It’s been a long week as I’ve impatiently waited to hear from each of my friends to see if they are losing their jobs at The Walt Disney Company in the second round of approximately 4000 layoffs. I’ve had trouble sleeping, my anxiety has spiked, my stomach is in knots, and it’s hard to think about anything else. All this, and it isn’t even my job. I can’t imagine how you all feel, hearing this news of 7000 jobs being cut earlier in the year and then waiting months, over three separate rounds, to see if your career will be cut short.
So far, each of my friends has found themselves on the safe side of the decisions, keeping their positions within the company, though even that seems to come with a cost. As I speak to each of you, feelings of insecurity come up frequently, some even mentioning a sense of guilt as they watch their co-workers and friends be handed the news that the path they have devoted their lives to has come to an end. Yesterday was that question mark day for a dear friend of mine. I knew it was coming to their department and could only hope that I would wake up to the news that they were safe, whatever that is supposed to feel like at the moment. I was so relieved to hear that they were in the clear for the moment, but it gave me pause to think about all those less fortunate that day.
When we think of the magic of Disney, we often associate that with the beautiful cast members, we see on the front lines in the parks, the ones that act as the face of our experiences and make a direct emotional impact on our time spent there. Though the truth is, that isn’t where the magic ends. Thousands of people are working hard behind the scenes to ensure everything is operating smoothly and efficiently. In some ways, their contribution is even more magical as it needs to be seen to be believed. Sadly, these are the people being targeted in the most recent round of layoffs, and while I understand why this is happening, I have a few words to say to you directly and wanted to take this opportunity.
Thank you. Thank you for brightening our experiences without us even knowing you are there. Thank you for your passion and dedication to making sure that the parks remain in peak condition without even a nod of appreciation from those of us enjoying them. Thank you to the teams of people behind product design and launches that bring us celebration items and limited edition goodies. Thank you to the chefs and culinary creators who lend their talents to everything from everyday restaurants to specialty items that make those special events incredible. To the marketing teams who consistently find just the right ways to pull at our heartstrings and reignite that tingling in our hearts for any product, film, or park advertisement, thank you. To the creatives, the Imagineers, musicians, choreographers, writers, producers, directors, animators, designers, and everyone in between, I wish there were better words than this, but in their absence, I offer you the most sincere thank you.
I’m sorry that those who are left are facing residual uncertainty in their positions, and I am so saddened that those of you who are seeing the end of a ten or fifteen-year career are being forced to face a different future than the one you had been working toward. All we can do now is express our gratitude for your work.
To each of you packing up a desk and saying goodbye to colleagues, I hope the future is brighter for you than it might seem right now and that each of you goes on to a rewarding and exciting next step. Your efforts have not gone unseen; your contribution is not unnoticed. Thank you for your passion and commitment to our enjoyment.
Zoë Wood is a travel writer from Sydney, Australia. Since her first visit to Disneyland at the age of 6, she has spent her years frequently visiting Disney Parks and traveling around the world.
Join Zoë as she lets you in on all the tips, tricks, anecdotes, and embarrassments that arise from her family adventures.