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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Disney announces layoffs at domestic resorts

This from the "we all knew it was coming" file:

The Orlando Sentinel has an article today about Disney's announcement to eliminate an unannounced number of positions as part of an overall downsizing of the east coast and west coast resort divisions. In short, functions that take place both at WDW and Disneyland may be combined so that one location may handle particular functions for both resorts.

The company pointed to the joint development of Toy Story Mania, which was added to both Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disney's California Adventure. By working on both attractions at the same time, Disney held down development costs.

Disney also said it would create a new "Global Business Development team," which will work to combine existing business and real-estate development functions. This team will be responsible for focusing growth strategies at existing parks-and-resorts businesses and identifying new opportunities around the globe.

My take: Disney is doing all it can to weather the economic downturn. No one likes reducing their staff, but in this climate, you have to do what's necessary to survive. Let's hope that the stimulus plan will actually do what it's supposed to do and stimulate the economy, which can, in turn, get more people to the two U.S.-based resorts and turn things around. At the end of today, Disney stock was still under $18 a share, well down from $35 a share back in May, 2008.

Maybe once the dust settles, some good will come of this shuffle. We can only hope. But as Walt said, we have to "keep moving forward."

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