Layoffs at Disney World in Orlando, Florida

April 4, 2009 · Print This Article · Email This Post

Cinderella's Castle at Disney World in Orlando, FloridaNever-Never Land has suffered a brush with reality, with the Walt Disney World Co. confirming today that 1,900 jobs have been lost at its theme parks: Disney World near Orlando, Florida and Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Over the last several weeks, Florida took the biggest hit, with 1,400 jobs lost in administrative, managerial and professional positions. There’s no timetable for when the Florida layoffs will end. Disney is Central Florida’s largest employer, with about 62,000 employees. The cuts began on February 18 — the day Disney announced it would consolidate back-office functions between its two theme parks — and included 900 layoffs and buyouts and the elimination of 500 open job positions in Florida. While Walt Disney World has an annual revenue of about $500 billion, Walt Disney World spokesman Mike Griffin said: “These decisions are not made lightly, but are essential to maintaining our leadership in family tourism and reflect today’s economic realities.”

Enclave Suites in Orlando, FloridaThe Orlando travel industry is reeling in the wake of high gas prices and the recession. In February, air traffic at Orlando International Airport was down 11 percent and Orange County’s resort tax collections were down 29 percent. Tourism in Central Florida relies heavily on business during the first four months of the year for a large portion of its annual revenue. Rich Maladecki, president of the Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association, said: “You can’t underestimate the importance of the first months of the year to the Orlando destination.” According to STR Global, a travel industry agency which tracks hotel performance globally, Orlando hotel occupancy rates in the last week of March were down 26 percent — the largest decline in the nation. STR also reported that revenue per available room — a key measure of hotel financial health — was $68.15 in Orlando, a steep drop of 35.4 percent.

Disgraced Ex-Illinois Governor Rod BlagojevichIronically, at least one area motel room was occupied — by disgraced former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, who told WESH 2 TV on Thursday that he was “enjoying Disney World with my kids.” Blagojevich was booked at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa, where rooms rent for $300 a night in a setting described as an “equestrian-themed Victorian-style villa resort.” Hours later, a 16-count federal indictment again Blagojevich was handed down. The indictment charges the former governor with extortion, fraud and racketeering. Enjoy your stay in fantasy land, Mr. Blagojevich. Your accommodations are likely to decline in quality over the course of time.

Read more business news.

Photo credit: Scott Olson / Getty Images

Copyright © 2009


Comments are closed.