Industry segments across the country and the world have been dealing with supply shortages since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March of last year, primarily due to labor shortages in getting certain products made and shipped. Outside of the labor shortage, and perhaps the rental car shortage if you had planned on driving a rental in the past year or so to Walt Disney World, we have not seen too many supply shortages impacting the theme parks, at least in a way that is visible to Guests.
Recently however, Guests have noticed some Cast Members either wearing mismatched costumes or new rather plain costumes (think the light blue shirt and darker pants, if you happen to have seen those.) We’ve just learned that some of these seemingly odd costuming looks are actually the consequences of a costume shortage.
It is unclear at this time what is causing the shortage, though we would have to assume it is really a labor shortage that is causing less costumes to be made and/or laundered in their normal timeframe. The Walt Disney World Resort typically houses hundreds of thousands of costumes backstage for Cast Members, where they are able to take home multiple sets at a time and have the costumes laundered at these facilities if they prefer rather than washing them themselves.
Some Cast Members do hold onto costumes when they find pieces that fit particularly well. (If you have never been a Disney Cast Member then you are unfamiliar with the inconsistent sizing of Disney costumes and how difficult it can be to convert your regular clothing size to your…”Disney size.”) They are likely holding onto more items than ever now where the shortage is making it difficult for some Cast Members to pick up new pieces in the correct size.
Disney is working on a plan for alleviating the shortage, and we do expect that it will be manageable soon as more and more Cast Members are returning to work (including some who work in costuming). In the meantime however, you may happen to see some unusual outfits or those plain blue shirts while the resort works through the shortage.