I can imagine it’s pretty stressful to be a Disney Parks Cast Member right now, what with the recent layoffs that took away valued colleagues, record crowds for spring break, and rumors of more layoffs at Walt Disney World coming down after those seasonal crowds subside. I’ll bet that a lot of the Guests are a little more tense than usual too, given the ecoomic pressures so many of us are under. I’m not the first to presume there’s likely a connection between the number of multiple shootings we’ve seen in the US lately and the financial free-fallwe’ve been in.
So, given that we’re all kinda freaked out, let’s try to be kind to each other. And if you want some examples of what not to do, check out this post from Walt Disney World: In the World of a Five Foot Mouse, which includes one of those train wreck stories, where I’m horrified but can’t look away.
We had a guest come to the front desk at the Lodge in a fit of rage and screamed at the cast member, “I SHIT IN MY BED LAST NIGHT AND IT’S STILL THERE.” . . . I have a hard time figuring out which is more disturbing. The fact that a grown woman would ‘S!!T’ in her bed AND admitted it. Or the fact that a houskeeper could make the bed with out seeing the stuff and change the sheets. Ewww. We’re moving on.
It’s amazing to me that when Cast Members have to put up with that sort of behavior, many of them are still able to go that extra mile for us.
The recent layoffs at Disneyland have cut deep. David Koenig offers this commentary at MousePlanet today:
As one old-timer points out: “They say this is all about cutting fat, but look at (how they’re staffing) the hourly cast members.” He notices that despite heavy crowds, Disneyland is scheduling a minimal number of front-line operators, leaving attractions and other facilities under-staffed or completely unstaffed. The cuts in capacity result in guests waiting longer and receiving fewer choices.
He reasons that if Disney chooses to save a few bucks at the cost of lesser service in full view of the paying guests, what makes you think they’re not doing the same thing in the back offices?
Certainly Disneyland is not immune to these troubling economic times. Most large businesses have had to undergo difficult layoffs. Disney’s theme parks have “rightsized” their employee ranks before, and they will have to again.
But what’s not right is spreading the message that the hundreds of loyal cast members who were let go were expendable and aren’t a real loss. The loss is real to them and their families and, as regular visitors to Disneyland, I fear their loss will be real to us, as well.
He continues on to pay tribute to many of the recently laid-off Cast Members, several of whom had been working at the Park since 1956. The loss is substantial, and can’t help but affect Guest experience, as well as putting long-term, loyal Cast Members out of work. It’s a sad day.
The Orlando Sentinel, via The Disney Blog, has brought us saddening news:
The Walt Disney Co. has eliminated 1,900 jobs across its U.S. parks division – including 1,400 in Florida – the company confirmed this afternoon.
The division-wide cuts include about 1,150 layoffs, 50 voluntary buyouts and 700 open positions that were not filled.
The Florida cuts include 900 layoffs and buyouts and 500 open positions eliminated. The vast majority of those cuts were in Central Florida and at Walt Disney World, though the company also shed jobs at a reservations center in Tampa.
The remaining cuts include 200 layoffs and buyouts and 100 eliminated open positions at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., and smaller cuts at offices in Burbank, Calif., and Glendale, Calif.
My Jentasmic! column today at StudiosCentral.com was written before the final numbers came out, but the song remains the same:
My heart goes out to all those who have lost their jobs. Given the current unemployment rate (9.4% in Florida, Feb 2009), I know that many will have a difficult, and long, job search (I’d gladly explain to you over coffee sometime why I know this so well, though I won’t ramble about it here). And my heart also goes out to those who remain employed, and may now be picking up extra responsibilities to cover for those whose positions were eliminated. It’s a rare employer that actually manages to eliminate all the work that was being performed by those being laid off; more often, at least some of that work is spread around those remaining.