Disney to lay off 28,000 workers at its parks in California, Florida

Daniel Fowler
September 30, 2020

Though Disney has acquired numerous entertainment properties, movie studios, and launched its own streaming service recently, its theme parks still play a vital role in the company's finances, accounting for more than a third of its $69.6 billion in total revenue in 2019.

The cuts will affect the Disney's Parks, Experiences and Products unit.

Disney is laying off 28,000 employees, the entertainment giant confirmed Tuesday, as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to hammer its theme park operations, including the continued closing of its California parks and reduced capacity at its open parks in Florida and around the world.

Josh D'Amaro, the chairman of Disney Parks, said the staffing cuts were necessary because of the "prolonged impact" of coronavirus on business.

Around 67 seven percent of the 28,000 layoffs were part-time workers, but they ranged from salaried employees to nonunion hourly workers, Disney officials said.

Disney did not disclose how many other United States employees work in the parks unit, which includes consumer products, cruise lines and other businesses.

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In regards to theme parks' reopening guidelines, he said, "We're working hard to get that out in a responsible way, as soon as possible, so planning can be done by both the counties that are homes to the theme parks, as well as the operators of those theme parks". But it was also said to be the only feasible option that the company has now. Overall, Disney's parks business pulled in just $983 million during the quarter, which was an 85% slide compared with the $6.6 billion in revenue the parks earned during the same period past year.

D'Amaro said that they've made the "difficult decision" to reduce the workforce at all levels. Furloughed workers in California also received health benefits.

SeaWorld furloughed 95 percent of its employees after having had to close all of its parks, and it cut executives' base salaries by 20 percent. That's coming off a second quarter in which the company took a $1 billion hit earlier this year. "Reports-Second-Quarter-and-First-Six-Months-2020-Results/default.aspx" target="_blank">$18 million in August, compared to $406 million for the same quarter past year. During its most recent quarter, Disney said the Disney World reopening has not gone as well as hoped.

NBCUniversal also laid off a number of workers, including rounds of layoffs at Universal Studios. Disney cast members are part of the reason that Disney theme parks are so much fun.

"As you would expect, attendance is down, but our guest satisfaction scores have never been higher", Shell said in the letter.

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