We Keep Moving Forward--Life after Disney
Updated: Oct 9, 2020
As I sit here this morning, a little over 12 hours since the phone call informing me my position had been eliminated, I am still trying to process how I feel.
Sad is definitely one. I’ve worked for The Walt Disney Company for almost ten years, across two continents, and in a dozen roles.
Heartbroken for my fellow Cast Members, friends, and family on both coasts as they receive their calls or anxiously wait, hoping the phone doesn’t ring.
But overwhelmingly, I feel grateful. Grateful that I can count myself as one of the lucky individuals who was part of something incredible. The people who work for TWDC are some of the most passionate, kind, and dedicated people in the world. This makes not only for good employees, but for amazing friends. The outpouring of support, love, and encouragement from hundreds of people I have met over the years has been heartwarming. It reminds me how fortunate I have been to work for a company that is more than just a job—as cliché as it sounds, it’s a family.
Of course, this doesn’t negate all the anxiety Cast Members are feeling, as they wait for the phone to ring and hope it never does. And all the gratitude and positivity won’t pay the bills for the other 25,999 people receiving the same news I did.
But Walt Disney said that we keep moving forward. And I want to speak directly to my fellow Disney family (because we are always Disney family, no matter where our paths take us next) and let you know that YOU are valuable, your EXPERIENCE is valuable, and there will be life after Disney. While this may not take away the hurt I’m sure so many are feeling, I hope it is helpful as you navigate the next few weeks and months.
Your Experience is Valuable
Whether you were serving ice cream on Main Street or creating emergency communications strategies, you have a unique set of skills and expertise that any company would be lucky to have. Be your own best publicist and allow your Disney training to shine.
You have served food at some of the highest revenue generating quick service locations in the world, you have paid attention to the tiniest details—keeping the busiest parks clean in the hottest weather, you have managed crowds of thousands while keeping them safe from multi-ton floats. You have made quick decisions, interacted with thousands of people, withstood intense weather conditions, ensured a culture of safety, represented the most recognizable brand in the world, and done it all with a smile. Your Disney training is INVALUABLE and don’t sell it short—capitalize on the fact that you have been trained by some of the best facilitators and trainers in the world. You have tools and strategies that any company would be lucky to benefit from.
Keep this frame of mind while brushing up your resume and LinkedIn profile. And check out my article on how to make your resume sparkle here.
This is temporary. While I am sad, this is not about us as individuals and it does not reflect on our contributions to the Company. It was a necessary and carefully thought out business decision. It doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt, but we can still provide value if we choose to return to Disney in the future.
And we will bounce back. Walt Disney World is a place of joy for millions of people around the world. Once everything settles, people from all over the world will be looking for a place to escape. And it will take all of you to create that joy and magic when the time comes.
So be ready.
Once the dust settles, keep in touch with other Cast Members and leaders. Stay connected any way you can. Continue to have meaningful conversations and learn from other professionals—Disney or otherwise.
If you would like some tips on conducting a successful informational meet and greet, check out my article here.
Keep Moving Forward
As much as I love Disney, and I personally hope to return today, we can’t put our lives on hold waiting.
Now is the time to reevaluate your priorities, your dreams, your passions. Take time to learn new skills, consider new career paths, or maybe just slow down for a second and reflect.
While these times are difficult, they are also a great opportunity to reinvent ourselves. I have seen more people enjoy time with their families, focus on their health, turn a side hobby into a business—the creativity right now is unprecedented, and I am so excited to see what y’all do next!
Lean on each other, team up with others to create something new, find new dreams. It’s ok and normal to be sad, and I think it’s important to honor those feelings. But when you feel ready, pick up and find new ways to sparkle.
And if you need a little solace, a lot of Cast Members found some peace with the article “There’s no such thing as a dream job.”
Know Your Resources
Friends, all the positivity and love in the world may not get you the things you and your family NEED. So please know there are resources available to you.
If it is part of your package, utilize the free mental health sessions Disney provides as a benefit.
In Florida, some Cast Members started the Cast Pantry for those in need.
A comprehensive checklist from a Cast Member financial planner.
Feel free to utilize my site for career development advice—and let me know if there is anything specifically you would like me to cover!
As I find more resources (or if you have any to suggest!), I will update here.
See Ya Real Soon
My friends, my heart is broken for my Disney family as the calls continue to go out on both coasts over the next days to weeks. Working for Disney was such a dream come true and I feel so much love for my Disney family.
To every person that has been a part of my Disney journey—thank you so much for the part you played in my story. Gratitude doesn’t even begin to explain how I feel right now, as messages and phone calls and texts keep rolling in from so many. We have been a part of something exceedingly special—and any time spent here as undoubtedly changed our lives. I believe in each of you—that you will parlay your unique experiences into something great. Believe in yourself, have confidence that you have done hard things, and keep the faith. I love you all.
With faith, trust, and pixie dust, I’ll see ya real soon!
"We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."
Check out my stories from my Disney day before I got "the call" here.