After days of anxiously waiting, the Cast Members of Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort have finally received a message of relief.
As Disney Parks & Resorts confirmed that the theme parks of Disneyland and Disney World will remain closed until further notice, they also confirmed that its cast members will continue to be cared for beyond the original end day of March 31.
Disney Parks & Resorts announced:
“The Walt Disney Company has been paying its cast members since the closure of the parks, and in light of this ongoing and increasingly complex crisis, we have made the decision to extend paying hourly parks and resorts cast members through April 18.”
Disney is not just extending the compensation to the full-time Cast Members but they are also going to keep the hourly cast members working in the theme parks and resort hotels through at least April 18.
This news comes after cast members from both Disneyland and Walt Disney World sent letters of inquiry via their respective unions to demand some answers from a rather silent employer.
The Disneyland Resort Cast Members Union, Local 50, sent a letter to Vice President of Disney Parks and Resorts, Robin Almand, demanding to know if they will be compensated through an extended closure.
And shortly after that, the Walt Disney World Resort Cast Members Union, the Service Trades Council Union, took a similar measure. They sent a letter to Walt Disney World Parks and Resorts Director of Labor Relations, Christie Sutherland, requesting confirmation that Cast Member payments and insurance benefits received during this 18-day period will be continued through April 30, 2020, in light of the developing situation.
When it closed its theme parks on March 16, the Walt Disney World Resort stated that the parks will be closed through March 31. On March 17, all Disney-owned-and-operated establishments at Disney Springs were closed, and on March 20, all Walt Disney World Resort Hotels closed. But it was confirmed that Cast Members would be paid during the entirety of the closure. However, as time passed, precautionary restrictions have tightened. The two Florida counties in which Walt Disney World resides, Orange and Oceola County, have declared “stay-at-home” orders that extend to April 9, and Disney is not exempt from that.
Now, both Unions praised Walt Disney World and Disneyland for taking care of its beloved Cast Members during this difficult time. However, it was far too close to March 31 for Cast Members to be comfortable not knowing what was waiting for them in April. Both Universal Studios and Legoland have already issued at statements that they will extend the closure of their theme parks through mid-April, in compliance with local ordinances. Disney Parks and Resorts, waited until almost the last minute, announcing the extended closures and cast member compensation near the close of business EDT on Friday, March 27, 2020. But they have yet to give us a day to look forward to.
The Cast Members Union, known as the Service Trades Council Union, represents over 42,000 men and women who help bring the magic to life at Walt Disney World every day.
This is a developing story and Inside the Magic will continue to update its readers on the latest updates regarding the closure of the Walt Disney World Resort due to the precautionary measures being taken to combat the current pandemic.