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Buyout Deadline at Disney Ends Today

April 27, 2001|Richard Verrier and E. Scott Reckard

With today the deadline for Walt Disney Co. workers to accept voluntary severance offers, about three-quarters of the employees targeted have taken the buyout, Disney chief Michael Eisner said Thursday. "I think the number of people we'll have to let go will be fairly limited," Eisner said, addressing Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and about 100 state managers in Tallahassee. "I do think you run things better leaner."

Eisner's comments come four weeks after Disney announced that it would cut 4,000 jobs companywide by July in response to the sluggish economy. The move--the largest layoff in the Burbank-based company's history as it struggles to boost its bottom line--is expected to save $300 million to $400 million annually.

Separately Thursday, Disney, looking to light up lower-than-expected attendance at its new California Adventure theme park, said it intends to bring back the crowd-pleasing Main Street Electrical Parade that ended at Disneyland five years ago. The decision to restart the parade follows a disappointing spring vacation period.

Attendance at California Adventure has been "softer than we anticipated when we opened" in February, Disney spokesman John McClintock said. He said the new park's customers were clamoring for more to do at night. The electrical parade, which first ran in 1972 and has played at other Disney parks, stopped its run at Disneyland in 1996.

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