When The Walt Disney Company announced it would be laying off 28,000 Cast Members at both Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California and Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, the news shook the Disney community to its core.
Related: Holiday Gift Guide: Support Disney Cast Members’ Small Businesses
For many Disney Parks Guests, Cast Members are the magic of Disney Resorts, so the news of these layoffs — which most recently impacted nearly all of the entertainment Cast Members at Disney World — was devastating.
To break down precisely how many Cast Members were impacted at each U.S. Disney theme park:
- Disneyland Resort – about 10,000 Cast Members (of about 30,000 total)
- Disney World Resort – about 18,000 Cast Members (of about 80,000 total)
- Disney Parks Resorts Overall – about 28,000 (of about 110,000)
Amid these truly unfortunate circumstances, however, there is some positive news for those Cast Members who have received layoff notices. Here, we provide details about aid that is currently available in both Florida and California.
Aid For Laid-Off Disney World Cast Members
The Cast Member Food Pantry
The Orlando-based Cast Member Food Pantry has existed since spring with the mission of helping furloughed — and now laid-off — Walt Disney World Resort Cast Members during these trying times.
These details have been provided on Facebook:
Are you or a fellow cast member you know in need of groceries during this difficult time?
Cast Member Pantry makes it quick and easy to receive free food essentials once a month per Cast Member. You’ll receive a reusable grocery bag filled with foods that are easily put together to make meals for 4, with breakfast and snack options as well. We take pride in putting food we all enjoy in our bags because we believe our Cast deserve the very best, and a little comfort too.How? Make an appointment today by emailing email@example.com and filling out the survey in the automatic reply. You’ll then receive an email with a day and time for pickup.We handout groceries every Saturday, but remember appointments are required so we know how many bags to have on hand.
Visit the Florida chapter of the Cast Member Food Pantry on Facebook.
The City of Orlando/Orange County, FL
CARES Act Funding
Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings extended CARES Act relief funding to assist those — including Disney World Cast Members and their families — who have been laid-off as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. It is important to note that certain eligibility requirements must be met in order to be eligible for this Florida aid program.
Additional details can be found in this recent Spectrum News 13 article, which quotes Mayor Demings as saying:
“We are leveraging those dollars, we have dollars we are making available for retraining through various organizations such as Career Source of Central Florida,” he said.
Demings said that while someone is retraining for another job they can get help with childcare and other needs as well.
The county is also offering another round of CARES Act dollars for individual and family assistance totaling $30 million.
Using that money, officials hope to help around 30,000 Orange County families.
“We’re wrapping our arms around our community to hopefully fill the gap between now and when they can gain employment,” Demings said.
Career Source of Central Florida
The Career Source of Central Florida offers support for job seekers in Orange County and the surrounding region.
Their website features these details about unemployment assistance amid COVID-19:
We are here to help you find employment and provide helpful resources. Although we are not the unemployment office, we are providing support to the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO).
Visit Career Source online to learn more about coronavirus support options.
Aid For Laid-Off Disneyland Cast Members
The Cast Member Food Pantry
Thanks to the success of the Florida Cast Member Food Pantry, a West Coast chapter has recently been founded.
The food pantry has already caught the attention of Disney stars, with Josh Gad — Olaf in Frozen and LeFou in the live-action Beauty and the Beast — donating almost immediately after the California Cast Member Food Pantry was announced.
For Disneyland Resort Cast Member Fast Pass sign-up, visit this online form to get started.
Related: Disney Cast Member Starts GoFundMe for Laid Off Employees
State of California
The state of California has provided several pages where Californians can learn about COVID-19 assistance page. There are numerous links and resources available for laid-off Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Cast Members who are eligible for government aid.
Visit California For All’s COVID-19 page for help with unemployment insurance and other state programs.
Visit the California Employment Development Department to learn more about federal CARES Act provisions.
Orange County — where Anaheim and Disneyland Resort are located — has numerous sources for free groceries for those in need. If you are a laid-off Cast Member who has been struggling to put food on the table, don’t hesitate to utilize these local resources!
Visit FreeFood.org to discover where you can get help with groceries in Orange County, CA.
No matter where you live, if you’re a unionized Cast Member who was laid-off, your union is likely to be able to assist you. Local 50 in California, for example, has previously hosted pop-up food banks for members who were part of Disney’s furloughs and layoffs.
Ear For Each Other
The Ear For Each Other Facebook page is designed to help laid-off Disney Cast Members find part-time work, specifically using their Disney Parks skills.
Costume department Cast Members, for example, designed and sewed Halloween costumes, while some culinary Cast Members have been baking treats for special occasions.
This is an amazing platform for Cast Members who are looking for supplementary income until they get recalled to their Disney Parks jobs or find other employment.
Visit Ear For Each Other Facebook group page to join and start connecting with other CMs!
We will continue to update this page with additional Disney Cast Member aid resources as they become available, so bookmark it and check back often.
The ITM team, as always, sends our best to every Cast Member impacted by Disney’s layoffs! Thank you for the magic you make.