In an open letter to the community, Disneyland Resort President Rebecca Campbell offered a letter of encouragement to Cast Members, fans, business leaders, and those otherwise impacted by recent global events.
Her letter follows below. The bolding done by us for emphasis of highlights.
Friends and Neighbors,
This week, we passed the one-month milestone since closing the gates of the Disneyland Resort as a result of COVID-19, so I wanted to give you an update about what we are doing to keep our guests and cast members safe; how we continue to support our community; and the steps we’re taking to protect the future of our business moving forward.
Like many businesses around the world, the Disneyland Resort had significant decisions to make. The first was to close the park in advance of government mandate, which we did to curb the spread of the virus in Orange County. This was an unprecedented step for us – an emotional one for all of our cast and guests – but one that was done in an abundance of caution and safety.
Then, to keep them safe, we implemented a stay-at-home policy for the majority of our cast members while continuing to pay them for the first full month of closure. Starting next week, many of these cast will enter a furlough program, which allows them to retain their employment status and access federal compensations through the economic stimulus bill, as well as state unemployment insurance benefits. It also allows them to maintain their health and insurance benefits coverage, with the company paying both the employer and employee weekly benefit contributions. While they may not be working at the moment, they are still cast members, still part of our family and we cannot wait to see them again as soon as it is safe.
While keeping one eye on our cast and business, we’ve kept another on our community, watching how the effects of the virus have swept through our neighborhoods. I am awe-struck by the strength and bravery that Orange County citizens possess, particularly the first responders, emergency services professionals and essential personnel who are putting themselves on the front line of this battlefield. I’m also very proud of our Disney teams throughout the country who have looked to find ways to contribute to the cause, donating more than 100,000 N95 masks and hundreds of pallets of food to the Orange County and Second Harvest food banks. I’m also impressed with the creativity from our team, recognizing that the donation of everyday theme park items such as rain ponchos, can be easily transformed by medical personnel into potentially life-saving personal protection equipment (PPE).
This is truly an unprecedented time we are living in, but I can’t help but stay optimistic that we will get through this, both as a business and as a community. I’ve been inspired by a number of moments since this began that I look to as “glimmers of hope.” A photo of a lamp in Walt Disney’s apartment on Main Street U.S.A. that shines as bright as ever and the daily raising of the American and California flags in Town Square serve as inspirations to all of us.
I’m also proud to see glimmers of hope throughout the community as businesses, government and residents come together to inspire one another, including a project initiated by the Anaheim Police Department that encouraged hotels and businesses and emergency service departments to display messages of hope for our community, reminding all of us to stay positive, stay connected and stay safe.
As a company and employer, we are committed to taking appropriate steps to care for our cast and protect our business. And as a member of this community, we are proud to call Anaheim and Orange County home.
While none of us knows exactly how long this will last, I think we know one thing… Orange County will emerge better and stronger than ever before.
Echoing Campbell’s broader theme with glimmers of hope, a photo was also shared showing the results of Cast Members around the world who have been sharing words of inspiration and hope in the symbol that unifies them all — their nametags. Marisa Mansour, catering and convention services senior manager, asked her team to get involved.
“I’ve always believed our nametags are powerful – when you see the iconic shape, you know you are a part of something special,” Marisa told her team, adding, “If your nametag is sitting idle at home, here’s a chance to have it speak powerfully to the world again.” This photo conveys how the words her team chose individually make even more of an impact when they come together, just like the members of our teams.
“We will be back to making magic soon enough,” Marisa said. “After all, we are the magic makers! We are #DisneyStrong.”