ICYMI: Disney World Cuts Large Majority of Stage Performers and Entertainers
If you’ve been following along with MickeyBlog then you know last night was bleak with the news that Disney World had let most of their live entertainers go. As the Orlando Sentinel wrote this morning, some described the large scale layoffs as a “bloodbath” especially one that deeply affected the Central Florida arts community.
In the evening, reports starting coming in that a huge amount of performers from the Citizens of Hollywood to the Jedis at the Training Academy where getting their pink slips! Casts at many of Disney’s popular stage shows including Festival of the Lion King”and Finding Nemo: The Musical were let go. Even Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue the beloved dinner show that had been entertaining guests at Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground since 1974 had let their performers go.
Here are the cuts that we know of so far:
- Beauty and the Beast Live On-Stage. – Hollywood Studios
- Citizens of Hollywood – Hollywood Studios
- Festival of the Lion King – Animal Kingdom
- Finding Nemo The Musical – Animal Kingdom
- Green Army Men Drum Corps – Hollywood Studios
- Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue – Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
- Indiana Jones Stunt Show – Hollywood Studios
- Jedi Training Academy – Hollywood Studios
- Main Street Citizens – Magic Kingdom
- Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire – Magic Kingdom
- Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor – Magic Kingdom
- Move It! Shake It! MousekeDance It! Street Party– Magic Kingdom
- Turtle Talk With Crush – EPCOT
- Voices of Liberty – EPCOT
According to the piece in the Sentinel, performer Nicolette Quintero took to social media yesterday to bid her character a fond farewell, “Clare DeLune, you were a dream come true. My dream role at my dream company on one of my favorite stages,” Quintero posted on Facebook. “Today is a very hard day.”
The massive cuts yesterday were a part of the 28,000 company wide layoffs announced by Disney Chairman Josh D’Amaro last month. Reports started coming in late last night that cast members were being notified of the termination of their contractions. As the night wore on the deep cuts became more and more obvious with performers taking to social media to announce that casts at a wide array of Disney shows had been given the boot. As the Sentinel says, one commenter likened it to the Red Wedding a tragic moment from the series Game of Thrones.
As of going to print neither Disney nor Actors Equity, the union that represents many of Walt Disney World’s performers, have yet to comment.
All of the shows that appear on our list above are being listed on www.disneyworld.com as “temporarily unavailable.” However, this is the same description that they’ve had for months as many of the productions that let staff go have remained closed (even after the theme parks reopened) due to social distancing requirements.
As we previously reported here at MickeyBlog, Disney and Actors Equity went through some very heated negotiations in August over keeping performers safe during COVID-19. Though Disney and the union did eventually reach an agreement regarding a return to work for performers it seems all for naught as Disney made the decision to keep most of their stage productions closed.
There are a few instances of performers being called back to work at places like Savi’s Workshop and also For the First Time In Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along which from what we can tell remains the ONLY stage production open at the parks.
The Orlando Sentinel estimates that some 15,500 employees will be let go at Walt Disney World. What remains a contentious issue is the fact that just prior to Josh D’Amaro’s announcement that they would be letting cast members go, The Walt Disney Company reinstated all executive salaries for those VP’s that took cuts during the Early 2020 shutdown.
Also at the start of the week, Disney announced that they would be sinking money into refurbishing the entry gates at Walt Disney World.
We expect more news regarding those impact by the cuts to be coming in all day. Please keep following along with MickeyBlog for further news and updates. Our thoughts, as always go out to all of those impacted by the cuts and their families.
Source: Orlando Sentinel