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November 27th, 2020

You Had To Know It Was Going To Hurt

A friend passed this news article along to me on Facebook, knowing what a fan of Walt Disney World I am…

Disney increases number of planned layoffs to 32,000 employees

A classmate, my high school crush, works (“worked” I suppose now) at Epcot Germany, in the Biergarten restaurant. That is why I started going. Back in 2008. And rediscovered my inner Mouseketeer. 

Last September when I went there I saw the severe measures they were taking to limit guest exposure in the parks. Most of the indoor restaurants were closed. Biergarten was an exception and I wondered how they were managing it, since their thing is Oktoberfest seating. This was why I loved Biergarten, even more so than that he was working there and we could chat after hours for a bit. When you are a solitary traveler, you tend to sit at the bar most places because that’s where you get to talk to the others there. But always sitting at the bar means you are drinking more. Biergarten’s Oktoberfest seating meant I could chat with the others at my table. Plus, I had a ready break the ice start to it. Where are you from? Is this your first time at Disney World?  He even said to me once that I was good at getting a table talking with each other…a thing certain other gay “friends” would be surprised to hear, since they’ve pegged me as too shy to talk to anyone which is why I never get any dates. But all I ever needed was something to break the ice. After that I’m a chatterbox. But a listener too. I love a good conversation. I have had lots of fun and interesting times talking with the other guests. 

So I was wondering how they managed keeping things going in Biergarten during the plague. Also, I was hoping to at least know that he was okay and still working. Well they managed it by seating nobody with anyone else but the party they came with. And since I was a party of one I got one of their tables, which seat eight, all to myself. And they brought the buffet food out to me…none of this standing in a line at the buffet.

It was…a bit scary. None of the regular German staff were there. The “cast members” all wear name tags with their place of origin on them. Nobody that day at Biergarten had a name tag with a German city on them. They were, I suspect, all pulled from other parts of the park. I’m guessing the guest German workers…kids from the various Epcot World Showcase Lagoon countries brought in to work for a year or two, were sent back to their homes. But my classmate, who says he’s been working there since a few months after it opened and has his green card, was not there. He’s old enough now he could do early social security, but I’ve no idea what’s happening with him anymore. We’re not speaking now. It’s okay. See my previous post.

You have to actually do the backstage tour to see what a massive operation Walt Disney World is. It never stops…it’s a 24 hour thing. When the guests clear out there is a massive maintenance operation that kicks in. The parks themselves are like the tip of an iceberg area wise. There’s a ton of…stuff…supporting the park operations that’s out of sight. It simply cannot be sustained without the usual attendance numbers. And Disney is keeping the numbers down. They closed three of the four big parking lots at Disney Springs to keep the numbers down there. Half of the Boardwalk hotel was closed while I was there. It’s not just the people you see, it’s the massive support system you don’t, and all the people that work it. Yeah…it was going to hurt down there. It had to. Badly.

I’m hoping my classmate is doing okay. He still has his German citizenship. I asked him once why he didn’t just get his US citizenship after all this time, since he’s been paying our taxes so he might as well have a say in how it’s all spent. But no. He’s fine with just having a green card. He’s never expressed the slightest interest in going back to Germany. Or Brazil, where he was born. But Florida so I’m told is a special kind of shithole for the unemployed.

But I’ll probably never know. It’s okay.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on You Had To Know It Was Going To Hurt

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