Walt Disney World plans to stop paying wages to 43,000 workers in about a week while allowing them to keep their benefits for up to a year in what is the largest wave of furloughs since the theme park resort closed in mid-March because of the new coronavirus spread.Workers will be able to keep their medical, dental and their life insurance benefits for the length of the furlough period, or up to a year. Seniority and wage rates will remain unchanged for the workers whose furloughs start April 19, according to a statement from the Service Trades Council, the coalition of unions representing the Disney World workers.“The union agreement provides stronger protections and benefits for 43,000 union workers at Disney than virtually any other furloughed or laid-off workers in the United States,” the union said in a statement to members.
About 200 workers will remain on the job performing “essential duties” during the closure, and they will be offered positions based on seniority, the union also said.
Being based outside of Disney and having contacts within the company we hear updates commonly before the public but its looking dire for Disney current as whilst they try hard to convince the public they will re open soon we know its not going to be the case.
When Disney World closed in March, it closed in phases. First came the park shutdowns, followed by the closures of the resorts and the Disney Springs shopping and dining area. For several weeks now,Shanghai Disneyland(which was the first of the parks to close), has been in a phased reopening that has started with the resort hotels, shopping and dining areas.We’re betting that when the U.S. Disney parks reopen, everything won’t open simultaneously on the same date. Following the patterns we have already seen, it’s logical to assume Disney Springs and some Disney resort hotels may open in advance of the theme parks themselves.We know that reopening Disney parks and resorts won’t be simple. Stocking up on supplies ranging from turkey legs to Coke to toilet paper; getting the rides back in action; bringing back staff members; and instituting training for new procedures won’t happen overnight, even once things do get rolling. To contextualize the scale of what’s happened, Disney has suspended its current college program, culture representative program (for Epcot) and reportedly told the June arrivals to not travel to Orlando.
The aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001 brought us bag checks at the Disney Parks, a security measure that remains in effect today.
Bob Iger recently said just as we now do bag checks for everybody that goes into our parks, it could be that, at some point, we add a component of that that takes people’s temperatures ….”While it will be a major change that will slow down entry to the parks, it wouldn’t be impossible for Disney to pull off, as it’s already being utilized at the portions of the Shanghai Disney Resort that have reopened. Touchless temperature checks were also being done on passengers boarding a Disney Cruise in the weeks before those were suspended in March.
In fact, at Disneyland, while photos are on file to cut down on fraudulent ticket use, fingerprints are not utilized. While fingerprints are useful at Disney, my money is on either an elimination of that literal touchpoint to enter the Florida Disney parks or an easier way to opt-out.
In Shanghai, guests at the reopened Disney shopping, dining and hotel areas must wear a mask during the entirety of their visit (except when dining) — in addition to social distancing. The cast members at that resort also wear masks. Now, masks have a longer history of acceptance in many Asian countries than in the U.S., so will masks be required at the U.S. parks? I’m not sure. And let’s not forget that it’s already 100 degrees and humid at Disney World in the summer.
As the country develops a deeper understanding of the coronavirus and as people everywhere are encouraged to wear personal protective equipment, it’s not impossible to believe that masks could have a permanent role at the U.S. Disney parks — especially if that helps the parks reopen sooner.
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