Driven down Flower Street in Glendale lately? You shouldn’t have any problems finding a parking spot. This is due to the massive layoff that has been occuring at all levels of Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI), the Walt Disney Company’s theme park design and advanced research center and some would say its heart and soul.
Now layoffs after the completion of large projects are not unusual, but this time the layoffs reach into the upper eschalons of the Glendale offices. Bruce Gordon (Disneyland historian) and Nina Rae Vaughn (Artist who has drawn most recent Disneyland Park Maps) are among the imagineers let go.
This sort of layoff has worked well for Disney in the past allowing them to have the same talent working for them on a consulting basis. But by the same token Disney competitors are also able to hire the ex-imagineers. (ie, Islands of Adventure having many similar elements to the unbuilt Beastly Kingdom.)
How deep will this round of cuts go? Rumors are that this round will be deeper than any previous layoff and leave just a few teams of people to haunt the halls of 1401 Flower Street where so much of Disney Themepark magic has been created. Jim Hill Media has written a bit more on the subject.