Thank you, Disneyland and theme park workers – OCRegister

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It’s been a tough week for the thousands of Disney cast members who now know officially that their jobs are gone. Disney has been sending layoff notices to the estimated 28,000 cast members across the county whose jobs it is eliminating.

The Disney fan community has been rallying around dismissed cast members online, with many people contributing to food banks and supporting cast members’ side-hustle businesses. But I want to remind theme park fans that this crisis is not limited to Disney. Thousands of employees at Universal, Six Flags, Knott’s, Legoland and SeaWorld have lost their jobs, too. So have countless employees of local themed entertainment design firms that help create attractions around the world.

To all of those laid-off employees … thank you. Thank you for everything you have done over however long you worked in this industry to bring joy, wonder and happiness to the millions of people who have visited your workplaces. You deserved better from us than this.

The irony is that you might have not been put in this awful position if the world was run by more people who developed the skills necessary to run a successful theme park.

It takes a lot of work to make something look easy. No one does that better than the people who work at Disneyland and other top theme parks. They welcome diverse crowds of millions of people each year and not only manage those throngs with almost no serious conflict, they leave those guests thinking that the hours spent in their parks were some of the best moments of their lives.

Being able to pull that off demands great thought, training, teamwork, communication and tact — all the skills it would have been useful to see more leaders around the world demonstrate when confronted with this pandemic. When you work with the public in a theme park, you are solving problems all day long. Unfortunately, too many of our leaders got their jobs not by trying to solve problems, but by exploiting them. They reap power from sowing anger and division.

So much of the news of the past week illustrates how much work remains to be done in America. But that works starts by inspiring more Americans to believe that a “great big beautiful tomorrow” is possible and that the best way to get there is together rather than separately. We need the optimism and the camaraderie that theme parks such as Disneyland have been cultivating for decades.

To everyone in this industry who has lost a job — do not allow this layoff to make you think for a moment that your work or your skills are not valuable. Whether it’s through another employer, a school, a union, a charity, a campaign or a new business that you start, your community needs the leadership and inspiration that so many theme park workers have learned to provide.

I can’t wait to see what the people of the theme park industry do next.

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