Disneyland is struggling while the California theme parks remain closed. With the domestic Disney Parks in the process of laying off 28,000 workers, another wave of layoff emails are expected to go out to Disneyland Cast Members on Sunday. Of the total layoffs, 10,000 are hitting the Disneyland Resort parks, hotels and stores in Anaheim, according to company sources.
The LA Times spoke to some furloughed and laid off Disneyland Cast Members about their struggles:
Tina Thomas, 59, is currently furloughed from her job as a server and sommelier at Disneyland Resort. Of the past eight months, she said, “I’m watching this roller coaster and hoping that it stops soon. It’s so stressful to live this way.”
Thomas said that returning guests is what made her job special. The same guests would visit her year after year and some have even contacted her at home since the park closed to see how she’s doing.
“I’ve watched their children grow and become regulars,” she said. “To me, that’s the best, and there aren’t many companies that we can grow that kind of relationship with.”
Cassie Simone was laid off from her role as Anna in “Frozen: Live at the Hyperion Theatre” which will not be resuming performances. She misses the family of Cast Members she built in her time at Disneyland, where she has worked since 2004.
“I’m having a real identity crisis because Disney was such a huge part of who I am,” she said. “Now I’m having to figure out who I am without Disney.”
Simone has found work as an office manager, while auditioning for commercials.
Josey Montana McCoy portrayed Olaf in the same show. When thinking about never returning to the role, he said, “Emotionally, it comes in waves. I realize that the wall of security that I built started to crumble slowly.”
McCoy worries about returning to work at Disney during the pandemic with a baby at home. Thankfully his wife has a full-time job to keep the family afloat.
California theme parks are expected to remain closed until 2021 due to the state government’s restrictive reopening guidelines. Disneyland most recently canceled reservations through November 14.
The Walt Disney Company restored the salaries of its Senior Executives in late August, when thousands of Cast Members were still on furlough.
We at WDWNT are supporting these Cast Members as much as possible. You can help too! Tune in to our 65-hour broadcast on Thanksgiving weekend and help raise money for the Cast Member Pantry.
The donation-based organization also has an Amazon Wish List as well as Venmo—their account is: @castmemberpantry. Cast Members can email Cast Member Pantry or contact them via their Facebook page to book a 15-minute “shopping” window.