According to WDWNT, Disney has laid off the majority of its Actors’ Equity Union cast members. That includes the entire cast and crew of shows like Festival of the Lion King, Finding Nemo the Musical, the Pandora utility suit crew, Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage, Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, Jedi Training Academy, the Green Army Men, Voyage of the Little Mermaid, Citizens of Hollywood, Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor, the Citizens of Main Street, and Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue. There are likely more cuts on the way or more of the layoffs will be made public in the coming days.
Obviously, this is devastating news for the performers and their families. It also means that these shows probably aren’t returning in any form anytime soon. I could go on about how disappointing this news is, but I would guess we’re on the same page without me writing six or eight paragraphs about how entertainment is the heart and soul of a Walt Disney World visit. I may write that post in the future, but I don’t have it in me right now. It’s also not about me at all. It’s just really, really sad that it’s come to this.
The Actors’ Equity union released a statement about the Walt Disney World layoffs:
Before the pandemic, about 780 Equity members were employed at Walt Disney World, either full time, part time or seasonally. About 60 are currently working or about to return to work in the park. About 720 Equity member workers have now been laid off. According to the new MOU with Disney, these laid-off members maintain recall rights until the end of 2021.
720 of 780 cast members is over 92% of the entertainment work force. That is a complete gutting. You can pull up the union’s official press release here.
There’s concept art for the donut store at Disney Springs that I could post, but I’m not even going to bother. The Parks Blog has the pictures.
Here’s our familiar chart of Animal Kingdom’s daily average wait since reopening:
This may end up being the best week to visit in about a month, though this Friday and Saturday will likely see a big uptick. But Tuesday’s 17.5-minute average wait is more than ten minutes shorter than the previous week and almost 14 minutes less than the Tuesday before that, when we saw 31.3 minutes. Tuesday was also one of the two or three least crowded days of the last month.
Here’s the chart:
Everything returns to its zen-like state of early September for the most part. Even Na’vi River Journey’s average wait is longer than Flight of Passage again. I never thought that would bring catharsis. This week may be proof that some people will get lucky with lower crowds and waits, though this is historically a less crowded week than the last couple. Columbus Day Holiday crowd levels are typically higher and the south pushes visitors to Walt Disney World in the middle of October for fall breaks. None of those things are true during the last week of the month. I still wouldn’t be anywhere this Saturday if I could help it, though.
Waits were well below-average at Epcot as well. You might remember that Sunday’s overall average was 30 minutes, even with the 9pm close versus the 7pm close that we currently see most Mondays through Thursdays. Soarin’ is ten minutes almost all day. Frozen is well below-average. It’s like somebody went to Blockbuster and hit rewind a month on the VHS.
Onto the Studios:
And, relatively speaking, it was a great day there, too.
Here’s the chart:
You’d have to go back almost a month to find a day with an average wait as low as Tuesday. You’d have to go back that far just to find a day with an average wait under 40 minutes. But even so, those morning waits are still rough from Park open.
The good times roll into Magic Kingdom. It was the best day to visit in several weeks.
Here’s the chart:
I would guess that we still see reduced capacities in a couple of places, like at Big Thunder and Space Mountain, pushing up waits, but this is as good as it’s been at Magic Kingdom in some time.
The low crowds should continue for a couple more days before a busy weekend hits. Next week should be good as well, up until Friday again.
Current Disney Park Pass Availability
More Parks are filling up during Thanksgiving week. On the 23rd and 24th, only Epcot is currently showing availability for Resort or Theme Park Tickets Guests. Get those Park Passes booked if you’re visiting over Thanksgiving or get used used to waiting 40 minutes for Journey into Imagination with Figment. The choice is yours.. It’s also likely Disney will replenish the supply at some point, adding availability. That would have to be true even without the major shows coming back online.
December looked to be the same. No availability at the Studios on yellow dates, with the exception of the 25th, when Magic Kingdom is the only sold out Park. Very wholesome. I feel like rope dropping Carousel of Progress and then getting right back in line.
Good news. The Disney site already updated their menu on the Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli at California Grill back to its original description. It’s now Tomato-Fennel Ragù, Truffle-Goat Cheese Espuma, Basil Crisp, just as it should be. That was a close one.
D-Luxe Burger has a $12 Bananas Foster Gelato Shake – “Vanilla Gelato, Bols Banana, Toasted Marshmallow Monin, Caramel topped with Whipped Cream and a Caramel Drizzle” that sounds like something I might be interested in.
Operating Schedule Changes
They should come Friday.
That should get you caught up.