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D-Day for Disney Park Executives, Layoff or Severance?

Today is “D Day” for hundreds of executives throughout The Walt Disney Company’s east coast and west coast divisions that support the parks and resorts (including Imagineering). Today’s the day they have to decide if they’ll take a severance package or risk future layoffs with severance that won’t be as generous. While Disney hasn’t mentioned how deep of cuts they want, it’s thought they want deep cuts in upper management where salaries are high so as to prevent layoffs in the parks where the guest experience might be directly affected.

I don’t envy anyone who has to make this decision for themselves and their family. But at the same time, I hope enough people opt to take the package and prevent even worse layoffs in the future. During the 1Q result conference call, Bob Iger made it clear that he wants to keep as minimal impact on the guest experience as possible during the recession. So cuts in management are likely to be deep.

(More at the Orlando Sentinel)

7 thoughts on “D-Day for Disney Park Executives, Layoff or Severance?”

  1. I think this is a really intelligent way for disney to make cuts. They give people a choice, offering a (presumably generous) severance package, so that anyone that was considering a change in career or early retirement now has a perfect excuse, and then they can just hire up some of the other great cast members to fill any voids, while paying them a starting salary for a manager, and saving money that way.

    this seems like a much better way than to just fire entry level cast members that are paid less, since their firing would save less money. and also, the entry level cast members are probably under considerably more finanicial stress than middle and upper management would be.

    this seems like a very “disney” way to handle the recession… offer the old blood a helping hand if they choose to leave, and bring in some young, fresh management to fill the gaps.

    1. Guess what. Disney did NOT offer generous severance packages. People were assured their jobs were safe, they were valuaable hard working employees who had wonderful reviews. Were just a number. Mickey is really just a rat.

      1. I heard from some Orlando Disney execs and they were offered buyouts — some as much as 2 years of full pay. Can’t explain the reasoning behind Disney’s choice of who got an offer or who didn’t. I’m not defending Disney nor condemning them since they are not alone in laying off people.

  2. Old blood huh! Remember a lot of that “old blood” came to work at Disney when they were 18, so they have worked thirty years and are not yet 50. Exactly how do you retire today at 50! These are people that have given their lives, holidays, children’s birthdays, etc. and are now let go so that they Company can show a larger profit.

  3. A severance package was not offered to anyone but high level Disney execs. Most “middle management” staff make little more than or about the same as topped out base level Cast or office and technical staff and put in an unlimited quantity of overtime for no additional pay. Cuts in management are looking to be in the thousands. This will impact the Guest experience as with areas performing already under limited management supervision, quality and service will drop… but at least it will look good to the stockholders.

  4. Have to agree on the middle management staff. I know middle managers there who make just a little more than the top labor union positions at the World and they work lots of OT and different shifts with no additional compensation except the promise of a higher pension than the union employees get. Obviously the higher pension is worthless if you’re part of the layoff. It would seem to me that Disney should have taken the route of some other companies who have reduced management salaries by 5 to 20% depending on the level the person is at. Some also suspended 401K matches instead of laying off. Companies that lay off are doing themselves more harm than good. Not only do they compromise the integrity of their own product quality, they cause less demand for all products and services that are out there and they assist in continuing the downfall of the economy. The only increase in demand will be for items such as unemployment insurance, welfare and food stamps. The government will then have to look at taxing the heck out of these same companies to fund them.

  5. Forget stockholders working is more INportaint.If Disney keeps laying people off no one will go to Disney cause There will not be enough people to work. Thay will have to train new people for there jobs.

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