Nearly two months after Shanghai Disneyland opens, Disney lays off the team that built it


  • Photo via Disney
With Shanghai Disneyland now open, those who helped design and build the park are apparently no longer needed. 

According to the Los Angeles Times, representatives for Disney Imagineering, which has about 2,000 employees, confirmed the layoffs but did not specify exactly how many employees were let go. 

While most of these workers were subcontractors who’ve likely moved onto to other major theme park construction jobs, maybe even for Disney’s arch nemesis Wanda, those who worked for the Disney company itself are now stuck finding new roles in the company or maybe seeking new jobs outside of it.

Disney did use more subcontractors for Shanghai Disneyland than normal, but it still used a large number of its own cast members, including hundreds of Imagineers. 

Not all of those who left were laid off, some took early retirements and others voluntarily left the company. Early rumors indicated the famed Imagineer Joe Rohde was included in those layoffs. He has yet to overtly confirm that he still works at Walt Disney Imagineering, only tweeting “I don’t think so,” when asked if he was included in the layoffs.

Later in the weekend Rohde posted a long essay-style caption on Instagram, one of his preferred social media platforms, where he encouraged his followers to “look broadly at many things, not just one, and to revel in the rich diversity that is ours just by being alive” in a post where he tagged Disney. The caption, being vague in nature, has led some to interpret as Rohde’s way of encouraging those who were let go.

Rohde was recently named the lead Imagineer for Marvel in Disney Parks and is best known for being the lead Imagineer at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Other Imagineers who were let go range from ones specifically brought in for Shanghai, to ones that have been with the company for decades. There is no word on where most of the layoffs took place ,but it’s believed most were in Asia.

Disney has confirmed that the Orlando department was included in the layoffs. The last time Orlando saw a massive layoff of Imagineers Universal quickly hired them.

Universal is believed to be currently planning a third major theme park for the Orlando market. No word on if any of the Imagineers who were laid off will be part of that project, but it is highly likely that some will end up at Universal Creative.

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