Walt Disney World fires live performing artists, casts black shadow over popular Disney attractions

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Walt Disney World staff members were hit with a string of layoffs on Tuesday, leaving the future of some of the theme park’s live shows and biggest attractions unknown.

The cuts were confirmed to Fox Business in a statement shared by the Actors’ Equity Association, a union that represents a number of Walt Disney World artists.

“Our hearts go out to all of the cast of Walt Disney World. Disney has made it clear that our members will face job cuts since they announced the layoff of nearly 28,000 employees. That doesn’t make this news any less painful, ”said Kate Shindle, president of the Actors’ Equity Association.

The statement continues: “These cuts are another tragic reminder that until the virus is brought under control with a national strategy for masks, testing and contact tracing, everyone working in the arts needs help like extended unemployment insurance in the event of a pandemic; and federal COBRA health insurance subsidies. . ”

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The Main Street Philharmonic Marching Band performs in the Magic Kingdom of Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, Fla. On Wednesday, September 30, 2020. The Walt Disney Co. has laid off 20% of its workforce, according to reports. (Joe Burbank / Orlando Sentinel via AP)

The Orlando Sentinel first reported that the performers of some of its most popular live shows, including “Festival of the Lion King” or “Finding Nemo: The Musical,” were fired on Tuesday.

Among the most important attractions affected are the staff members of the “Hoop-Dee-Doo Music Review”, the cast of “Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor”, “Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage” and “Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, ”“ reports the release.

The “Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue” dinner show had been a staple since 1974. One of its hosts, Nicolette Quintero, responded to her layoff on Tuesday.

The cuts come after months of downsizing at beloved theme parks and affect a number of Disney live shows. (iStock)

“Claire DeLune, you were a dream come true,” Quintero said via the local outlet. “My dream role in the company of my dreams on one of my favorite stages. Today is a very difficult day.

Walt Disney World representatives did not immediately respond to FOX Business’s request for comment on Wednesday and have yet to issue a public statement on the new round of layoffs.

Reports also state that the interactive “Star Wars” show, Jedi Training Academy staff members, and Green Army Men cast have been affected.

The entire cast of “Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor” was also reportedly cut. The show took place at the Magic Kingdom. The “Beauty and the Beast” stage show was also laid off at Hollywood Studios along with the cast of “Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular”.

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Main Street USA performers in Magic Kingdom Park and Citizens of Hollywood performers at Disney’s Hollywood Studios were also reportedly included in the cuts.

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Disney’s website lists the aforementioned shows as “temporarily unavailable,” but it’s important to note that these statuses have been appearing on the website for months, as the majority of them had already been closed due to demands. social distancing.

The layoffs come after months of downsizing at parks caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Disney President Josh D’Amaro announced in September that cuts were on the horizon. At the time, the president said in a statement that Disney would lay off 28,000 employees.

“In light of the protracted impact of COVID-19 on our business, including limited capacity due to physical distancing requirements and the lingering uncertainty about the duration of the pandemic – exacerbated in California by the denial of l ‘Status of lifting restrictions that would allow Disneyland to reopen – we made the very difficult decision to begin the process of downsizing our Parks, Experiences and Products segment at all levels, after keeping Cast Members inactive on leave since April, while paying for health benefits, “D ‘Reading from Amaro’s statement.

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He continued: “Around 28,000 domestic workers will be affected, of which around 67% are part-time. We are discussing with the affected employees as well as with the unions the next steps for the members of the cast represented by the unions. ”

The Orlando Sentinel has said the layoffs will ultimately result in a 20% reduction in its Orlando workforce, which equates to more than 15,500 employees.

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