will begin on August 14th and will be available from 7 AM to 4 PM, serving Disney Cast Members and their families, along with members of the public. Cast Members can register for a test at disneycovid19test.com, and the public can register at doineedacovid19test.com.

The test for those with or without symptoms, is self-administered with a nasal swab from inside your car, and results are delivered in 3-5 business days.

It is important to note that the tests are being offered to the public and not required.

 

Disneyland Re-Opening Delayed

BREAKING – The Planned Re-Opening of the Disneyland Resort Has Been Delayed.

Below is the full announcement from Disney…

We previously announced a proposed phased reopening of our theme parks for July 17, pending government approvals. We developed enhanced health and safety protocols for both cast and guests at Shanghai Disney Resort, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort that have been approved, allowing us to reopen in a responsible manner and bring our cast members back to work.

The State of California has now indicated that it will not issue theme park reopening guidelines until sometime after July 4. Given the time required for us to bring thousands of cast members back to work and restart our business, we have no choice but to delay the reopening of our theme parks and resort hotels until we receive approval from government officials. Once we have a clearer understanding of when guidelines will be released, we expect to be able to communicate a reopening date.

Our Downtown Disney District will reopen on July 9 as previously announced with health and safety protocols in place for our cast members and guests. The opening of our Downtown Disney District has been previously approved in line with restaurant and retail openings throughout California. The Master Services Union, which represents our retail cast at this location, previously signed an agreement for members to return to work.

In order to reopen our theme parks we need to negotiate agreements with our unions to return employees to work. We have had positive discussions and are very pleased to have signed agreements from 20 union affiliates, including the Master Services Council, which represents more than 11,000 of our cast members. The signed agreement details plans that include enhanced safety protocols that will allow us to responsibly reopen, and get thousands of our cast members back to work.

We thank our cast and guests for their patience during this unprecedented time while we await approval from government officials.

Walt Disney World Announces More Resort Hotel Openings

Today Walt Disney World announced a schedule of openings of more resort hotels as part of its phased re-opening.  Previously Disney had announced that it was opening it’s Disney Vacation Club Villas and Fort Wilderness Campground on June 22.

Below is Disney’s announcement:

We currently plan to open the following resort hotels to booked Guests on the following dates. Please note, that given the fluidity of the current environment, these dates are subject to change and Guests’ reservations could still be modified to other resort hotels if needed.
  • July 10 – Disney’s Pop Century Resort, Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • July 29 – Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
  • Aug. 12 – Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
  • Aug. 24 – Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts
  • Sept. 21 – Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Oct. 1 – Disney’s BoardWalk Resort
  • Oct. 14 – Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

Guests with current reservations at impacted Disney Resort hotels can request help with modifying their reservation starting Monday June 22. Reservations for stays in 2021 will begin booking on Wednesday, June 24. Only Guests with a valid theme park ticket or Annual Pass will be able to access the Disney Park Pass reservation system.

Given the current situation, there are some resort hotels and other areas that are not, as of this time, being scheduled for reopening yet. We will continue to evaluate the situation and reopen more locations when the environment is right to do so.

 

Walt Disney World Cancels Tours, Dessert Parties and Dining Events

While not making an official announcement, Walt Disney World has updated their website to confirm that the vast majority of tours and special dining events have been cancelled and will remain unavailable for some time.

Impacted tours include:

  • A Path Less Traveled Tour
  • Backstage Magic
  • Behind the Seeds
  • Caring for Giants
  • Dine with an Animal Specialist
  • Disney Private VIP Tours
  • Disney’s Family Magic Tour
  • Disney’s Keys to the Kingdom Tour
  • Disney’s The Magic Behind Our Steam Trains Tour
  • Epcot Seas Adventures – Aqua Tour
  • Epcot Seas Adventures – DiveQuest
  • Epcot Seas Adventures – Dolphins in Depth
  • Savor the Savanna: Evening Safari Experience
  • Sense of Africa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • Starlight Safari at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • Taste of Magic Kingdom Park VIP Tour
  • The UnDISCOVERed Future World
  • Ultimate Day of Thrills VIP Tour
  • Ultimate Disney Classics VIP Tour
  • Ultimate Nights of Adventure VIP Tour
  • Up Close with Rhinos
  • Walt Disney: Marceline to Magic Kingdom Tour
  • Wanyama Safari
  • World Showcase: DestiNations Discovered
  • Wild Africa Trek
  • Wild Africa Trek (Morning)

Impacted dining events include:

  • Afternoon Tea at the Garden View Tea Room
  • Cake Decorating Experience at Amorette’s Patisserie
  • Circle of Flavors: Harambe at Night
  • Dine with an Animal Specialist
  • Dining with an Imagineer – Cítricos
  • Dining with an Imagineer – The Hollywood Brown Derby
  • Disney Early Morning Magic – Fantasyland
  • Epcot Forever Dining Package
  • Fantasmic! Dining Package
  • Festival of the Lion King Signature Dining Package
  • Highway in the Sky Dine Around
  • Jiko Wine Tasting
  • Rivers of Light Dining Package
  • Savor the Savanna: Evening Safari Experience
  • Sense of Africa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • Signature Celebration at Cinderella’s Royal Table
  • Taste of Magic Kingdom Park VIP Tour
  • Tiffins Talks
  • Victoria & Albert’s Chef’s Table Dinner
  • Wanyama Safari
  • Wonderland Tea Party at 1900 Park Fare

Impacted dessert parties include:

  • Fantasmic! Dessert & VIP Viewing Experience
  • Ferrytale Fireworks: A Sparkling Dessert Cruise
  • Fireworks Dessert Party at Tomorrowland Terrace
  • Fireworks Dessert Party with Plaza Garden Viewing
  • Frozen Ever After Dessert Party
  • Pirates & Pals Fireworks Voyage
  • Rivers of Light Dessert Party
  • Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Walt Disney World Cancels Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, Updates International Food and Wine Festival

In an announcement late Thursday, Walt Disney World announced that Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party would be cancelled and that an abbreviated International Food and Wine Festival would be returning.

Due to restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery, Disney has cancelled Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party for 2020. While disappointing, I’m not surprised by this at all.  In fact when MNSSHP wasn’t cancelled when everything else was when Walt Disney World announced their re-opening plans, I was surprised.  I couldn’t see how they could pull off the party adequately when they were canceling parades and fireworks for the parks.  Disney says as much in the announcement….

While assessing another fall special event, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, we determined that many of its hallmarks – stage shows, parades and fireworks – are unable to take place in this new, unprecedented environment. With that in mind, we have made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.

Also in the announcement, Walt Disney World has canceled H2O Glow Nights, the nighttime special ticket event at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon, will not take place for the remainder of 2020.

Guests who have already bought tickets to these events will be assisted with refunds over the coming weeks.

With all of this disappointing news, how about some good news?

The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival will be returning, though in an abbreviated form and with a new name.

In the announcement Disney says –

One staple of the fall season at the Walt Disney World Resort is the annual EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival. Today, we’re pleased to share that not only have we cooked up a creative, modified festival experience, it will also be our longest festival yet – giving you plenty of time to enjoy “A Taste of EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival!”

This take on the foodie festival will debut July 15 and continue through the fall, offering over 20 signature global marketplaces like Hawaii, Hops & Barley, and Islands of the Caribbean, spaced out around the park.

While announcing the return of the festival, Disney also stated that the “Eat to the Beat Concert Series” will not be returning this year. Disney did add that there will be plenty of music to enjoy at America Gardens Theatre with local EPCOT entertainment such as Mariachi Cobre, the JAMMitors and more.

Health & Safety Protocol Information From Walt Disney World Re-Opening Presentation

Below are some of the slides that Jim McPhee, Senior VP of Operations at Walt Disney World used at the Orange County Task Force meeting on Wednesday.

Walt Disney World Sets Opening Dates

Walt Disney World announced minutes ago that they will be opening in phases. Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom will open on July 11th, Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studio will open on July 15th.

The phased reopening  will come with limits. Disney indicated that guests will need park reservations each day to enter a theme park.  There will be no fireworks or parades.  There also will be limited to no character meet and greets.

I will update this later today if I see more detailed information or as soon as Disney provides more details.

Walt Disney World Updates Operating Hours, Universal Orlando Announces Planned Opening

Earlier today Universal Orlando presented it’s plans to the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force.

In that plan, Universal Orlando stated that the plan is to open June 1st, with a gradual capacity managed opening for employees only. Passholders would be added on June 3rd, followed by an opening to the general public on June 5th.

Even though Disney opened Disney Springs yesterday, Walt Disney World updated its operating hours calendar to show that the theme parks will be closed through June 13th, it previously stated June 7th.

Walt Disney World Resort hotels and theme parks are currently closed until further notice. Disney recently began accepting hotel reservations for July 1, although as explained by a senior figure at Disney, that does not mean the park will be open at that time.

While Disney has not announced an opening date and as stated above in regards to opening, one would have to think that since Disney have been somewhat working together with the task force, that Walt Disney World will be opening sometime close to when Universal Orlando opens up.

While nothing definite from Disney, Universal’s announcement would seem to be good news.

There appears to to be light at the end of this tunnel.

Walt Disney World Updates Website….Includes COVID-19 Liability Statement and Warning

Ahead of the opening of Disney Springs on May 20th, Walt Disney World has updated its website today with a COVID-19 warnings notice.

The thing to note is the wording that indicates that “By visiting Walt Disney World Resort, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.”

Below it the entire COVID-19 warning from the Walt Disney World website…

COVID-19 Warning

We have taken enhanced health and safety measures—for you, our other Guests, and Cast Members. You must follow all posted instructions while visiting Disney Springs.

An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe illness and death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, senior citizens and guests with underlying medical conditions are especially vulnerable.

By visiting Disney Springs you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.

Let’s keep each other healthy and safe.