The Disney Parks have reopened around the globe, and it can seem like many of the effects of the global health crisis have started to abate.
However, that is not necessarily the case for all aspects. Sure, we’re seeing fireworks again, and many of our favorite restaurants are reopening, but the Walt Disney Company is still dealing with its fair share of issues — and some of those do extend to Disney World.
It’s been making national news that there’s a labor shortage in many industries around the country. (According to CNN, it’s a problem internationally). It has been most talked about in the restaurant industry, but the hospitality and tourism industry has been affected as well. According to the Wall Street Journal, U.S. job openings are at a record level heading into this summer. It remains that low-wage work is in high demand, and the supply of workers is low.
Back in May, Disney CEO Bob Chapek denied that labor shortages have affected The Walt Disney Company, stating in the Q2 Earnings Call, “We’ve had about 80 percent of our cast members return that we’ve asked to return,” Chapek said. “We’ve had no problems whatsoever in terms of trying to get our cast to come back and make some magic for our guests.” . However, Disney has been incentivizing hiring as has been the case with many industries that have been affected by the labor shortage.
But let’s take a few steps back to talk about what led to this point. As you might remember, during the park closures Disney World had to furlough and let go many Cast Members. Some of those Cast Members, even those who were furloughed, may have been unable (or opted not) to return when called back. Though Disney isn’t talking about it very much, it’s possible that this has left them with fewer workers than they need as demand surges in the theme parks.
Walt Disney World proper isn’t the only industry affected by this. Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft have a shortage of drivers in Orlando, and we’ve seen similar efforts to recruit workers coming out of the Universal Orlando resort as well.
As a result, Disney World is offering incentives for workers to come on board and stay on board. We spotted a signing bonus for those willing to apply and Universal has even raised their starting pay to $15 an hour for all positions at the resort. These efforts indicate that this labor shortage could be an issue for the Walt Disney Company and other theme parks. Now, does that labor shortage have an effect on guest experience in the theme parks? In some ways, yes.
For instance, it’s possible that the reason Disney World has been unable to open some restaurants and entertainment is due to the fact that they need to find the workers to staff them.
Though this has not been the case in Disney World, Universal Orlando has also opted to discontinue mobile order in many instances. The resort has not made a comment as to why they made this decision, but it’s possible that they did not have the labor to be able to upkeep the volume of mobile orders alongside physical orders. Disney’s comparatively heavier encouragement of mobile order might be helping them to curb this issue.
Disney does, however, seem optimistic about these issues. Extended park hours are supposed to be introduced later this year, and all of the Disney World Resort hotels are set to reopen by the end of 2021.
Of course, the labor shortage is disruptive in a variety of ways inside of Disney World and outside — but it’s not something that the Walt Disney Company is talking about. For now, at least the labor shortage in Disney World is not overly disruptive to the daily guest experience. As always, stay tuned to AllEars for all of the latest Disney World updates and insights.