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Cast Member Protests

‘Walkout’ Follow-Up: Cast Members Protest, But Not Where It Matters Most

On March 22, as was already announced and expected, employees of The Walt Disney Company participated in a Walkout, leaving their work to demand Disney take further action against Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Bill.

The Cast Member contingent, angry Disney did not do more to interfere in both houses of the Sunshine State’s legislature’s passing of a new law preventing all talk of sex education and gender identity in schools kindergarten through third grade, threatened to drop everything and walk out of their offices in protest. When the day came, Disney appealed to the LGBTQ+-passionate populous by having every company subsidy post a statement on their social media, among other things.

Disney Statement

Credit: Disney

Still, news outlets like The New York Times shared that many Cast Members all across the United States still decided to walk out, and it appears that a large number of staff members did walk out at Disney Headquarters and Walt Disney Animation Studios in Burbank, California.

Disney Cast Member Walkout, California

Credit: The New York Times

But what about in Florida? What about the Cast Members centered around Orlando’s Walt Disney World or Vero Beach and who will actually be affected by this controversy-sparking legislation? Well, it appears that those voices were almost completely silent.

According to Orlando’s NBC affiliate news station WESH2, the “Walkout” ended up being a one-person protest. Reporter Amanda Dukes was on-hand at what has become the Disney protestor’s point, the Hotel Plaza Boulevard entrance to Disney World property near Disney Springs, saying:

“A lone protestor stands outside Disney at Hotel Plaza Blvd. Employee[s] were planning a staged walk out today to protest what critics call Florida’s Don’t say Gay bill.”

Guests visiting the Disney Parks that day also shared their testimonies to the fact that no protest was felt or appeared to have any effect on their Disney Day across social media.

California Cast Members Protest Florida Legislation

Nicknamed “The Don’t Say Gay Bill” by its opponents, the Parental Rights in Education Bill is set to become a State Law in the State of Florida by Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis. The legislation will not affect Disney Cast Members and other employees in other states, especially California. On top of that, Disney is one of the largest employers in the State of Florida, and a supposedly massive walkout protest during a Spring Break week at the Walt Disney World Resort would arguably have a significant ripple effect–if their numbers were as strong as they hoped.

Cast Member Protest Zoom Background

Credit: Whereischapek.com

The reason for Florida’s division of Disney workers’ silence remains a matter of speculation. And one could speculate that it was a matter of both sufficient satisfaction and job preservation. We shared recently that in the run-up to March 22, daily 15-minute walkouts were held, giving Disney staff a chance to raise their voice in protest in alignment with their current employment situation–sacrificing their legally protected 15-minute break to the cause. The organizers specified that protection but also made it clear that “the full scale walkout that will take place on Tuesday March 22nd is not a legally protected action. Take your own situation into account before choosing to participate.” 

Read More: Cast Members to ‘Walkout,’ Protest FL Education Bill – What Guests Should Expect

Led by Disney CEO Bob Chapek, The Walt Disney Company has also attempted to apologize and appease the employee outrage over leadership’s apparent betrayal. Along with the public statements, Disney also held a company-wide meeting for LGBTQ employees and their allies, pledged to create a “task force” to up LGBTQ+ representation in their content, paused political contributions, and they have openly condemned Texas’ decision to make it illegal for little kids to undergo transition surgery.

Bob Chapek

Credit: Disney

Meanwhile, Disney continues to pride itself in boasting a diverse workforce and achieving top corporate equality index scores from the Human Rights Campaign. Life also goes on at The Most Magical Place on Earth for Theme Park Guests looking to escape realities, especially at EPCOT, where they can take part in the International Flower and Garden Festival and anxiously await the opening of Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind.

We at Disney Fanatic will continue to update our readers on news in and around Disney World and the other Disney Resorts around the world that could have an impact on their current or next Disney Vacation for better or worse.

About T.K. Bosacki

TK is a writer and editor based in Tampa, FL with a passion for all things Disney, and adventure.