Disney issues statement on entertainment at Walt Disney World

Oct 30, 2020 in "Magic Kingdom"

Posted: Friday October 30, 2020 12:59pm ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

Following this week's layoffs that have decimated the Walt Disney World entertainment department, Disney has released a statement to update fans.

From Bettina Buckley, Vice President, Walt Disney World Resort Live Entertainment:

Walt Disney World Resort offers a treasure trove of experiences for guests of all ages. We recognize that part of the magic of visiting any Disney park is seeing favorite Disney friends and discovering one-of-a-kind shows and performances. Since reopening, we’ve continued to offer modified character experiences and entertainment throughout our resort, while also taking the appropriate steps for the health and safety of our guests and cast members.

Recently, we’ve had to make some difficult decisions to reduce our workforce as the business impacts from the Covid-19 pandemic have become more long-lasting than anyone could have predicted. As a result, we’ve had to pause many live shows and entertainment experiences at our resort for longer than originally anticipated.

While it’s impossible at this time to fully replace the incredible entertainment that existed throughout our parks before the pandemic, we are offering live entertainment in new ways wherever possible, including character cavalcades in all four parks and pop-up appearances, like discovering Joy from “Inside Out” frolicking on the lawn near the Imagination! pavilion in EPCOT. Additionally, we’re featuring modified shows such as the popular “For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and live musical performances like the Main Street Philharmonic in Magic Kingdom or the Discovery Island Drummers at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. This extends to our seasonal offerings, with Halloween underway and the holidays right around the corner. In fact, the fan-favorite Voices of Liberty are set to make their return and join the JAMMitors and Mariachi Cobre at the American Gardens Theatre during the upcoming Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays, beginning on Nov. 27.

Determining which shows can return and when is a complex process. As with the rest of our phased reopening, we will also consider the guidance of health officials and government agencies in determining when the time will be right to adjust capacity, and as soon as it is appropriate, we will start to bring additional entertainment back.

Like most of our fans, we know that our beloved entertainment cast are an incredibly special and essential part of the Disney experience. We look forward to the day when we can welcome back more live entertainment to our parks, and we will share more news about these announcements as we’re able to do so.

Discuss on the Forums
View all comments →

Vegas Disney FanJan 19, 2021

It‘s a big people eater though, I’ve only seen it a half dozen times but the stands always seem to be at least 2/3 full. Outdated or not it still pulls in bodies.

UNCgolfJan 19, 2021

Me too. I don't think the current version is any better (not saying it's worse) than what existed in the late 1990s, and the park no longer has the consistent theme it once had.

TrainChasersJan 19, 2021

Yeah the only reason I remember is because the COH made such a big deal about it haha. I would have loved to visit the park back then! I went right after tower of terror opened so I still got to see the animation tour, the full backlot tour and the monster sound show. I miss the old studios :(

techgeekJan 19, 2021

I stand corrected... Missed it by a few months. Hard to believe the park opened with so little! The first time I went was probably that September or October, so Indy was there 'at the beginning' for me.

TrainChasersJan 19, 2021

Actually... that’s Citizens of Hollywood. Indy is not an opening day attraction. That was pointed out during a Citizens of Hollywood show on the 30th Anniversary of the park.

techgeekJan 19, 2021

The rumors around Indy go back almost the whole way back to its opening.... and it’s the only opening day Studios attraction left.

ThelazerJan 19, 2021

Indy was outdated, rumors of a re-do have been going on for years. Cost a ton of money to run also. I would not expect that show to return.

NelleBelleJan 19, 2021

Hopefully disney recognizes that they need a couple shows at HS to pull people out of those lines. Without Indy and BatB (eesh, that poor show), there's not a whole lot of options to sit for a while and get off your feet. I can't imagine that park once park restrictions are lifted and "regular" crowd attendance is back to "normal"--it may be one of the parks we opt to avoid just due to the crowds if something isn't done.

WondersOfLifeJan 18, 2021

I doubt Indiana Jones was raking in people to go to that specific park, too. But I'd be willing to bet Lion King & Nemo (both together) at AK were.

doctornickJan 18, 2021

Oh I definitely agree that streetmosphere stuff is going to be cut - though I think we'll have some return when the parks are at more normal guest capacity - I'm just hoping we don't see the end of larger scale productions that really have help make WDW a complete destination. I do fear for DHS is the shows don't return. Way too much of that park's capacity if concentration on shows and it won't be able to handle any sort of crowds without them (it kinda couldn't handle crowds already with what it has had).

Vegas Disney FanJan 18, 2021

I’m not an insider but my guess is the big name attractions (Lion King, Indiana Jones, Finding Nemo, etc) and shows that are direct revenue generators (Hoop de doo, Spirit of Aloha, etc) will be back, I worry about the less visible acts though (Epcot performers, HS streetmosphere, etc), the average guest will notice a huge empty building but only those in the know will miss a street show. That makes them easy targets for cost cutting.

lazyboy97oJan 18, 2021

No, they cannot. Florida prohibits mandatory union membership but Equity still represents those roles.

UNCgolfJan 18, 2021

That's hard to quantify, though. There's no way to know a person is only going to Hollywood Studios for the Indiana Jones stunt show unless they answer a survey question about it. The only real way they'd notice is if a park suffered a sudden drop in attendance right after closing a specific show. Demand seems high enough that that isn't going to happen -- they'll just replace those guests with others who don't care about the show.

Jrb1979Jan 18, 2021

They could bring back to shows buy without the equity actors and use regular CM's. It saves in cost of the show.