Frontline Cast Members at Disney’s theme parks have been feeling the pinch of the economy since last year. Where 40 or 60 hour weeks caused by the inability to hire and train enough employees were common before, these days many are having a hard time getting the 32 hours required to maintain their benefits. With these and other policies Disney is able to reduce Cast Member numbers via attrition instead of mass layoff.
For those whose title includes the word Director and higher rankings, they have another option. 619 Disney theme park executives in Anaheim, Burbank, and Orlando have been asked to take a separation package and help the company reduce its ranks and save money. 313 of these executives are in Orlando since that is where most of the people who run the Worldwide Walt Disney Parks and Resorts division are located.
Now the choice is take a larger severence package now or risk being laid off later with a smaller package. I like to think that the staff being bought out will land on their feet as the Disney training and leadership experience still matters in the industry. But I’m happy I’m not the one faced with that choice.
It’s certainly a rough time for all companies today. There are difficult decisions all the way down. My thoughts are with those at Disney who are newly faced with a tough choice and the Cast Members who may have no choice at all.