Former CM Speaks Out – ‘These People are the Creative Heart & Soul of This Company’

in Walt Disney World

cast member

Credit: Logan Benedict

The recent wave of layoff news has hit home for so many. It looks as though the entertainment industry was hit hard in the recent wave of email notices as many performers announced they were let go from the company.

From The Festival of The Lion King and Finding Nemo The Musical at Disney’s Animal Kingdom to the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue at Fort Wilderness Resort, to even the Move It! Shake It! MousekDance It! Street Party and Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire at Magic Kingdom — So many performers have been let go from The Walt Disney Company due to the pandemic.

Now, one performer, who was known for playing Gaston in the Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage in Disney’s Hollywood Studios has taken to social media to voice his concerns about the layoffs.

Related: ‘It’s Gutting’: Laid-Off Disney World Performer Speaks Out

gaston cast member
Credit: Logan Benedict

“Love, gratitude and hope. That’s what I’ll be holding onto,” Logan Benedict said in his Instagram post. “Like hundreds of my entertainment friends (and thousands of my fellow cast members) I also received my separation notice from Disney this week. It’s difficult for me to be angry, since it’s hard to promote live entertainment during a pandemic, but I will be clear that it is absolutely essential that we prioritize arts workers during Our Nation’s recovery plan.”

He continued by explaining how long he was part of the company for and how many people he was able to meet over those years. “I’ve performed in over 4000 shows at Disney for millions of guests. Literally *millions* of live humans coming together for a shared experience,” he wrote. “Disney World is a unique theatre experience because it reaches so many folks who would never normally attend traditional theatre, and it INSPIRES young people to start their own artistic journey and CREATES magic for guests who always wanted to see their favorite Disney films LIVE on-stage. Doing the same show 4000 times sounds repetitive and stress inducing for some performers, but that audience is absolutely electric at the end of every.single.show. It was an honor and a blessing to experience that connection every single time.”

Benedict explained that in order to get that immersive feeling, to get the Disney magic, Guests need these live shows. “But that’s the thing- we NEED that connection,” he said. “It is an integral part of our human experience. Watching a show on Disney+ or Netflix is one thing, but sitting in a chair and cheering for your favorite princess, or booing that selfish, egotistical (but ruggedly handsome) villain IN PERSON is a moment you may remember for a lifetime… and it’s something you can share with your family, and all the individuals, couples, and families around you. There is absolutely nothing like it.”

Related: Former Disney Cast Member Speaks out on Recent Layoffs

cast member
Credit: Logan Benedict

Benedict then ended his post with how Guests can reach out to The Walt Disney Company to voice their opinions and concerns as well. “To The Disney Company, I say this,” he wrote. “Thousands of entertainment cast members have been let go. Entire teams of Imagineers have been given their notice. These people are the creative heart and soul of this company and Disney will not *be* Disney without them. Without a heart… the body is just an empty shell. If live entertainment has been an integral part of your Disney experience, I encourage you to send a short message to: wdw.guest.communications@disneyworld.com or guest.experience.services@disneyworld.com.”

He concluded with, “I hope we’ll share another magical experience together again. ??❤️??”

Related: After Working at Disneyland for Nearly 40 Years, This CM Was Laid Off

You can see the full Instagram post here:

View this post on Instagram

Love, gratitude and hope. That’s what I’ll be holding onto. Like hundreds of my entertainment friends (and thousands of my fellow cast members) I also received my separation notice from Disney this week. It’s difficult for me to be angry, since it’s hard to promote live entertainment during a pandemic, but I will be clear that it is absolutely essential that we prioritize arts workers during Our Nation’s recovery plan. I’ve performed in over 4000 shows at Disney for millions of guests. Literally *millions* of live humans coming together for a shared experience. Disney World is a unique theatre experience because it reaches so many folks who would never normally attend traditional theatre, and it INSPIRES young people to start their own artistic journey and CREATES magic for guests who always wanted to see their favorite Disney films LIVE on-stage. Doing the same show 4000 times sounds repetitive and stress inducing for some performers, but that audience is absolutely electric at the end of every.single.show. It was an honor and a blessing to experience that connection every single time. But that’s the thing- we NEED that connection. It is an integral part of our human experience. Watching a show on Disney+ or Netflix is one thing, but sitting in a chair and cheering for your favorite princess, or booing that selfish, egotistical (but ruggedly handsome) villain IN PERSON is a moment you may remember for a lifetime… and it’s something you can share with your family, and all the individuals, couples, and families around you. There is absolutely nothing like it. To The Disney Company, I say this: Thousands of entertainment cast members have been let go. Entire teams of Imagineers have been given their notice. These people are the creative heart and soul of this company and Disney will not *be* Disney without them. Without a heart… the body is just an empty shell. If live entertainment has been an integral part of your Disney experience, I encourage you to send a short message to: wdw.guest.communications@disneyworld.com or guest.experience.services@disneyworld.com I hope we’ll share another magical experience together again. ??❤️??

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Our thoughts are with all of those Cast Members who are being affected by this wave of layoffs. If you are looking for ways to help these Cast Members, check out our resource article here.

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