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Disney slashes 1,900 jobs at domestic parks

April 3, 2009 | 12:35 pm

Disneyland1 

In a sign that the recession is cutting into the Walt Disney Co.'s park business even deeper than originally thought, Disney today said it eliminated about 1,900 jobs at its domestic theme parks through job cuts and attrition.

The entertainment giant in February announced a reorganization of its parks and resorts operation, which it acknowledged would set the stage for job cuts. But it didn't say at the time how many positions would be eliminated. The changes were announced amid falling attendance and expectations that the recession has many more months to run its course. But today's announcement signals that Disney is bracing for an extended downturn in its business as consumers continue to keep their wallets closed.

Disney said it would lay off about 1,200 people and leave about 700 positions unfilled. The bulk of the cuts will happen at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., where about 1,400 jobs will be eliminated. About 300 jobs will be cut from the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, with the remaining reductions coming from corporate headquarters in Burbank.

In January, the company offered buyout packages to 600 executives at its domestic parks division, which in addition to the theme parks includes Disney cruise ships, and resorts and vacation spots.

Disney employs about 80,000 people in its parks and resorts unit.

"These decisions were not made lightly, but are essential to maintaining our leadership in family tourism and reflect today’s economic realities," the company said in a statement. "We continue to work through our reorganization and manage our business based on demand.”

-- Dawn C. Chmielewski

Photo credit: David McNews / Getty Images

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