AttractionsWalt Disney World (FL)

Disney Park, Resort Employees See Hours Cut Starting Tomorrow

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We’ve heard that Disney is making a small reduction to some Castmember shifts at its domestic parks and resorts beginning with tomorrow’s work week. We hear the cutbacks will run from July 23 through September 30, 2017, the last day of Disney’s fiscal year.

The scope of these cutbacks appears to be smaller than we’d heard proposed earlier this month, which is good news.

Theme Park and Crowd Calendar Impacts

Cutting back staff hours at the theme parks may increase wait times at the rides. We believe that earlier cutbacks contributed to higher wait times starting in 2016. Our crowd calendar is based on wait times at popular rides. If these cutbacks increase wait times, you may see higher crowd levels than predicted.

We estimate that we’ll need to collect 14 days of data with the new staff levels before our crowd models can reflect their impacts. That means a new crowd calendar update would be available the week of August 7. We post the previous day’s crowd levels on the calendar, so you can follow this along from home.

Resort Impacts

We’re told that resort staff cutbacks are relatively minor. Most guests may not see a change in service levels.

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Len Testa

Len Testa is the co-author of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, and has contributed to the Disneyland and Las Vegas Unofficial Guides. Most of his time is spent trying to keep up with the team. Len's email address is You can also follow him on Twitter: @lentesta.

3 thoughts on “Disney Park, Resort Employees See Hours Cut Starting Tomorrow

  • I’m one of those who whenever people complain about the price increases, I simply cite the laws of supply & demand & capitalism, while adding that as long as the crowds remain large, WDW can charge what they want. If it serves to lower the crowds, so be it.

    Having said that…

    It seems to me that raising prices to lower crowds, then cutting staff in a way that raises wait times, is not a sustainable business model long-term. Time will tell if I’m right. But my daughter who was in the DCP for over 2 years (two tours of duty, one extended) has said that regular full-timers & part-timers are now not able to get enough hours to sustain themselves & need to get a 2nd job, while DCPers are overworked with 50-60 hour weeks. WDW has also changed policies for workers regarding the ability to drop and/or pick up shifts, making it quite inflexible for the workers.

    What this means is that there are a lot of park employees who either have no skin in the game & don’t care as much as they used to (under-scheduled), or are overworked & tired, resulting in an inferior guest experience. Methinks that WDW is over-milking the DCP cheap labor cow.

    I can’t speak from first-hand experience, having not visited in 2017 yet after having visited 6x in 2015-2016, but if my friends & family who have visited this year are any indication, the “magic” they receive from employees, I mean, cast members, has been greatly reduced from years past. The employees seem to be less-informed, and less-engaged than in years past.

    I sincerely hope that this is a temporary decision on the part of WDW, due to all the expansion/closures happening at the moment, because there are a lot of disgruntled employees (and guests) right now, based on what I’m hearing. Cutting staff, while reducing the existing staff’s flexibility, is not conducive to a happy work environment, which translates to a reduced guest experience, with longer lines, along with higher prices.

    WDW can milk employees & guests in this manner in the short term, based on a well-earned reputation for unmatched customer service.

    But this combination of reduced service, employee turnover, and higher prices can’t possibly be sustainable long-term.

  • Hi, Len! Thanks for the heads up. Overall, h aow are things going with attendance this summer? Do you see anything, yet, in the numbers that would indicate a slower than expected summer? I am curious because of both cut in hours mentioned here, and the 30% DVC discounts announced last wee for off-hour dining at some of the resort restaurants also through 9/30. I also got a seriously generous discount at the Contemporary for the last week of August, which was way out of character for Disney.

    • We’re hearing that attendance is flat or down, and future bookings are soft.

      One indication of the soft hotel demand is that they’re offering value and moderate rooms on Priceline again, including at Port Orleans. We expect that some guests are already avoiding Caribbean Beach because of the construction, so for the other moderates to have that kind of capacity seems unusual.


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