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Layoffs at the Magic Kingdom of Disney

Local news CFNews13 reports that layoffs began yesterday at Walt Disney World. The story mentions executive level employees who had the option to receive a severance package or take their chances with layoffs. We’ve actually known of some of the executive layoffs for a few weeks now.

I think these layoffs were different. Some front line in-park managers were either let go or asked to take lower positions. Others were just terminated and walked off property.

No word on how widespread this is. But Disney CEO Bob Iger had mentioned in the past that they would try to avoid cuts that affect the guest experience. One has to wonder what that meant to Iger when some of the mangers involved yesterday handled the front gate and guest control.

I also want to mention that this comes during a spring break period when Disney has been experiencing heavier than usual drive-in traffic (from as far away as South Carolina) and steady air arrivals too with recent airfare discounts. Perhaps Disney’s pencil pushes have some frightening forecasts for summer bookings.

I hope Disney takes care not to lose the experience that many of those manager level cast members brought with them to the front lines of the parks. When training and supervision suffers, so too does guest service. Since a superior guest experience is what drives return business, this is a dangerous game to play.

Our sympathies go out to the cast members who lost their jobs today. Hopefully they were let go with time to find another tourism industry job during Spring Break? Disney training still counts for something, right?

5 thoughts on “Layoffs at the Magic Kingdom of Disney”

  1. I have been hearing about similar layoffs at Disneyland from folks I know who still work there so it sounds like it’s company wide. I have to say having Disneyland on my resume has probably gotten me some interviews I wouldn’t have normally gotten, but mostly it’s because people want to ask questions about the park. I don’t think it quite means what it used to.

    As far as losing some of the management goes, perhaps it’s a good thing to trim the fat. I know in my department we had an insane amount of managers and many of them didn’t do a whole lot. The leads do the bulk of the real work involving guests. I’m not saying they’re not necessary, just perhaps in fewer numbers. So maybe this could end up being a good thing.

  2. The press about director level was a sham. Of the 600 or so mentioned, less than 100 left, voluntarily or not!
    Front line is being let go.Now they have “walked” over 1000 at WDW according to my manager. Everyone is on tiptoes. HR is processing and have been told when they are done, they are next. One segment found out by being invited to a meeting at a certain hour. Check your blackberry. Not invited you were sat down and given “options”, such as leaving or taking a 30% pay cut!
    And, the people not making goals are already gone. Now they are working on the profitable people on a yes/no evaluation. People that make money and serve guests are disappearing.
    It ends (?) Saturday in time for 2d quarter financial reports!!!!

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  4. The cast service department (which was created to improve retention ironically) was basically wiped out in two days. It may not effect guest experience directly, but sure will indirectly.

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