By: Amy Kawa
As Disney approaches the end of their fiscal year, it seems as though the company is trying to save money through the elimination of several fan-favorite entertainers.
The Citizens of Hollywood Streetmosphere team who roam Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards in Disney’s Hollywood Studios will look very different at the end of this month. Dorma Nesmond, Paige Turner, Dara Vamp, and Officer Prime Brody will be cut from the troop.
Over in the Magic Kingdom, Captain Jack’s Pirate Tutorial will also be coming to an end later this month. The show has been a staple on the stage across from the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction in Adventureland since 2006. Captain Jack and his pirate helper taught young buccaneers the pirate code and the ways of life on the high seas.
In Animal Kingdom, all of the live actors from Rivers of Light will be removed because of these same budget cuts. Is it going to look a little strange to have two random boats floating in the middle of a lagoon without anyone on them? Meh… maybe a little.
Dreamer Amy’s Take: I understand that money has to be saved. I understand that these theme parks are part of a grander scheme. I understand that you can’t employ fewer people at Space Mountain to save a few bucks due to safety and operational concerns. I understand that the entertainers listed above are seen as expandable because they add to a guest’s experience in the park – they don’t make or break their day. While that all may be true, here’s the thing – these entertainers and the cast members that embody them are part of the extras that put Disney over the top in the theme park world.
The interactions guests have with these entertainers – these small moments in the midst of a crazy, action-packed trip – are oftentimes the things that stay with guests for years to come. For example, I was blessed to be in the Magic Kingdom on my actual 21st birthday in 2015. I was wearing my “Happy Birthday” button and the town crier in Liberty Square somehow spotted that button. He called me over, asked my name and where I was from, and if that day happened to be my actual birthday. After this brief discussion with the best cast member I have ever had the pleasure of speaking to, he yelled at the top of his lungs while he rang his giant bell, capturing the attention of everyone within a 30-foot radius. He announced my birthday to them all in a way only a town crier could and asked for a round of applause… all for me. Disney is THE show, and the entertainers are so important to helping guests get lost in the Disney bubble. They add so much to the atmosphere and the authenticity of a Disney park. So, yes, it seems like Disney is just laying a few people off, but it’s so much more than that. I hope the trend doesn’t continue. Thank God Sonny Eclipse is a singing robot, or I fear he would be next.