WDW Blog

Live Shows and Replacements

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Festival of the Lion King was originally on the reopening schedule 

When it was announced that Walt Disney World was going to reopen, the actors for several live shows were called back to work. That decision was quickly reversed, because Disney and Actors’ Equity (the union representing the performers) have not been able to come to terms. That is why many of your favorites are not running right now.

The lack of live shows leaves a bit of a hole, especially at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Disney has tried to add temporary replacements to fill those holes. Savi’s Workshop, which has a ceremony that is led by an Equity performer, is currently selling legacy lightsabers. The Disney Society Orchestra is now performing in place of Beauty & the Beast-Live on Stage. At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Feathered Friends in Flight! is held daily instead of UP! A Great Bird Adventure. As far as we know, these are all just temporary.

I am not going to pretend to be an expert at what is going on between Disney and Actors’ Equity. I read an interesting article about it that stated that the problem goes far beyond Walt Disney World. The root of the problem is Broadway and the Disney shows that play there. I don’t know how much truth there is to that, but since it’s all the same company it makes sense. The article stated that the new regulations would need to be followed by Disney members across the board, it would not be a different set of regulations at the theme parks.

There are rumors of shows that are currently closed that might never reopen. I am not going to comment on that. It’s possible that not everything will reopen (Rivers of Light is a good example), but all of the shows that I’ve heard rumors about are still listed on the Walt Disney World website. This includes UP! and Beauty and the Beast.

I hope that it’s not long before an agreement is reached that will bring back live shows and keep everyone safe. I know a couple of performers who are itching to come back. Disney is doing a fantastic job so far everywhere else, and I have no doubt that they will continue with their safety measures once the performers do return.