The Walt Disney Company is hosting Florida state COVID-19 testing to residents, including Cast Members, Operating Participants, and their immediate families. With this decision, the Actor’s Equity Association has signed a memorandum to allow their performers to return to work.

What’s Happening:

  • Back in June, it was announced that the performers who fell under the Actors’ Equity Association agreements would be called back to work to perform in numerous entertainment offerings at Walt Disney World.
  • A few days later, Equity had made a public statement that the actors who perform in the theaters of the park need to be tested because they cannot practice social distancing throughout their workday.
  • In a one-two punch of announcements today, the Walt Disney Company has announced that they would be hosting COVID-19 testing to Cast Members, Operating Participant Employees and their immediate families, as well as Florida residents, at the Maingate Complex in Osceola County near Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
  • The Florida Division of Emergency Management will operate this temporary, drive-thru facility. The facility will provide COVID-19 testing services for Florida residents, Cast Members, employees and visitors, including a dedicated service lane for employees of Operating Participants, Cast Members and their immediate family members. Test results are confidential and anticipated to be available within 3-5 days.
  • Testing at this site is free and available to anyone over the age of 2, with or without symptoms. This facility will be open seven days a week beginning August 14, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Disney also stated in the announcement that the testing is voluntary, and those who test would not be paid for their time.
  • In a statement regarding Disney’s decision to offer testing, Kate Shindle, President of Actors’ Equity Association said:

We have been consistent that testing is an important part of ensuring a safe workplace for Equity performers, and today, I'm pleased to see that Disney World has agreed. With the news that Disney will make testing available for Equity performers and others in the park, I'm happy to announce that Equity's executive committee has signed a memorandum of understanding with Disney for Equity performers to return."

  • However Disney notes their decision was not directly influenced by Actors’ Equity saying:

“We have offered the location to help with community testing and any suggestion that this has been done as a result of any one union is unfounded. The Florida Division of Emergency Management will operate the location which is available to Cast Members and their immediate families as well as Florida residents. Our actions support all cast and our community at large.”

  • With this offering, the primary concern of the Actor’s Equity Association has been met, and they have signed a memorandum of understanding which allows for the return of the performers who fall under the agreement.
  • Though the return to work has been called for, we have no timeline as to when we will see the affected attractions return, like Festival of the Lion King, Finding Nemo: The Musical, and Beauty and the Beast: Live on Stage, Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, and more.