Most annual Walt Disney World vacationers have a love/hate relationship with Disney’s Magical Express, also known as Disney’s Tragical Express. This un-affectionate nickname derives from guests becoming overwhelmed with sadness with the great big beautiful Mickey-clad bus swings by to whisk you back to your airport, as you prepare to depart from the most magical place on earth. It can be heart-wrenching to watch kids and adults alike, face a complete and utter meltdown upon the site of their bus. However, one must agree that despite how hard it is to leave Walt Disney World, the emotional and crushing blow is nothing compared to that of losing one’s own livelihood. Unfortunately, that is the sad reality that several Disney Magical Express drivers are currently facing. Due to the shock of COVID-19, there have been another round of layoffs at Mears Transportation Group, operator of Disney’s Magical Express, according to the Orlando Business Journal.

According to paperwork filed with the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, 104 workers have been laid off over the last several weeks at several Central Florida locations.

Now, as seen through this most recent round of layoffs, 19 employees running out of the Orlando International Airport were let go on July 31, 2020. These employees include those who run Mears shuttle and taxi services, as well as the Disney’s Magical Express service.

The hits just keep on coming as we recently learned of 75 employees who were laid off throughout July from the corporate offices. In addition, 11 employees were laid off from the sales and customer service departments.

Preceding the infamous COVID-19 shutdown, Mears Transportation Group employed roughly 950 people. 83% of the company’s employees were furloughed when the stay-at-home order was enacted.

The first round of layoffs began June 8th, 2020, resulting in the loss of 72.

Now, this second round of layoffs takes an even deeper cut. Combining these with other natural severances, the Mears Transportation Group now only employs an estimated 650 workers.

On the bright side, the company has given notice to laid-off employees that it will immediately rehire positions as soon as they are available when business returns.

Meanwhile, with the stay-at-home orders being lifted in Florida and Walt Disney World once again up and running, hopefully, the travel and tourism industry will be back on its feet in the not-so-distant future.

Our hearts go out to those who were let go from Disney’s Magical Express. If you have ridden one of these modes of transportation, you can attest to the fact that these drivers, despite being employed by a third party, are an extension of Walt Disney World. Often, they serve as a tour guide, making small talk, and sharing a friendly greeting, as well as factoids throughout the drive. They help build excitement on the way to your Disney hotel upon arrival and help ease the pain throughout departure. Regardless, they bridge the gap between Walt Disney World and the real world. Keep this in mind the next time you’re aboard Disney’s Magical Express and be sure to extend your gratitude to these hardworking unsung heroes of the Disney transportation community.

Source: Orlando Business Journal