Furloughed Disney World Workers Could Auto-Enroll in State Unemployment

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Credit: Disney

The Florida state governor just announced this evening that furloughed Walt Disney World Resort employees may soon have the opportunity to be automatically enrolled in Florida state unemployment. Here’s what we know so far.

News Breakdown

  • Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced this evening that he is currently working with theme parks and other large employers who are no longer able to pay their workers.
  • Since Walt Disney World Resort is one of the largest employers in the state, DeSantis says that he is working to get Disney workers — as well as Universal Orlando Resort workers and other employees of large companies in Florida — automatically enrolled to receive unemployment benefits.
  • Disney has furloughed at least 43,000 Disney World workers, so DeSantis’s plan can benefit tens of thousands of people at Disney alone.
  • Just this week, many of those furloughed workers began protesting Florida’s unemployment system. 
Empty Walt Disney World
Source: DailyMail/Getty Images

What the Florida Governor Has to Say

Gov. Ron DeSantis shared more insight into how this auto-enroll program for Florida workers could work.

WKMG News 6 reports that, according to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, the idea would be to contact employers like Disney, Universal, SeaWorld, and other large companies, retrieve the data of the furloughed employees, and input their information into the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s reemployment assistance program. This will supposedly take place in the early morning hours when the site does not get as much traffic, says DeSantis.

“I think it would make sense, I think it would probably be easier for everyone,” DeSantis said on Tuesday.

He continued, “Now, they wouldn’t get any special place in line, whoever has applied is going to go through that way, but I think when you know you’re going to have a massive amount of people from one employer and that’s announced, if you can work with them to get that information and get it through the system, I think that that will probably be better for everyone.”

Food and Beverage in front of Epcot Ball
Credit: Disney

The governor also said there have been “hundreds of thousands of successful submissions” for unemployment claims in the state of Florida.

Walt Disney World Resort workers began protesting Florida’s unemployment system this past week. One woman claims it has “been failing for years.” The workers have been writing messages on their sidewalks and driveways, hanging signs in the windows of their homes, and even writing on their mailboxes in the hopes of catching public attention.

PhotoPass photographer taking family pic
Credit: Disney

At the time of this article’s publication, Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida has furloughed well over 40,000 employees. The Disney Parks in the U.S. are scheduled to be temporarily closed until further notice; an exact reopening date for the parks — and a date when Disney Cast Members can go back to work — has not yet been announced.

We continue to keep Disney and other theme park workers in our thoughts at this time. We know it is everyone at The Walt Disney Company who truly creates magic for Disney guests each and every day that the parks are open. As guests, we can’t wait for the day when Disney can reopen the park gates and welcome us home, and we know that now more than ever Disney workers facing furloughs — those represented by unions and those who are not — are waiting for the time they can return to work at the Most Magical Place on Earth.

This is a developing story that we will update as more information becomes available. 

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