Disney princesses host virtual birthday parties & Disney parks are shut indefinitely

We’ve talked about the food-service workers who have been laid off as bars shut down and restaurants move to take-out only. Another group of people who are being hard-hit by restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the virus are artists in the US and around the world. TMZ spoke to performers who make their living dressing up as Disney princesses and performing at parties and other events. As those parties are getting cancelled, some of them have begun performing virtually:

With governments banning gatherings large and small, there’s simply no work for the folks who dress up as your favorite Disney princesses and movie characters … and one group is about to lose a million bucks.

American Immersion Theatre + Princess Party tells TMZ … they’ve had bookings canceled left and right, setting up a huge financial hit of about $200,000 for March and April alone, and as the pandemic drags on, they’re estimating a loss of $1 million in gross income.

The troupe tells us this is normally the busiest time for events, but there are no more shows on the books this Spring and Summer, which spells doom for their 2,000 actors across 27 different cities.

The theater company is used to working birthday parties, murder mysteries at restaurants and volunteering at hospitals … but the virus’ rapid spread is putting an end to all that.

American Immersion Theatre + Princess Party is hoping things start picking back up by June with some small birthdays before another wave of big events in September … and in the meantime, they’re booking about 7 virtual gigs a day where princesses and characters interact with kids virtually.

Still, the virtual gigs won’t make up for the 150 events that are being canceled each week … and it’s a bad sign for the actors who count this as a full-time job.

[From TMZ]

Also in this same boat are the Disney cast members (staff), who are looking at the parks being closed indefinitely. Disney has agreed to pay the hourly staff through April 18. The parks shouldn’t open until it’s absolutely safe for them to do so, but there’s no reason that Disney can’t afford to pay folks for longer than three weeks. Reading TMZ’s story about these performers with uncertain futures reminds me of a.) how much we take for granted, and b.) how many different kinds of employment we don’t necessarily pay attention to, unless it’s ours or we know someone who works in that industry. I think more people are starting to realize the value of the arts (or I hope they are), and I hope that these performers all have kind landlords and are able to find other employment to supplement their income.

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6 Responses to “Disney princesses host virtual birthday parties & Disney parks are shut indefinitely”

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  1. Mrs Robinson says:

    I work for a ballet company (75 dancers) that had to cancel half its performance season (of an already condensed season because of a shared opera house) and take a $9.5 million hit. The dancers are still (currently) being paid. There are other complications though—many are international on work visas and if they don’t work for 30 days have to go back home.
    There are a lot of arts organizations that won’t make it through this, unfortunately.

    • Case says:

      So many theaters around me are just ending their seasons now. It’s so sad to think how many arts organizations won’t survive this. I hope people realize that arts and entertainment got them and their children through this tough time by providing a much needed break from reality and give back to the arts when possible.

  2. Case says:

    I’m glad that Disney is shut down indefinitely, because as soon as they reopen there WILL be a ton of people, and it won’t be safe until we’re in the clear. It’s crazy how quickly the situation has changed — I go to Florida every autumn and just a few weeks ago thought “oh, maybe airfare is low! I should book now.” I didn’t, and now I don’t know if I’ll feel comfortable or safe enough to take a vacation this year. Or next year. Or until we have a vaccine. Seriously, how will we feel safe before that? The longer this goes on, the more I think about how long this new normal could last.

    That said, it’s crazy that Disney will only pay their people through mid-April. I understand they’re losing a lot of money from this (both for the parks and movies that can’t be released right now), but they pay many of their workers very low wages. Surely they can continue to pay them longer than that.

    • runcmc says:

      It’s really an interesting side note of this pandemic to really look under the hood of a lot of these companies, financially speaking. Disney is probably made up of lots of “sub” companies… so like their movie business is separate from the parks and cash is tied up in upcoming releases. The whole economy depends on money still coming in… and Disney has a LOT more employees than just the park actors. Writers, marketing professionals, shoot even the cleaning and maintenance staff of all of their locations and offices. It’s a lot of people and who knows how much they cost in payroll and whether Disney actually has the funds to keep paying them indefinitely?

      Not just Disney… it’s scary to see how many companies simply can’t keep themselves afloat without revenue. I was recently let go from a Marriott hotel property that closed… they couldn’t keep paying us, and it’s the biggest hotel company in the world. Just crazy all around.

  3. Yoyo says:

    San Diego zoo is laying workers also.

  4. Jules says:

    Yikes, I clicked through those photos and honestly was not sure if it was a real person or a mannequin. Scary! And this is what little girls are supposed to look up to?