Walt Disney World has made significant staffing changes over the last few months through the suspension of the Disney College Program followed by widespread layoffs. Limited operating capacity at the theme parks, closed resorts and a tightened budget has reduced the need for as many employees.
What does this mean for the future of the Disney College Program?
The bad news is Disney is going to take a long time to recover from this situation. Jobs are being cut beyond seasonal and part-time cast members, and are impacting full-time workers and even entire departments. They’re adopting a leaner workforce that may endure well after things start returning to normal.
The good news is the Disney College Program is extremely beneficial to Disney and will likely return in the future. The program provides a ton of Disney-loving employees to the company at a relatively low cost. Financially, there’s no question the program will return when the timing is right.
Disney’s path forward is a difficult one to forecast. We can all assume things will return to normal in the future, but Disney can’t maintain previous staffing levels until capacity and demand calls for it. Local unions believe it will be quite some time before the program resumes as Disney’s focus will be on finding hours for all of its remaining full-time and part-time cast members.
While we firmly believe the Disney College Program will eventually return, a lot needs to happen before it can.