Abigail Disney was “livid” after seeing worker conditions at Disneyland

in Disney, Disneyland Resort, Theme Parks

Abigal Disney sees Disneyland working conditions

Credit: Fast Company / Disney

It’s not every day an heiress visits Disneyland…and it may be even rarer for the heiress of The Walt Disney Company to visit the Happiest Place on Earth. Heiress to the Disney fortune Abigail Disney recently went to Disneyland Resort and says she was “livid” after seeing the working conditions there.

A message from a distressed worker prompted Abigail Disney to go undercover to Disneyland to understand the grievances that employees of The Walt Disney Company face. Yahoo! reports that Abigail Disney found Disneyland Resort to be a façade that was about to crack under pressure.

“Every single one of these people I talked to were saying, ‘I don’t know how I can maintain this face of joy and warmth when I have to go home and forage for food in other people’s garbage,’” she recalled in an interview, saying that it was not the work environment her grandfather Roy O. Disney sought out to create.

“I was so livid when I came out of there because, you know, my grandfather taught me to revere these people that take your tickets, that pour your soda,” she continued. “Those people are much of the recipe for success.”

Abigail Disney, who is also a filmmaker and philanthropist, discussed her experience going undercover at Disneyland when she appeared on the weekly Yahoo! news show “Through Her Eyes,” hosted by human rights activist Zainab Salbi, that explores contemporary news issues from a female perspective. During her interview, she also shared that she aims to bring The Walt Disney Company’s pay practices to light in an effort to preserve a work culture of respect that originated with her grandfather, Roy O. Disney, Walt Disney’s brother.

Abigal Disney sees Disneyland working conditions
Credit: Broadimage/REX/Shutterstock

“When my grandfather worked there, he hired people there to have a job for life,” she said, sharing her belief that the company’s respect for its workers has gradually declined over the past few decades.

This isn’t the first time Abigail Disney has called out The Walt Disney Company (and chairman and CEO Bob Iger in particular) for its pay practices. Back in April after it became known that the CEO made $65.6 million during the 2018 fiscal year, the heiress called Iger’s corporate payout “insane” and shared that it has a “corrosive impact on society.” According to her calculations, Iger could have awarded a 15% raise to every Disneyland employee and still pocket $10 million in his own compensation. Following Abigail Disney’s interview with Fast Company, The Walt Disney Company issued a statement in defense of the pay structure, specifically regarding how they compensate Disneyland employees.

“Disney has made historic investments to expand the earning potential and upward mobility of our workers, implementing a starting hourly wage of $15 at Disneyland that’s double the federal minimum wage, and committing up to $150 million for a groundbreaking education initiative that gives our hourly employees the opportunity to obtain a college or vocational degree completely free of charge,” the statement read.

The Walt Disney Company has yet to issue another public statement in response to Abigail Disney’s most recent interview sharing her qualms with the working conditions at Disneyland Resort. We’ll update this article as this story develops.

Update (7/16): Disneyland rebukes Abigail Disney’s claims regarding poor working conditions

Update (7/17): The Walt Disney Co. says Abigail Disney’s claims are “baseless”

Source: Yahoo!

26 Comments

  1. Avatar

    They don’t have to work there.

    1. Avatar

      Jeremiah McKenna

      No, they don’t. They could either get some skills and move up to a position that pays more, or go elsewhere and work full time.

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        Mark

        They can not move up regardless of their life experience working there. Some nimrod decided managers MUST have a degree. That ends the dreams for the hourly worker that can not afford college (colleges do not teach how to be a Disney eager, crap rule)

        1. Avatar

          A. Non. Omous

          This is why Disney is offering free tuition. It totally negates any excuse that says, “I can’t afford to get a degree”. When I worked there, on numerous levels, all my managers and senior managers had degrees and had no clue what was going on. This is the beginning of the end for Disney. Sit back, smell the artificial wood burning smell, and watch Rome fall.

    2. Avatar

      Julie p

      True they don’t have to work there. But Disney has been someone childhood and be able to make magic and make children smile and be happy for at least one moment is the best feeling in the world. I dream I having a job at Disneyland, I want to be able to give a child a moment where they feel special I was a child who got made fun of a lot and at Disney I was treated like a normal person maybe even like a celebrity. So I believe people want to be part of that magic and maybe that’s why they work there but being underpaid to even have to deal with a guest who feels they are entitled to things all because their annual pass holders aren’t right. I as an annual pass holder have seen other people get made all because they stand a place where it’s clearly not to be meant to stand and they’re yelling because they’ve asked them to keep walking and that isn’t right they probably have safety protocols and people ignore them all because they’re annual pass holder and no one ever stands up for them. So I think it’s unfair for your comments and for those wonderful people to be underpaid and treated badly!!

      1. Avatar

        maria e.rodriguez

        work for disney a 13$ for hour and keep the family going with this paycheck make. the life to hard, this salary is not enough for a family of 4. I wish the lady abigail disney ,can do something for the employees, who finaly is face of disney, always smiling for the thousands of visitors every day.

  2. Avatar

    My daughter is a Cast Member at Disneyland ad it is a crock that they start at 15.00 an hour. My daughter is making 12.50 she works like a dog , she always does her best. Her hours get cut or she is early released because the park is slow. Luckily she lives with me and I can help her make her bills but she has friends that cannot make their rent because of being early released or hours cut. Unfair be

  3. Avatar

    Davina

    yes this needs To be Investigated more cuz the some hired up executives don’t remember what it’s like to be amoung The guest anymore. It’s not all enjoyable when u see it first hand.

    1. Avatar

      Jessica

      That comment about a base pay of 15 an hour is a blatant LIE!!!!! I work at a food location. I have been there more than a year, and my base pay is 1w.00 with a .75 premium. That’s 12.75 an hour. There are others who make less. I have homeless coworkers.

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        Elena

        I work in retail at Disneyland through the union. The ones who make 15/hr are those through the union only. I’m not sure what deal foods made and that’s why they make 11:50.

        1. Avatar

          Kenny

          Foods is union as well

  4. Avatar

    Elaine

    For what 1 person pays to get in, I am shocked they don’t earn more. Iger is a greedy bastard! Walt never expected his company to be turned into somewhere only the rich could afford.
    My daughter is 19 and has NEVER been to DL. 🤷🏼‍♀️No loss between the disproportionate price to wait lines. 😱

  5. Avatar

    June

    These workers go through so much. they should definitely get paid a lot more. I know a lot of people that work here and a lot of people that get anxiety from How the guest treat them to how their CO workers and management treat them. I realize no one forces them to work there but walt Disney himself would not want his workers to work in such conditions. It is supposed to be the happiest place on Earth and yet if the workers are going through so much turmoil how can they make the guests experience great if the workers themselves feel miserable. Things definitely need to change in this company.

    1. Avatar

      Jennifer Kelsey

      Thanks for your insight. Although I have never worked for Disney myself, I have known friends and family that have worked there…..I hope that someday Disneyland will become more affordable for the average family to visit at least once a year. All full time employees should be protected under the union and part time workers should be compensated for the hours they put in.
      Walt Disney would be rolling in his grave if he new how poorly some employees were being treated, let go when close to retirement age, and how expensive it is for the average person to enjoy a day or two at the theme park. Thanks for your comments….I hope for all our sakes, things improve and that the rich don’t continue to get richer.

  6. Avatar

    Sgt

    So then why hasn’t Abigail Disney donated her fortune to those working at Disney, and she only live off of a million dollars? What has she contributed to any of the Disney company? She may be a philanthropist, but she is not a CEO of a large company that literally spans the globe.
    Another thing is, like she said, no one is forcing these people to work there.
    From what I understand, and I could be mistaken, the $15 per hour is for full time workers. If there are people getting their hours cut, then I’m sure they are part time, and can use the rest of their time to get another part time job, or get a full time job that requires some sort of skill, and earn more money. Not to mention California costs too much to live in.

  7. Avatar

    I am a bus driver for Magic Kingdom Orlando, we find its unfair that the people who transport linens, costumes and non-vital lives are paid more than bus drivers. We transport lives. We are also grouped together with housekeeping. They get tipped as for us we don’t. We were also told if a guest tips us. We are to turn it over to the Managers. What are they going to do with it. PUT IT IN THEIR POCKETS. How about profit sharing. Then WDW won’t have to be concerned when Bus Drivers threatened to strike!!

    1. Avatar

      Sgt

      Go ahead and strike. Uber is already in the parks, and will simply bring in more cars to transport the guests.

      1. Avatar

        Will

        You have no idea the level of transportation requirements almost 500 buses on a very delicate system Uber’s couldn’t get the job done by the next day.

  8. Avatar

    Cookie

    As far as Abigail Disney, if she cares so much, she should change it and not have the Disney name be in the hands of greedy people. As far as the workers, most of them know what they’re getting into and work there for the “Disney experience”. The truth is that it isn’t forced upon you to work there and you may choose to work somewhere else. Even McDonald’s pays better than Disney for just cleaning bathrooms. Find something else and believe me that Disney will replace those spots quickly with other people who are dying to have the experience of working at a Disney park. Unfortunately, some people in charge of those kind of companies are greedy and don’t see the poor persons point of view(just like managers in a normal job). That’s what happens when the family company is operated by other people who don’t share your vision or care what it stands for. I personally don’t agree but at the end of the day It is what it is and Disney will continue to be run that way and people will still spend their money and pay to go there or move to work there.. /:

  9. Avatar

    Jonae Coleman

    I moved from Colorado to Florida to work for Disney World I knew I was going from an almost $40/hr job to $11.18 to work security for this company. I have almost 28 years law enforcement experience, but I needed a change and wanted to be in Florida. Why not go to work for the Happiest place on earth… NOT, farthest thing from it in fact. They treat their employees HORRIBLY!!!! And pay them near to morning. Every day I watched as this company made millions of dollars on a daily basis and their employees are barely surviving. EXTREMELY SAD! I will NEVER buy Disney again!!!! I was fortunate I had options some of their employees DONT!! It’s a shame and they need to be CALLED OUT!!! But hey Bob Iger is living large, you should be ashamed.

  10. Avatar

    Alison

    Disney need to wake up and realise their most important asset is their size staff. Pay them a decent wage and you’ll attract happy and hard working staff. Pay them a pittance and fire them when they aren’t happy just results ultimately in poor customer service. It really isn’t rocket science but does mean the fat cat bosses relinquish some of their profit / own pay increases.

  11. Avatar

    STEVE

    It is well known in Florida that Disney jobs are NOT well regarded. Maybe for a retired person just looking for part time SURVIVOR MONEY its fine but from what I hear the bennies suck and the pay is worse. I happened to share a taxi with two waitresses on vacation in Nassau, Bahamas. They were from Great Britain and Ireland. They DO make quite a bit of money but are treated basically like slaves. Their dormitory is NOT FREE and the living conditions are far from resort life. In fact their unit was infested with ants. They couldn’t wait for their two year ‘SENTENCE” TO BE UP”

  12. Avatar

    Ali

    Not surprising, but not just Disney. The school I work at we get paid $11/hour to work in autistic and special needs support! This is working with kids who still need diaper changes in elementary school, some who are non verbal, etc. It is a labor of love and a LOT of work but we get paid less than people working at Disney. Many of us have degrees and this is still the pay. If the job doesn’t pay the bills, time to get a new job. If you are in the job because you like it, not for the pay, then it’s not a bad deal.

  13. Avatar

    Susan Jones

    “Every single one of these people said…” that I have to go home and forage for food in other people’s garbage.”

    So she is saying EVERY person she talked to is going through others’ garbage for food? Seriously? I don’t believe it. Who else heard it? Is she on a mission and is she all there? Okay, we get it that they aren’t paid enough but to say EVERY PERSON is going through others’ garbage as an actual fact is a ridiculous statement!

  14. Avatar

    I will say that the cast members at Disney World seem a lot happier with their jobs and seem to enjoy how they are treated. Last time we went to Disneyland, it seemed like the cast members were all rebelling against the amazing training I know they receive! Those issues have got to be addressed if the Disney Corp wants to keep Disneyland on the world’s top destination list.

  15. Avatar

    Debbie

    She needs to go to Disney world as well. The employee get no respect at all from noon.

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