As Walt Disney World Resort continues to reopen, the mega-resort continues to evolve the health and safety measures in place for its Cast Members. And some of that evolution is coming from requests from the Cast Members themselves.
“To Disney’s credit, they are being very responsive,” said Unite Here Local 362 leader Eric Clinton. “Safety is front and center. Right in your face. It’s really amazing.”
One of the most notable groups represented by Unite Here Local 362 is attraction attendants, and there are two examples of how Walt Disney World continues to be very receptive to its Cast Members.
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According to the Orlando Sentinel, the Safari Guides for Kilimanjaro Safaris in Disney’s Animal Kingdom and the Jungle Cruise Skippers in Magic Kingdom park have both asked to have their own microphones so that they do not have to share with anyone else.
Disney was receptive to their concerns and responded by giving each guide their own microphone coverings and implementing new microphone cleaning procedures. While this is recognized as a step in the right direction, Clinton hopes that Disney will go all the way and provide a microphone to each individual so they do not have to be shared.
Social distancing can also be a problem for ride operating Cast Members ,and Coordinator Jessica Lella also suggested moving the floor markers in front of the ride operator’s console on one attraction–the TriceraTop Spin at Animal Kindom’s DinoLand U.S.A.–from the normal six feet to 10 feet, further helping maintain the physical distancing. Disney obliged.
Understanding ride operators are also in a difficult position where their six-foot bubble is often broken. So, after negotiations, Disney began providing face shields to those Cast Members for extra protection.
Lella also made it clear that Florida’s current humidity levels lead to a complete fog-up of their face masks whenever they go from inside to outside. Considering the exposure their face shields endure, they appealed to Disney and their employers responded by providing sanitation hand wipes.
“It’s nice to feel like we’re doing this together. Disney isn’t going to just tell us what to do. It’s more a team effort,” she said.
But the face shields are not the only issue arising. Clinton also mentioned that Cast Members were finding it hard to breathe using the Disney-issued masks in the hot Central Florida summer.
Disney responded by providing new, lighter, form-fitting masks that help Cast Members breathe easier during the hottest months of the year. Cast Members will also now receive five face masks instead of three.
But Clinton admits that there are still some mixed feelings and concerns in the ranks.
“There is not a one-size-fits-all,” he said. “Some members are excited to be back.”
“What I’ve tried to put myself in the shoes of Disney employees, I would want to know everything is being done to make sure I’m safe and my union is participating in that,” he added. “We’ve accomplished these two things.”
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What do you think about how Disney has met Cast Members’ requests? Let us know in the comments!