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Disney Parks Are Laying Off 28,000 Employees Amid Pandemic

Disney is announcing some major decisions.

The Walt Disney Company revealed that 28,000 employees from the Parks, Experiences and Products segment “at all levels” will be laid off, THR reported Tuesday (September 29).

The company is placing the blame for the decision on California not allowing Disneyland to reopen at this time amid the pandemic.

“In light of the prolonged impact of COVID-19 on our business, including limited capacity due to physical distancing requirements and the continued uncertainty regarding the duration of the pandemic – exacerbated in California by the State’s unwillingness to lift restrictions that would allow Disneyland to reopen – we have made the very difficult decision to begin the process of reducing our workforce at our Parks, Experiences and Products segment at all levels, having kept non-working Cast Members on furlough since April, while paying healthcare benefits,” the statement reads.

“Approximately 28,000 domestic employees will be affected, of which about 67% are part-time. We are talking with impacted employees as well as to the unions on next steps for union-represented Cast Members. Over the past several months, we’ve been forced to make a number of necessary adjustments to our business, and as difficult as this decision is today, we believe that the steps we are taking will enable us to emerge a more effective and efficient operation when we return to normal. Our Cast Members have always been key to our success, playing a valued and important role in delivering a world-class experience, and we look forward to providing opportunities where we can for them to return.”

Meanwhile, Disney World is planning to reopen a water park in 2021.

Disney World Is Planning to Reopen One Water Park in March 2021 Amid Pandemic

Walt Disney World is revealing their reopening plans amid the pandemic.

The Orlando resort is plotting to reopen one of its two water parks – Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon – in March of 2021, according to an update on the “Know Before You Go” page on the company’s website.

“While Disney’s Blizzard Beach water park and Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon water park remain closed at this time, pending government approvals, we currently plan to reopen one of the two Disney water parks on March 7, 2021,” the statement reads.

It is not yet known which of the parks will get to reopen at that time.

“We will provide more details on our phased reopening plan, including a decision on the specific water park that will be reopening first, at a later time. This reopening date may change and if it does, we will let Guests know what to expect in a future update,” the statement continues, adding that they plan to “welcome back Guests and Cast Members to our water parks in a responsible way,” with a plan “focused on health and well-being.”

Back in August, Walt Disney World made some changes to their theme park hours.\

Walt Disney World Will Reduce Theme Park Hours

Walt Disney World is making some more changes to the theme park after re-opening just a month ago.

The Orlando, Florida based amusement park announced today that their hours will be changing, starting in September.

Both The Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios will cut back an hour of operation, and Epcot is cutting back by two hours. Meanwhile, Animal Kingdom is losing an hour in the morning and an hour at the end of the day.

The park has experienced low attendance since re-opening due to the coronavirus pandemic. After re-opening, many safety protocols were put into place including visitors ages two and older required to wear a face mask at all times, except for when eating or drinking.

Other changes included requiring visitors to make reservations for each park and reducing capacity on rides

See below for the new hours:

  • Magic Kingdom: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Epcot: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Hollywood Studios: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Animal Kingdom: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Recently, the park also announced that three rides will be closing permanently.

Disney World Reopens in Florida While Coronavirus Cases Rise - See Photos

Disney World has reopened in Florida after being shut down for nearly four months during the coronavirus pandemic.

Walt Disney World Resort’s Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom are now open again for guests, even though Florida has had a recent surge in COVID-19 infections. The other parks open on Wednesday.

On Friday, one day before the reopening, Florida reported 11,433 new cases of COVID-19 and 435 more hospitalizations, which marks the state’s largest single-day rise in hospitalizations.

The thousands of people who are going to Disney World are required to have a temperature checks and bag searches are being limited to minimize contact between guests and employees. Almost all of the shows that are normally performed are suspended and character meet-and-greets have been stopped.

Face coverings are required for all guests (ages 2 and up) and all employees are required to wear them as well.

20+ pictures inside from inside Disney World on reopening day… More Here! »

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Disney Is Turning Splash Mountain Into a 'Princess & The Frog' Themed Ride!

The petition to get Disney Parks to rebrand the Splash Mountain ride worked!

The company just announced that Disneyland and Disney World’s rides will be now be themed around The Princess and the Frog, the studio’s only movie with a Black princess.

The ride, which debuted in 1989 at Disneyland, and is also featured at Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland, currently pays homage to one of Disney’s racist movies, Song of the South. Disney has been distancing itself from Song of the South for quite some time and the movie is not available on Disney+ at all.

Now, the ride is going to be completed different!

“Today we are thrilled to share a first glimpse of a project Imagineers have been working on since last year. Splash Mountain – at both Disneyland park in California and Magic Kingdom park in Florida – will soon be completely reimagined,” Disney Parks said on their blog. “The theme is inspired by an all-time favorite animated Disney film, “The Princess and the Frog.” We pick up this story after the final kiss, and join Princess Tiana and Louis on a musical adventure – featuring some of the powerful music from the film – as they prepare for their first-ever Mardi Gras performance.”

“Tiana is a modern, courageous, and empowered woman, who pursues her dreams and never loses sight of what’s really important. It’s a great story with a strong lead character, set against the backdrop of New Orleans and the Louisiana bayou. In 1966, Walt himself opened New Orleans Square when it became the first new ‘land’ added to Disneyland park, so it feels natural to link the story and the incredible music of The Princess and the Frog to our parks,” they added.

Voice of Tiana, Anika Noni Rose, shared her reaction to the exciting news.

“It is really exciting to know that Princess Tiana’s presence in both Disneyland and Magic Kingdom will finally be fully realized! As passionate as I am about what we created, I know the fans are going to be over the moon. The Imagineers are giving us The Princess and the Frog Mardi Gras celebration we’ve been waiting for, and I’m here for it!” she said.

Disney also just announced that Disneyland’s planned phased reopening may be pushed back from it’s original July 17th date.

Fans Are Petitioning To Get Disney Parks To Rebrand Splash Mountain

Splash Mountain is one of Disney World‘s most popular rides, and it also pays homage to one of Disney’s racist movies, Song of the South.

The ride, which debuted in 1989 at Disneyland, and is also featured at Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland, and fans are calling for Disney to re-brand it.

According to People, Disney has been distancing itself from Song of the South for quite some time and the movie is not available on Disney+ at all.

“I’ve felt as long as I’ve been CEO that Song of the South — even with a disclaimer — was just not appropriate in today’s world,” CEO Bob Iger shared about the decision not to feature it. “It’s just hard, given the depictions in some of those films, to bring them out today without in some form or another offending people, so we’ve decided not to do that.”

One petition calls for the ride to be a tribute to its only Black princess, Tiana, from The Princess and The Frog.

Signed by over 20,000 people, the petition reads that “while the ride is considered a beloved classic, its history and storyline are steeped in extremely problematic and stereotypical racist tropes from the 1946 film Song of the South. There is a huge need for diversity in the parks and this could help fill that need.”

It continues, “Princess and the Frog is a beloved princess movie but has very little representation in the parks.”

A second petition has 6,000 signatures and counting.

If you didn’t see, Barbra Streisand just gifted Disney stock to someone really special.

Disney World Sets July Reopening Date

Disney World is planning to begin opening back up their parks as soon as mid-July.

The plan right now sees a July 11 reopening date for its Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom parks and a July 15 reopening date for EPCOT and Hollywood Studios.

The new guidelines for entry into the park would require temperature checks upon entering and face coverings. They will operate at a reduced capacity with no parades, fireworks, or events that create crowds. The resort will also put hand sanitizing stations in place and will go ahead with contactless payments, CNN reports.

This is a departure from a previous report that indicated that the parks might not open for quite some time.

Stay tuned as we learn more about this.