Orange County

‘I don’t blame Disney,’: Furloughed cast members failed by unemployment auto-enroll promise

ORLANDO, Fla. — Not even Disney cast members are immune to the problems of Florida’s unemployment system.

As the state's largest single-site employer, Disney partnered with Florida government to auto-enroll cast members before they were furloughed.

But many are discovering the failure in Tallahassee is something not even Disney can overcome.

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Forty percent of the workers in Florida who have applied for unemployment have been denied

Now, we are discovering that many of those workers, worked for Disney.

"What I do hear from several cast members is they are in the same boat, they were denied,” said furloughed Disney cast member, Laura Colt.

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Colt woke up Monday to discover the state has denied her claim. A claim that Gov. Ron DeSantis said would be handled for cast members.

“I don't blame Disney, it's unemployment,” Colt said. “I'm sure Disney had all their i's dotted and t's crossed they were trying to make it easier on everyone, but unemployment has failed."

"I am part of the group that got furloughed for April 19,” said furloughed Disney cast member, Cheryl Kendall.

Kendall has been with Disney for two decades and was also denied. She has more than enough work history to qualify for the state $275 a week.

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“When I logged in, it showed ineligible status and it still showed ineligible status this morning,” Kendall said.

For these workers, Disney is still paying benefits, but unemployment was supposed to come from the state, and the state has failed.

Channel 9 reached out to both the Department of Economic Opportunity as well as the Governor’s Office with questions about the cast members. DEO responded with an FAQ that did not address the issue and the Governor’s Office didn’t respond.

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