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Lee’s Daily Blog

Theme Parks: Disney Offers Buy Outs to 600 Managers

by on Jan.25, 2009, under Theme Parks

Although not your standard Theme Park discussion this week, this story did grab my attention in the RSS Feeds.

From the Orlando Sentinel:

The Walt Disney Co. offered buyouts Wednesday to more than 600 executives at its U.S. resorts — including 313 in Orlando — as the company struggles to cut costs amid a worsening recession.

The company planned to hand-deliver buyout packages to 619 executives, each of whom will have until Feb. 6 to decide whether to accept the offer.

Disney warned it will resort to lay offs if too few employees voluntarily walk away.

Disney seems to be trying its hardest to take as minimal impact as possible by targeting its cost saving measures (at least they haven’t gone directly into letting people go), along with trying to keep attendance up such as by cutting hotel rates.

Whilst the cuts are at the higher level, I don’t think it will impact the guest experience we have all come to love at Disney. However, if they have to start laying off staff lower down the chain, it is at that stage I think we risk seeing it influencing the experience we have at the Disney parks.

Disney isn’t the only one look at lay offs though as Universal Orlando laid off about 70 people earlier this week as well. It’s interesting to see a reasonable number difference between the two groups here, although i’d imagine percentage wise they’re a bit more similar. I have a feeling though that this may just be the first round of lay offs, especially if attendance continues to take a downwards turn.

I think it will also continue to have a knock on effect once the economy starts recovering. I can see theme park management deciding against new developments, or keeping them smaller which will probably remain stalled until the economy is well into it’s recovery transition, giving us a phase of slow developments at the end of it all.

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