‘It is really frustrating': Walt Disney World cast members say they have yet to receive unemployment benefits

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — In April, Walt Disney World cast members were auto-enrolled into Florida’s unemployment system. More than a month later, many said they still have not seen any benefits, and anger is building.

“I’ve reached out to Gov. DeSantis, and there is no answer back,” a Disney cast member said in a Zoom call.

“He never answers, never answers back,” quickly replied another.


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Cast members have built online Facebook groups for those still missing unemployment benefits, places where they share frustration with the state’s inability to process claims.

“I’ve worked there full time for 23 years, so there is not an issue with hours or anything like that,” a cast member said. “I call back and they say, 'Your account, you need to do verification.' I've done that and then I get an email back saying, 'You don’t need to do that.'”

All the cast members in the group were auto-enrolled into DEO’s CONNECT unemployment system, yet none have received any money.

“We all got enrolled, I went on and found the account and filled out everything I need to fill out. And you can look at it today, it still says active but there has been no change on the page whatsoever,” said Elizabeth Banko, who has been with Disney since 1989.

LIVE UPDATES: State approves reopening plans for Disney World, SeaWorld

“It is really frustrating especially when you go one every day and see that nothing has changed,” cast member Andy Manning said. “What sort of wage determination do they need? I’ve worked for Disney for four years this year.”

Manning has a son who works at Universal and is still on partial salary and another son who works at Disneyland in Anaheim, California.

“My other son works for Disney in California, he was furloughed the same day and he actually got his first payment in advance of his furlough,” Manning said.