Disney Cuts Are Bad News for a Huge Fan Event

Disney World and Disneyland might be the only magical and happy places in the Disney universe since the company began layoffs.

Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom’s motto has been “The Most Magical Place on Earth,” while Disneyland has always been known as “The Happiest Place on Earth.”

And for employees of those theme parks, the benefits they receive are better than what a typical employer offers. Sure, there are the medical, dental, vision and retirement benefits, as well as paid time off. But they also receive discounts on select hotels, dining, merchandise and recreation locations.

The most coveted benefit for Disney park employees might be complimentary theme park admission, and three guest passes for dependents, for full-time and part-time positions after two weeks of employment.  

The Disney World and Disneyland theme parks might be the only magical and happy places in the Disney universe, however, since CEO Bob Iger on March 27 emailed employees informing them of the beginning of layoffs that he had talked about in February.

Image source: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Disney Layoffs Part of Strategic Alignment

Iger portrayed the reduction of 7,000 jobs as “part of a strategic alignment of the company, including important cost-saving measures necessary for creating a more effective, coordinated and streamlined approach to our business.”

The initial round of layoffs that began in March, Iger said, would be smaller than a larger round in April, which finally came on April 24.

Iger had a message for those employees who manage to survive the hatchet.

“For our employees who aren’t impacted, I want to acknowledge that there will no doubt be challenges ahead as we continue building the structures and functions that will enable us to be successful moving forward. I ask for your continued understanding and collaboration during this time,” Iger wrote.

While employees of Disney’s theme parks are not expected to be affected by the company’s massive layoffs, major events sponsored by the company will be affected. Disney’s D23, the official fan club of the company, is expected to have significant staff reduction, according to Deadline.

The fan club, which was founded in 2009, stages biennial events — D23 Expo fan confab conference in Anaheim, Calif., and Destination D23 in Lake Buena Vista, which are presented in alternating years. D23 Expo was last held Sept. 9-12, 2022, at the Anaheim Convention Center, while the next Destination D23 event will be held Sept. 8-10, 2023, at Disney’s Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World.

This year’s version of Destination D23 will celebrate 100 years of the Walt Disney Co. The company will also make special announcements and present sneak previews of upcoming projects at the event. There may also be appearances by some special celebrity guests.

Disney Laying Off 25% of D23 Workers

The bad news for D23 is Disney plans to lay off up to 25% of the division’s staff and possibly restructure its organization. The layoffs are part a second round of the company’s plan to layoff 7,000 employees and cut $5.5 billion in spending at the company. The company will have laid off 4,000 workers by the end of the week, reports say.

The second round of Disney layoffs have impacted many of its TV and film divisions, including 20th Television, ABC, ABC Signature, Disney+, Disney Branded Entertainment, Disney TV Animation,  Freeform, Hulu, Walt Disney Television Alternative and Searchlight, with Disney Television Studios marketing and first-run syndication getting dissolved and a number of areas being consolidated, Deadline said.

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