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Dear Walt Disney World: It’s Time To Talk

Dear Walt Disney World,

When I first started writing this letter, I was so angry that I couldn’t think of what I wanted to tell you besides that you really hurt me. I never thought something like this would happen to me, or anyone, for that matter. You have to understand that it felt as though my heart was ripped out of my chest when I found out the news from someone that wasn’t even you. But then I took a step back and tried to understand why you did what you did.

On April 3, 2019, I became the happiest girl in the world because I was offered a job to work with you once again. I did my job, barely missed work, and did everything I could to ensure that you were happy and thriving for our wonderful guests. The idea of reaching one year with you was something that I aimed toward, but I never knew if it would happen, and then it did — just not the way I wanted it to.

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Once COVID-19 hit, I knew that we were all confused about what the next few steps would be to keep everyone happy yet safe. When I was first furloughed, I was emotional because I just didn’t know how I was going to pay my bills, but unemployment kept me afloat enough that I could wait until I came back to work. Then August came along.

And then September passed.

And then October finally hit and we were given the news:

“It is with tremendous regret that we must inform you that your employment will be separated effective December 31, 2020.”

Over 77,000 cast members received those words at some point; some had an earlier separation date than me. It was an emotional day when I received the email, because I had spent months shrugging off the idea of a lay-off. I thought I was safe and that all of this would go away before December hit. I cried for so long that the word Disney became almost a triggering moment for me.

It sounds a bit silly, but after working with the company for a year and meeting the best people in the world, I'm heartbroken. There's still a sliver of hope whenever I see the castle that everything will be okay and I will once again work for the Mouse. For now, though, I know that I have to let go and step back until the moment is right again. When that happens, I know I'll be the first person asking to go back to work.

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I thought I'd still be angry about this daunting decision, but I find I’m sort of relieved that I was able to be with my family during this hectic time. One day in the far future we'll all be able to see that maybe this was a good thing, but until then, please understand why anyone else might feel angry and betrayed. Like Dory says, though, I'm gonna “just keep swimming.”

Sincerely,

TaTiana

TaTiana is currently a senior at the University of Central Florida on the way to receive a Bachelor's in English-Creative Writing and a minor in theater. She hopes to pursue a career as an author in the near future. TaTiana spends a lot of her time reading books or writing down new ideas to create her own stories, oftentimes turning to the internet to distract herself from said responsibilities. If she's not in her bedroom reading or writing, one can find her at one of the local theme parks or a winery with her friends. You can find her on Instagram @thisgirltatiana
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