PHOTOS - Construction on some new projects comes to a halt at Walt Disney World

Mar 19, 2020 in "Tron Lightcyle Run rollercoaster"

TRON Lightcycle Run construction site - March 18 2020
Posted: Thursday March 19, 2020 11:44am ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

Construction at Walt Disney World is being impacted by coronavirus, with several of the high profile projects coming to a halt this week.

Contractors working on the projects are following guidance on reducing large gatherings, which means the typical construction site teams which often involve hundreds of workers on-site are no longer viable.

At the Magic Kingdom, the usually busy TRON LightCycle Run site (pictured above) is at a standstill, and work seems to have also halted on the Cinderella Castle repainting project.

Some work has been taking place at EPCOT this week, although it is likely the numerous projects there will also be halted.

Smaller projects, such as the removal earlier this week of the former Disney's Hollywood Studios entrance appear to be continuing.

With the parks being empty of guests it would seem that now is an ideal time to make rapid progress on projects ahead of the park's reopening, but with limits on construction crew sizing, it seems this may not be possible.

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MagicRatApr 05, 2020

As someone who owns a commercial construction company in Missouri, it is frustrating for me that my state is calling construction essential. The reason that construction is considered essential is to keep the infrastructure the public uses running. All I do is government work. I guarantee you the mothers nursing area I am building in one government office is not not essential, nor the lawyers administrative office I am building at a City Hall. This is the same for painting Cinderella’s castle or the earthwork for revamping Epcot. It is hard on the government but stricter guidelines need to be established across the board and businesses need to toughen up and realize that just because you can get away with working right now, you shouldn’t. Lets try to get this stopped and then go to work.

The MomApr 05, 2020

This thread is about the effect Covid-19 is having on construction at WDW - specifically. It is not a general Covid-19 discussion.

_calebApr 02, 2020

Thanks. This helps me understand a bit better how things work.

lazyboy97oApr 02, 2020

If it something physical then the design is at a minimum approved by Walt Disney Imagineering. Even landscaping projects can and do require a licensed designer to be involved. Changes to how the parks operate are the responsibility of Operations. The idea of radically redesigning the parks does not seem like something that is going to happen. That is something far beyond what is being discussed now, would have to happen everywhere and that sort of knowledge isn't going to be found at Disney.

_calebApr 02, 2020

Thanks, I am well aware that WDI doesn’t do construction. My question as whether Disney might now be asking WDI to come up with new, lesser projects to cover up for all the paused/cancelled projects. If they do cancel, say, the Moana water garden project at Epcot, do they turn to WDI and say, “design something cheap, fast, and easy?” Or would they just hire a contractor to come in and do some landscaping in that spot? I’m also aware of Imagineers going elsewhere, but I’m thinking this pandemic may have a profound enough effect on the industry that it might turn the tables on how WDI relates to the company. I think we’re moving into an era where Disney will need to completely rethink their theme park business. It seems their best move in a time like this would be to get WDI to Imagineer a new future for the parks in the post-COVID era.

KamikazeApr 01, 2020

Furloughed is the move they would make in almost all cases. Especially for positions that require any amount of specific training. Its not like those positions won't be needed back, its just a matter of when. I can't see a real 'mass' firings unless they think its going to be more towards the fall than the summer when the parks reopen. They are definitely crunching the numbers on a day by day basis as to the amount that they would get from the govt loans/payback/etc vs what they would save by just furloughing the CMs. And with more govt assistance definitely needed if this goes further than April, I think everyone at TWDC and in general is going to have to take things two weeks at a time.

lazyboy97oApr 01, 2020

Walt Disney Imagineering does not do construction. Certain specialties might be installed by them, but its not really their line of work. Walt Disney Imagineering is a project-based employer, they don’t just keep people around and what happens to staff depends on the project(s) to which they are assigned. If projects are completely paused/cancelled (not just construction) then much of that design team is at risk of being let go, especially since there are likely no other projects starting for them to join. The issue of Imagineers going elsewhere is a ship that sailed over the horizon decades ago.

_calebApr 01, 2020

Anyone know how Imagineering might be affected by construction stopping and budget cuts? These construction projects have mostly been designed and "imagineered." Does the company look to WDI at a time like this and say, "Think up something we can do to resume operations with distancing protocols" or "dream up an overlay that makes it look like we still followed through with at least some of what we announced but without spending any money?" Or do they say, "We don't need Imagineers right now?" It seems to me that the latter would be more dangerous to the company long-term, as hungry Imagineers would have lots of incentive to spin up new pursuits outside Disney. If Disney doesn't use them, could they could lose them?

_calebApr 01, 2020

Right. Is there any indication some might be "furloughed" vs. "released to pursue other opportunities?" If they lay off, say, 50% of their daily operational labor, I could see that being an indicator that they're trying to come up with a mid-term plan. If Disney lays off the majority of the employees needed for even low-capacity operations, we'll know that reopening is a long time off.

celluloidApr 01, 2020

Yes. That was the point. No mistake about it.

peter11435Apr 01, 2020

Well when your employeer is effectively out of business for the foreseeable future and bringing in no revenue you shouldn’t consider yourself safe.

celluloidApr 01, 2020

That was my point. No one is safe from past that point, that was the is a reason a seperate one came out for salaried as well.

peter11435Apr 01, 2020

It says the same thing for hourly cast. There’s no guarantee anyone is getting paid after April 19th

celluloidApr 01, 2020

Auto finished mistake. It was meant to be "considered". The source there is Disney, where it specifically says salaried will continue to receive wages until April 19nth. No other reason to post that specifically different from just Cast Members like the other one unless it was at least being considered otherwise at least taking a salary cut.