Disney Sidesteps Union Actors By Changing Up Its Theme Park Shows
As we previously mentioned here at MickeyBlog, Walt Disney World and Actor’s Equity Association continue to try to reach an agreement regarding having their Equity members return to work. Actor’s Equity had grievances regarding Disney’s health and safety plans arguing that temperature checks should be provided for all union members especially performers who can’t wear a mask onstage.
With talks remain ongoing it looks like Disney is finding ways to work around absent performers.
As a recent piece in the Orlando Sentinel tells us, Actor’s Equity represents about 750 performers. This includes cast in productions like Beauty and the Beast- Live on Stage, Finding Nemo and Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue. The union has been pushing Disney to provide COVID-19 testing for all performers however Disney World feels the safety protocols already in place are comprehensive enough.
As a result, Equity filed a grievance. This came after Disney cancelled a planned recall to work for Equity performers. The two sides are supposed to get together to chat through options tomorrow (July 20th.)
However, with negotiations ongoing, Disney has had to make changes to some of its productions. Once such example is “Up! A Great Bird Adventure” which is now called “Feathered Friends in Flight.” The difference? The previous version had an equity actor in the role which has since been replaced by one of Animal Kingdom’s Animal Behavioural Specialists.
Another example is Savi’s Workshop which is now reopened at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. However, the Equity-represented actor at the shop has been replaced and the preshow all but eliminated. Instead guests can create their own lightsaber but without the theatrical element and special effects.
As the Orlando Sentinel points out, if you visit the website “UP!” and “Savi’s Workshop” are listed as temporarily unavailable. This means that there is still a possibility that they may return. But the changes and the Disney’s decision to go ahead without them has not gone over well with equity members- many of whom are now worrying about being replaced or squeezed out of their jobs.
Disney’s agreement with Actors’ Equity lasts until 2022. If discussions between Disney and Actors’ Equity cannot resolve the grievance, an arbitrator will be called in. This is a story that we’ll continue to follow closely here at MickeyBlog so keep checking in with us for further news and updates!
Thinking about a visit to Disney? Getting started is easy! Simply fill out our form below to get your FREE, no-obligation quote from MickeyTravels.
Find articles like this helpful? Then why not consider working with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner? As an agent with MickeyTravels, I’ll be on hand to assist you with everything from finding your perfect package to helping you plan lots of special touches to make your visit truly magical. Best of all my services are absolutely FREE. Get in touch at 1.800.801.4025 via email at email@example.com or follow along on Facebook