Starting April 19th, about 800 equity actors from around the Walt Disney World resort will join tens of thousands of other cast members who are being furloughed without pay, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

What’s Happening:

  • If you’ve been to Walt Disney World, you’ve certainly seen or encountered at least one of the roughly 800 equity performers of the resort in shows like Festival of the Lion King, or Finding Nemo: The Musical, or even just those crazy characters we call “streetmosphere” walking down Hollywood or Sunset Boulevard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
  • Though the contract is far more specific and detailed, generally speaking, Equity performers are performers who are mic’d performing a script and/or singing in a theatrical performance, improvisational actors, or dancers with a choreographed routine on a stage. Most parades and general character meet and greets do not fall into this category.
  • On Monday, April 13, Actors' Equity Association finalized negotiations with Walt Disney World regarding terms for furloughed members.
  • The agreement includes additional health care coverage for cast members and the ability for furloughed workers to make a one-time election of the amount of accrued unused paid time off to be paid on a regular pay cycle.
  • Details were sent yesterday by email to cast members working on an Equity agreement and posted in the Equity member portal. Cast members who have additional questions are being told to contact the Orlando Equity office by phone or email.
  • Actors’ Equity is continuing to work to ensure members receive all the benefits of your collective bargaining agreements. Last month, Equity joined with the Coalition of Broadway Unions (COBUG) for pay and health benefits for members working on Broadway and tour. Equity has also called for a 100 percent COBRA subsidy so that no one loses their health care during a pandemic.
  • We recently also shared that one of the affected Equity performers, widely known among passholders and Disney park fans as “The Piano Lady,” Carol Stein, continues to perform from her home while the parks are closed.

What They’re Saying:

  • Russel Lehrer, Chief Negotiator, Actor’s Equity Association: “We are proud to be able to reach agreement on our primary goals, to ensure both continued access to health care through the furlough, and a guaranteed return to employment under the contract for everyone on the Equity Agreement.