The Hiring Issue Happening Behind the Scenes at Disney World

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.

Cinderella Castle

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.

Disney Skyliner

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.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

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.

Magic Kingdom’s Entrance

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.

First Pitch, Here We Come!

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.  

Cast Member in Disney World

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.

Cast Members

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.

Magic Kingdom

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. 

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5 Replies to “The Hiring Issue Happening Behind the Scenes at Disney World”

  1. Even though I’m 60+ y/o, I consider myself adequately tech savvy and utilize electronic advance ordering quite often. That said, I’m intrigued that Universal is stepping away from mobile ordering and back towards in person transactions. After 40+ family trips exclusively to the Mouse House, things like the NON spontaneous mobile ordering of meals have really taken away a lot of the magic of a Disney vacation. Right now, a Disney trip is just too much pre planning. Book a room, buy park tickets, see if you can get in a park with said tickets while there, hope you can park hop, make dining reservations and/or plan to mobile order your meals in advance, plan to pay an astronomical add on event price if you actually want to get a full day in the park, hope you can get in a virtual queue for a premium ride, consider upgrading to a deluxe resort so you can get to stay in the parks until what used to be a normal closing time while the “commoners” are escorted out of the park, hope there will be a parade or some fireworks, hope some deep pocketed guest doesn’t have the park closed down @ 4:00 for a “private event” and you are left with no where to go after paying for a full price ticket, on and on and on. As my Grandfather used to say, “it’s just too much sugar for a dime”.(I never knew what that meant, but he used it when something was just too much trouble.)

  2. I had a “pleasure” of working for WDW for 4 weeks before I quit. The way they treat their employees right now is simply atrocious. And is all under the presence of “implemented changes due to Covid”. They will put you in to role that you haven’t accepted, they will tell you you are full time and next day take it away because there was a “miscommunication”, they will tell you about your training but forget to let the facilitators know that they have a trainee.
    Disney is hiring CPs like crazy because those kids don’t have a choice. But I did and I quit. That experience was something else and Disney will never be the same for me.

  3. No problem ! Minimum wage workers can get a pay raise. Reduce corporate bonuses and raise ticket prices, add speciality events, charge for rides, let Lyft and rideshares take the blame for misses flights from January 22′ on, and hide behind the new Genie app when things go haywire.

    Hire desperate college students for poverty wages, bring in foreign workers who don’t know they are below the poverty line.

    Oops ! They already rode those pony’s.
    Time to come up with a new schitck, to reimagine working for the cost cutting corporation..

    And use an imaginary labor shortage as the excuse for poor service. A billion dollar industry crying poor, when wages are the issue, are the real reason no one wants to work for the
    Oligarchs at ABC/Disney.

    1. Thank you! It’s so nice to see someone else who is not buying the Disney Kool Aid and drinking it! I’ve been saying it for a few years. Same exact thing. Our trip in 2018 was so disappointing, I just couldn’t bring myself to go through the hassle and hoops any longer. First time in over 19 years we didn’t go to Disney World for a week. Instead we went to a competitor, and we felt like we did in Disney all those many years ago. The freedom to just enjoy was phenomenal! Unfortunately Disney seems to think you need to be tied to a device for your entire vacation, and the produce less of an experience. Unfortunately, people will continue to go, and accept less and less. Me and my family, well, we’ve found there are other places to vacation besides the Mouse House, and with more freedom to enjoy.

    2. SPOT ON! Someone forward this Cheap Chapek, Iger, and the Board….COVID,and the last 7 years will be a case study in how to devalue an iconic brand.