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It's no secret that Disney has been hit hard by the global pandemic. The movie business has been struggling with no box office to lean on and the theme parks spent months closed, and now they're either open to a much smaller capacity, or in the case of Disneyland, still basically closed. The financial toll has been in the billions of dollars, and so it was little surprise when Disney announced significant layoffs in the Parks, Experiences, and Products division. However, a recent filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission has revealed that the proposed layoffs will be even larger than originally announced.
In September, Disney announced a layoff of 28,000 jobs that would cover all levels and and all departments within one of Disney's most vital divisions. However, yesterday Disney filed a form 10-K with the SEC and according to the filing the number of layoffs will be closer to 32,000 jobs. The positions are set to be terminated over the course of the first half of Disney's 2021 fiscal year, which began in October and will run through March 2021.
While the additional 4,000 jobs that are being lost are likely spread out over the entire division, that certainly means even more jobs lost within the domestic theme parks. Disneyland just recently was able to put some cast members back to work by reopening part of Disney California Adventure for shopping and dining, and CEO Bob Chapek recently confirmed that Walt Disney World has been able to increase its capacity in the months since reopening, but with the attractions at Disneyland Resort still closed, and no sign of when they might reopen, Disney had to make the decision to reduce costs.
We do know where many of the layoffs have hit the parks. Live entertainment was hit hard, and in some cases the cast and crew of entire shows were let go. Even in the parks that are now open, most live performances are still closed. At Disneyland Resort, we know that the cast members working Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge have been disproportionately hit, as many of them lost their seniority when they moved into the park's new land.
Walt Disney Imagineering was also hit with layoffs, and on top of that, one of Disney's most well known Imagineers just announced he will retire in January, which means layoffs aren't simply impacting the parks current viability, but also the long term outlook, since there are now fewer people working on what's next inside the theme parks.
Because the layoffs are set to happen over the next few months, odds are most of the people impacted don't actually know their fate yet. Many currently furloughed workers will likely spend the holidays wondering if they will have a job, which is a terrible way to go through this time of year. Many people dream of working for Disney, and now that dream is coming to an end for even more people.