Now or Never?

April 15, 2009

Pixie dust ain’t cheap, kids. And with the recession, cutbacks, and the recent reorganization of the Disney Parks’ corporate structure (yeah. I’m a nerd.), in a way it really looks as if I’ve picked a bad time to do my CP. According to the Orlando Sentinal, about 450 jobs have recently been cut from WDW. Most were behind-the-scenes salaried jobs rather than by-the-hour Cast Members; but still, it doesn’t seem like a good time to be one of about 7,000 new employees coming in.

Of course, these 7,000 CPs/ICPs were figured in when Disney did their cutbacks. We’re exactly the kind of workforce they want–no benefits, no union, and we’re all there because we really want to work for Disney. So, even though nothing can be ruled out right now, I think my CP is pretty safe. Future programs…well, I guess we’ll just have to see.

Needless to say, I’m glad I’m getting to do the CP this semester because you just never know what may happen with a company like Disney in economic times like these. I don’t mean to sound like I’m saying Disney might not make it. Park attendance has actually been good lately, even if special deals like free dining and “buy 4 nights, get 3 free” are responsbile for getting people in the doors. Even though 1st quarter reports showed overall losses for the company and theme park attendance was down 5%, attendance in February was actually up over last year, as are advance bookings through June. Diney’s not going anywhere anytime soon. But if job cutbacks continue to be necessary, the CP may not make it, or at least may be scaled back. If forced to choose between temporary college “interns” and unionized senior Cast Members, Disney won’t really have much choice. In fact, this past February, the following appeared on Screamscape.com:

According to a Screamscape source Walt Disney World has begin some trimming of their labor force, starting with the Disney College Program / Career Start Program. Disney has begin to contact a good number of individuals who were scheduled to start working at WDW on February 11th and informed them that their offer of employment is being withdrawn due to current staffing needs. The upside is that they are offering them new contracts to come down and work on either May 20th or August 26th instead.

This shows exactly how flexibile those “contracts” Disney has with their CPs are. If necessary, the program could be drastically cut back. So, even though it may not seem like the best time to do the CP, it’s better to do it now than risk never getting to do it. Hopefully the program will be around for many, many more years. And also hopefully, I won’t be getting an email from Disney like the one described above.


One comment

  1. Sorry, had to edit my coding.
    We’re exactly the kind of workforce they want–no benefits, no union, and we’re all there because we really want to work for Disney.
    I wouldn’t necessarily say that *all* the CPs are there because they really want to work for Disney. A large number of students go through the application process because they want a “fun” or “nothing” semester off from school. They figure they can go hang out at Disney World and goof off for a semester, when in reality, they will work harder than they ever have. It’s some ridiculous percent of participants that go home within the first month because of their unanticipated workload. People drop like flies during the CP. My 8-person apartment had housed a total of 14 different girls when all was said and done.

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