Earlier this month Disney's division of Parks, Experiences, and Products announced a layoff impacting 28,000 people across the division. Over the past couple of weeks, we've seen more details of who exactly was impacted most by those layoffs. At both Disneyland and Walt Disney World, we know that actors and performers have taken a big hit, as live shows are still closed, even in the parks that are otherwise open, but there's another place that has apparently been hit quite hard by the layoffs, Batuu.
At Disneyland Resort, it's being reported that the vast majority of layoffs are coming from Disneyland rather than Disney California Adventure, and among those Disneyland layoffs, most have come from the park's newest addition, Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge.
The reason Galaxy's Edge has been the focal point of the layoffs apparently has to do with seniority, which is something that cast members working the new land largely don't have. Apparently, Disneyland and Disney California Adventure work under separate union contracts, and so, any cast member that had been working at California Adventure, and transferred to Disneyland to work at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, lost whatever seniority they had. And since seniority usually factors into any layoff, it meant that Galaxy's Edge was hit hard as that's where most of the "newest" employees could be found.
While I'm sure cast members were all aware of the loss of seniority in their decision to move to Galaxy's Edge, certainly nobody expected a situation like the one we are in. Maybe they were giving up vacation days or other perks by moving to Galaxy's Edge, but when your actual job involves going to a theme park, that may have seemed less important. Nobody thought they'd be subjected to a layoff due to their (perceived) lack of seniority.
This is especially heartbreaking because working at Galaxy's Edge was something that a lot of cast members wanted to do. They basically had to apply and audition to get roles on Batuu. And Disneyland even made a big deal of spotlighting many of the cast members that were chosen to take on the new land. Now, it seems that making that decision may have cost some people their jobs.
Of course, with Disneyland Resort still largely closed, even those who still have jobs, at Galaxy's Edge or elsewhere, are still waiting to get back to them. At this point, it seems unlikely that the state of California will be allowing Disneyland to reopen this year, as the requirements that need to be met for the park to open are extensive. While Disneyland has repeatedly argued that the company's success at managing health and safety at parks like Walt Disney World show that opening Disneyland would be safe, the state isn't ready to let that happen under current conditions.