ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Almost 6,700 Walt Disney World employees will be laid off in December, according to notices the company filed with the state of Florida.

What You Need To Know

  • Filing: Almost 6,700 Disney World workers to be laid off in December

  • Company notified the state of Florida of the layoffs as required

  • Disney on Tuesday announced 28,000 US workers would be let go

“Due to the continuing business impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have made the very difficult decision to reduce our workforce,” Disney Vice President of Employee Relations Jim Bowden wrote in the job-cut filings with the state as required by law.

The layoffs will start December 4 and so far affect nonunion workers, according to the notices. The notices did not, however, provide a breakdown of which positions would be affected.

According to experts, the Disney World layoffs will have a ripple effect on the still recovering Central Florida economy.

"The ripple effect is throughout the Central Florida economy in terms of restaurants, hotels, car rentals—everything people do when they come to Disney is all going to be impacted," said Mark Johnston, a professor of Marketing and Ethics at Rollins College.

On Tuesday, The Walt Disney Company announced plans to lay off 28,000 U.S. employees across its Parks, Experiences and Products division, which includes not only theme parks but also resorts, Disney Cruise Line and shopDisney. About 67 percent of the layoffs affect part-time jobs. 

“Over the past several months, we’ve been forced to make a number of necessary adjustments to our business, and as difficult as this decision is today, we believe that the steps we are taking will enable us to emerge a more effective and efficient operation when we return to normal,” Disney Parks chairman Josh D’Amaro said in a statement released Tuesday.

The Service Trades Council, which represents more than 40,000 employees at Disney World, said Tuesday it had begun negotiations with the company about how the layoffs would impact its members.

Beth Wiggins, a server, is one of those union members and is now concerned for her job.

"We do have that protection of the union, but we don't know for how long," she said. "We don't know what that really means."

In recent years, Wiggins worked at Disney Springs and Disney's Yacht & Beach Club Resorts. In March se was let go from one job and furloughed from another. Since then, she's been trying to maintain a positive outlook, while looking for jobs in a rough economy.

"People are looking for jobs everywere, 17 applications out and nothing yet," she said. "You just don't know what's next, and where do we go?"

Kayleigh Thurwalker, who works at Epcot, is also a member of the union. She was furloughed in April but called back to work in July.

"I was very upset, very nervous, very scared, because I just don't know what could happen," Thurwalker said after reading about the company's layoffs. "Very said, it could possibly be my friends and I wouldn't even know it."

Disney World reopened its theme parks in mid-July with added health and safety measures as well as capacity limits. Thousands of workers were called back for the reopening, but thousands more have remained on furlough. In August, during an earnings call, Disney executives said attendance at Disney World had been lower than initially expected.

Spectrum News reporters Julie Gargotta and Justin Soto contributed to this report.