Recently Disney announced that, due to the economic situation in the division that handles Parks, Experiences, and Products, 29,000 layoffs would be necessary. However, not all those layoffs took place at once, and the most recent round hits Walt Disney's World's entertainment options quite hard, as now many cast members who performed in the various live-show attractions throughout the parks have been let go, leaving fans to wonder when, or if, we'll ever see some of these shows again.
The layoffs have hit a number of popular attractions like Finding Nemo: The Musical and The Festival of the Lion King at Disney's Animal Kingdom and the classic Hoop-Dee-Do Revue at Magic Kingdom. In a statement, the Actors Equity Association, the Union that represents, performers at Walt Disney World, said that 720 members of the union were part of this cast member cut. While it's unclear how those layoffs are impacting each show, the Orlando Sentinel is reporting that Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor at Magic Kingdom, and Beauty and the Beast - Live on Stage and Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, both at Disney's Hollywood Studios, have had their entire casts and crews laid off, meaning that these shows are effectively dead.
Nearly all of the live shows that use actors have been closed at Walt Disney World, even since the parks themselves and other attractions have reopened. Certainly, this makes it clear that there is no expectation that any of these shows will be reopening soon. And one has to wonder if the shows that have been entirely cleaned out will ever perform again. It's possible all of them could end up simply being replaced with something new at whatever point in the future such shows start up again. .
In the case of something like the Indiana Jones stunt show, that's perhaps not too shocking, that particular show has been around since the early days of Hollywood Studios and its demise has been rumored more than once already. But if there were no specific plans to begin work on a replacement yet, it could just end up an empty unused space for months or even years to come. This is especially true as any future replacements will have to be devised after Walt Disney Imagineering saw a batch of layoffs of their own. And under normal circumstances, the performers in a closed show would likely have the ability to find a role in whatever came in to replace it, rather than simply being let go.
These layoffs seem to be the companion to a batch of layoffs that were already felt at Disneyland Resort. Many of the shows in those parks, like Frozen - Live at the Hyperion, and Mickey and the Magical Map, have already seen cast members let go, because even when those parks do finally reopen, it will almost certainly be without those shows.
So now a bunch of great people are out of work and some really great shows are best going to see significantly longer delays, and many may have unknowingly already produced their last show. One can only hope that once the parks are back on their feet, whether these shows return or new shows take their place, many of these people can potentially be brought back.