Disney cuts 4,000 more jobs, blaming virus-related theme park closures

Disneyland visitors near Sleeping Beauty Castle in pre-pandemic times.
(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

Walt Disney Co. announced an additional 4,000 job cuts after virus lockdowns forced the closing of its theme parks.

The action takes the number of layoffs in the first half of fiscal 2021, mostly at Disney’s parks, experiences and products divisions, to 32,000 — more than 10% of its total workforce. The company’s parks in California remain closed because of state lockdown measures.

“I’m having a real identity crisis because Disney was such a huge part of who I am,” one worker said.

Results earlier this month revealed how the COVID-19 pandemic has hammered Disney’s traditional businesses, including studios, parks and cruises, while accelerating a pivot to streaming. The theme parks showed a loss of $1.1 billion in quarterly results this month. That was made up for by surging growth in its on-demand video platform Disney+, which smashed subscriber number estimates.


Disney Chief Executive Bob Chapek, who took over from longtime chief Bob Iger in February, shook up the company’s management structure last month to further emphasize streaming. With movie theaters still closed, Disney released its remake of “Mulan” on Disney+.

Disney shares are up 3.1% this year through Wednesday’s close.