Disney lays off 11,350 Orlando-area employees

Total of Central Florida workers affected by pandemic reaches 18,000

ORLANDO, Fla. – Come the end of the year, 11,350 Orlando-area employees at Walt Disney World and other support operations will be laid off as the theme park continues to struggle with the financial impacts caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

A notice filed Thursday by vice president of employee relations Jim Bowden shows that of the impacted employees, 10,903 worked at Walt Disney World while the remaining 447 worked at smaller properties such as the costume warehouse and the reservation center.

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Although the notice was just filed this week, the layoffs are part of the 28,000 that were announced in September.

The layoffs will be effective Dec. 31.

Based on other notices Disney has already filed, this brings the new total of affected Central Florida workers to 18,019.

On Friday, vice president of Walt Disney World Resort live entertainment Bettina Buckley posted a message to visitors letting them know “we’ve had to pause many live shows and entertainment experiences at our resort for longer than originally anticipated.”

Her message didn’t reference the layoffs.

“Like most of our fans, we know that our beloved entertainment cast are an incredibly special and essential part of the Disney experience. We look forward to the day when we can welcome back more live entertainment to our parks, and we will share more news about these announcements as we’re able to do so,” Buckley wrote.

Earlier this week, the Actors' Equity Association announced that 720 performers in the union had lost their jobs. It’s unclear if those workers are including in the most recent notice.

Walt Disney World closed its local parks to stop the spread of COVID-19 in mid-March. When the gates reopened this summer, capacity was reduced, live shows were put on a hiatus and new safety precautions were put in place.