This week has been especially hard for me. From furloughs to layoffs, family and friends have gone from a successful career with no end in sight to wondering what they do next. I can’t imagine what they are going through, but my heart hurts for them.
I have been very fortunate to meet cast members over the last several years within the Walt Disney Company, many of whom I now consider friends. I admit I am a loyal Disney fan, but especially during this time I’m a loyal Disney cast members fan. Many of these cast members bring a whole new level of happiness by becoming friends over time. They meet me for drinks or meals when I’m in town, send me messages on social media and texts, give me valuable insights and teach me about Disney best practices and culture. They really have welcomed me into their Disney family.
Disney Cast Members have once again taught me an important lesson in life. Throughout this week I’ve had hard conversations and messages full of what they are going through. My social media feeds have been filled with cast members sharing their Disney career stories, saying their goodbyes and thank yous. One thing Ive noticed though, no one has ill words for their supervisors or even the company. They are sad but hold their head up high. Why? I believe Disney not only created a culture of positivity but has also created a culture of gratitude and understanding. They realize our economy and know the company had to make the hard decision in order for short term gains to work to achieve the long term recovery. We are all hopeful that these decisions will help make their return possible as soon as possible. We need to remain positive and show gratitude.
This week has also tested my loyalty to a brand that’s facing tough situations, but also currently putting friends in this hard situation. I call this the pandemic shift of loyalty. We can be angry at the pandemic situation, but we need to remain hopeful and understand companies and organizations are making tough decisions that were never on their radar 6 months ago. Things will get better in time and we can only hope that much of the normality that we now crave will return. We must find ways to support each other and help where we can. For me it was giving to the Cast Member Pantry by donating food and monetary donations for cast members in need of food. Now is our time to help those who have helped make those magic moments for us.
To my Cast Member friends – I truly hope things will improve soon where we will connect, learn, and laugh together again. You made the magic come alive for me and for that I am forever thankful. I wish you well wherever it may lead you and hope our paths will cross again. I wish I took more pictures with you when I had the chance, but I refuse to say goodbye in hopes you’ll be back making magic and that I will see you again, so I will continue to say – see ya real soon! I am always here for you. Stay safe and healthy. Mahalo Nui Loa!