Comments for Florida Theme Park Leaves Guests Angered After Discovering Minimum Wage Costs

Busch Gardens

Credit: Busch Gardens


  1. Steve

    Busch Gardens is a second tier park in every way. Poor customer service, park is not clean and is not even laid out well. The only reason we even go is that it does have several decent roller coasters. But that’s it, can’t compare to top tier parks like Universal and certainly not Disney.

    1. Mnei

      Sounds like a mouse spoke person

  2. Breezy

    With theme parks jacking rates and merch prices, they certainly can afford to pay their staff – the people who actually make the park work – a better than $15 per hour wage. If the minimum wage had kept up with inflation, we’d be at $23-$33 bucks an hour. Let’s stop allowing CEOs to get 340x more than the hourlies do.

    1. Kevin

      My first job was at a theme park, making $5.15/hr. That was exactly minimum wage in New Jersey, in the mid-90s.

      I didn’t complain… no one did. We were kids getting our first jobs during the Summer.

      These positions were never meant to be careers. You’re not meant to be able to afford an apartment or house on a theme park salary, as a crew member. That’s insanity.

      You should want to strive for a better career, so you can afford the things you want. You and your mentality needs to change, if you think otherwise.

      Grow up and get a better job like everyone else. All you’re doing, by fighting for higher minimum wages, is increasing costs for everything, across the board. That’s called inflation.

      1. Common sense

        Inflation isnt caused by people fighting for a higher minimum wage. Minimum wage hasnt increased in years but prices keep rising year after year. Inflation is when companies raise thier prices and pay stays the same which is exactly whats happening. So if CEOs can arbitrarily raise prices to pay themselves more for no extra work then why shouldnt the people actually doing the work expect to afford housing. Saying get a better job is so trashy and tone deaf and lacks a understanding of the real world.

        1. Loretta

          So true. What is fair about raising prices so they can make what they are use to and expecting their employees to survive on lower wages.
          If the company is making up for money they think they have lost and do not take care of their employees, they are extremely poor employers-and we should consider this when planning to go spend a fortune at their attractions. It is true that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. I have no intentions of ever going back or trying to get friends to go

        2. Marym0345

          If it wasn’t for all of us minimum wage people. There wouldn’t be anyone to open and deal with the public so these places can make millions and millions of dollars. I absolutely believe they deserve alot more then minimum wage. I’m sure everyone would love to go get a better job paying alot more but that isn’t possible for everyone. Sometime life doesnt allow that to happen. These people working minimum wage jobs just to put food in their families mouths and keep a roof over their head deserve so much more. They are after all the ones that are doing the actual work while the CEO’s are the ones putting the money in their pockets .

      2. Kim

        “These positions were never meant to be careers.” For summer jobs working at a boardwalk arcade? You’re 100% correct. Those arcades shutter up after Labor Day. Busch Gardens is open every day. Your average high school kid isn’t going to be able to work a part-time shift on Tuesday morning.

      3. SC

        5.15 in the mid 90s is 32 an hour today. Oh by the way, people did go for better careers. Now we have a labor shortage, and I’m sure you’re a “nObOdY wants tO wOrK” person. You think kids deserve to be paid less for putting in work? The greedy gap between the workers and heads is the problem. Everything has already rose in price EXCEPT wages. Where have you been the last 20 years? Lala land apparently.

      4. Donald R Barber

        Guess what? Kids in high school can’t work during weekdays. So that means to staff these parks they need ADULTS. Nobody cares what happened to you when you were younger. If you’d had any sense you would have organized with your fellow workers instead of living off scrapings. This is the 21st Century. Your world of part-time jobs and lemonade stands has faded into the sunset, and hopefully you will, too. You’re not needed and you probably never were.

    2. Fred

      Good response, Disney ,Universal and Busch Gardens dictates the low wages in the whole state,it rarely gets mentioned and the governor would rather blow Florida sunshine up is than doing anything about it!

  3. Timothy K Hilling

    We are so short staffed and so under paid and unappreciated by management and guests. With pay this low only ones who appky are teenagers who don’t give a damn. Thise of us who do care are few and far between.

    1. Rich

      The real problem is not the pay, but the cost of living and out of control inflation, transportation (oil) costs, ect. If people were paying attention to politicians who said they were going to enact policies that would drive up transportation costs before voting “against the bad orange man”, we would have lower cost of goods. That’s really the problem. We cannot continue supporting politicians who openly claim to be working for “the little guy” while enacting policy that will crush them, creating a larger problem than they had before the pay increase. The real problem is that the cost of living is rising faster than the pay can naturally increase. This is not good. Other people that have openly embraced Socialism have people using wheelbarrow s full of cash to buy a loaf of bread (where they can find it). Socialism will NEVER work. You cannot provide for everyone equally through government spending and support. It’s just not going to happen. Please vote against those who promise a “living wage guarantee”. It’s just not possible to sustain this runaway, wreckless spending. WAKE UP & VOTE!!!!

      1. JJ

        Hey Rich, you are obviously out of touch with reality. The problem isn’t what you think it is, but neither is the solution. You probably still believe in trickle down economics. You are aware that didn’t work, right?

        1. Leroy

          I’m pretty sure he summed up the problem and solution. You just provide insults and no solution. That’s part of the problem in this country.

      2. Alex

        Obviously you lack critical thinking skills. My employees get paid a living wage and do from the start. They stay because I treat them well on top of not paying dirt. So I am able to keep my employees happy and in turn keeps my customers happy. Y’all 😂 it’s basic. Being a business owner doesn’t mean you get to play Scrooge with all your money and let everyone under you fight for scraps. I wouldn’t have a business without my employees, they make operations run. I just realize this and compensate as such. Why would I take 10x amount of my workers when they’re the reason my business is still running? Doesn’t that seem like a good way to cause your business to go under if you have no employees or poor employees that drive customers away?

        1. Cathy

          Keep up the great work of treating employees as you would like to be treated!! I wish more employers were just like you…

      3. SC

        We already have socialism here. WAKE UP!!

      4. Will B Wonker

        If Trump had won we wouldn’t have to worry about any of that.. because we’d all be dead from Covid.

      5. Rich, I assume that’s your status as well as your name! You must be one the fortunate wealthy blind that benefitted by the largest tax reduction in history for the wealthy!! I see why you’re kissing up to the orange man, but most of us had to earn it the hard way. I did better myself to have a good paying career as a union electrician, but the orange man despises labor efforts like his daddy taught him.

        1. Kj

          Everyone wants to work a min wage job but expects top pay. You also can’t come close comparing Bush gardens to Disney

  4. Jordan

    As a business owner I am aware of the expense of running a business. Owning the property, taxes for property, taxes on the wages of all employees, liability of those employees, benefits and insurance for those employees. These jobs aren’t careers they are stepping stones. People talk about a living wage like an employer is responsible for making sure you have enough money for all your needs to be met. You save your money and create a business and then talk to me when all the whiners come complaining that $30/hr you gave them isn’t enough to live on. Grow up people.

    1. Alex

      I also own a business, if you want to stay in business (have employeees) you either have to compensate them correctly or ensure you have the best possible working conditions. Sadly, people in the parks (customers) make for not the best working conditions. And by your logic, who would be left to serve you at a restaurant, at a store, in a theme park? No one. So instead of belittling people in service that just want to make enough to survive, think about that 🙄

      1. Chris B

        “if you want to stay in business (have employeees) you either have to compensate them correctly”. So what you are doing is basically begging them to stay working for you so you’re paying them whatever they want? You’re not a very good business owner.

    2. Brib Tosh

      It must suck to work for you given that you think you can decide the careers of others. I bet you are the first to complain that people won’t work for your crappy pay.

    3. Donald R Barber

      You deserve to run your business by yourself with no employees. I hope you’ve made your employees well aware of your attitude and they all walk out on you as a group. That is EXACTLY what you deserve.

  5. Brittany

    I am a former employee of busch gardens and agree the wage for employees should be hire. Since they pay so little you are told when hired it is the perks of free entrance into all parks for sea world entertainment, discounted merchandise, discounted food, free parking and free passes for family is why the pay is low. But at that rate employees put very little effort in working and you work either very little hours or a lot of hours depending on area of park. I applied for weekend only but was scheduled times i was not available and i had to quit which í am not able to be rehired because of management of the area didn’t care about anything but herself which cost a lot of people who did care as a employee. So with the pay you get when hired and management who are lazy and rude to staff and guest you are not going to have people to work there. I would go back i enjoyed it and did it for extra money, i also have seen all the changes and wish same would be back the old way because some is just a waste of money

    1. M

      If you need the job , and you were scheduled to work hours that are needed to be covered, that does not make the manager a bad person. It makes her a person with responsibilities trying to make someone else (ahem, you) be responsible as well. Employers do not have to manage your life. You need to manage your life around the needs of the job, if you want the reward of cash in your pocket.

  6. Rroe

    Bob Paycheck from Disney is a prime example of this. He buys 12 million dollar homes off the backs of his underpaid employees at the Disney theme parks. Disney has shown they care less about guests and value the almighty dollar the most.

  7. Kevin

    My first job was at a theme park, making $5.15/hr. That was exactly minimum wage in New Jersey, in the mid-90s.

    I didn’t complain… no one did. We were kids getting our first jobs during the Summer.

    These positions were never meant to be careers. You’re not meant to be able to afford an apartment or house on a theme park salary, as a crew member. That’s insanity.

    You should want to strive for a better career, so you can afford the things you want. You and your mentality needs to change, if you think otherwise.

    Grow up and get a better job like everyone else. All you’re doing, by fighting for higher minimum wages, is increasing costs for everything, across the board. That’s called inflation.

  8. Annie Girl

    I worked at Busch Gardens back in the 90s as a teenager. Not only was I only paid minimum wage but they make it nearly impossible to get a full-time position unless you’ve been there for years. I was also left to be the closer for multiple stores and run all the cash deposits at 16 years old. Not much has changed since the 90s even though they are under different ownership

    1. Try UPS they are very bad

  9. George Hartley

    The high price of Disney is just because it’s like a cult..you see tic to s constantly with people paying $75 and up for ears over priced food with portions cut recently…horrible….Busch gardens should charge more, put in more flat rides, clay employees more…if you still want a great park that pays well, has great shows, excellent food , and treats employees like a great family…SKIP ORLANDO, go to DOLLYWOOD in tenesee

  10. Donovan

    As a current busch gardens employee i can confirm that this article is very accurate. I would also like to point out that since late August-September they dropped the pay from 13 back down to 10 dollars an hour for new highers. So i am currently making 13 an hour while the new people only make 10. I feel like that pay gap isn’t fair for the new employees.

  11. Trent

    Hey look minimum wage is going up! Hey look prices are going up! The cycle continues.

    You want competitive pay based on your value and performance without fluctuations in prices? Abolish minimum wage.

    1. Donald R Barber

      Said no qualified economist ever.

  12. Sharona

    I just checked on Indeed and the jobs posted all paid $13 per hour for a game operator – a job not requiring a college degree. This is Do your homework before deciding to comment. We were at BGT on Saturday & the Ambassadors were awesome we had a great time & no issues at all.

    1. David

      The game operator is *up to 13. You’re paid a bonus on players you attract. But aren’t allowed to engage people

    2. Michael Park

      So wrong. People cant survive on that. Rentis out of control, foodprices are out of control. The rich keep getting richer and the poor get poorer. But socialism is not the answer. So what do we do? Look at congress. They make a salary of $100,000 a year but yet there net worth goes up millions every year. This is why they stay in congress for decades. The system is broken.

  13. Gayle

    A Living Wage at $15.00 an Hour if that what all the Parks Around You Are Paying you Should be on the Same Level, if You Also Exspect the Same Quailty of Service and cleaniness.

    Inflation Has Climbed – But Yet the Minimum Wage Has Remained Stagnant for Many years. May People Have to work Multiple Jobs – Just Because the Minimum Wage is Unlivable!

    Don’t Just Assume these people Even Have the Option to Afford to Go to College & “Get A Better Job”

  14. Ricky Abraham Jr

    Your unskilled labor plain and simple!

    1. Donald R Barber

      So treat them like the serfs they are, right? Fascist.

  15. Jack

    LOL! at all these “business owners” yammering on a blog about how actual business owners should run their companies.

  16. Natisha

    Unfortunately the cost of living increases daily, monthly and yearly for working americans everywhere. If Bush Gardens wants to remain standing with happy caring employees and happy customers then they should vow to pay thier employees 15.00 hr. Working full time takes dedication. Citizens rely on a decent income to live. Better pay equals a happy Bush Garden employee who give customers a reason to come back.

    1. Trent

      “Unfortunately the cost of living increases daily, monthly and yearly for working americans everywhere.”

      Yes, this is true. But have you ever taken any thought as to why this is true and how it could be stopped? Since you seem to believe this to be true then why is THAT not the problem, opposed to your claim that too low of minimum wage is the the problem. Find the root of the problem and solve that and everything will fall into place. Forget about the never ending rat race of minimum wage vs inflation that will NEVER end.

  17. Bilbo Biggly

    So Disney pays $15 and all people do is complain about the ticket, merh and food prices. SeaWorld /Busch Gardens still has affordable tickets, merch and food and people are upset the staff doesn’t make as much? You can’t have both people…

  18. Lib

    The reduction in wages due to Bidflation has been much more severe than the reduction the goofy CEO instituted, but hey, keep your eye on the bouncing ball……

  19. Aaron Cobb

    Nobody has a right to demand how much a company pays its employees. If they don’t like the pay they have every right to seek employment elsewhere. Had I done better in school and applied myself more I would be making more money and at a better job🤷🏻

    1. Donald R Barber

      They have just as much right as you do to spout your ignorant, fascist opinions.

  20. Roger

    I agree pay should go up since everything’s so much more expensive here in Florida. Homes are more expensive so is rent, utilities, insurance health, death and auto so really if you think about it is $15.00 all that much to ask for? I think not.
    Just know, once all wages go up SO DOES THE PRICE OF ADMISSION. You gotta pay to play. Me? I no longer go to ANY theme parks. They are only for the rich and well to do.

  21. David

    The wages in tampa are in general way less than tampa. Fast food places in orlando are paying up to 14 dollars an hour with sign on bonus and still can’t find employees. My sister who lives in Tampa (I live in orlando) says those jobs are still minimum wage.

  22. Alysha Drufresnee

    Why do you always capitalize “guests”? lol. You are not Walt Disney World. You didn’t coin a new term for “employee” like Disney did with “cast member”. Even Disney doesn’t capitalize “cast member”.

    1. Why do Canadians always have 2 cents about the USA. For a country preaching so much I only see the privileged class of Canada visiting Florida

  23. No Thanks

    His name is NEAL Thurman not “Neil”.. google is an easy platform to use if you are gonna go ahead and be a journalist.


  24. Perfecto Leon

    Busch gardens, SeaWorld are barely making it. I dont know where the author is getting the numbers and the article is disingenuous, conflating Disney and Universal. Check Busch annual pass cost compared to the other ones. They have gone through a few CEOs none of them had a winning attitude, they are strictly in survival mode. They keep cutting corners to survive. I have had a 3 park annual pass for over 14 years that keeps offering a smaller value. At the rate they are going, I only give them a couple of years. The value is in the land and Tampa is growing.

  25. Blue eyes

    They charge 30 dollars to park in there parking lot. That’s more then universal charge’s. Give some of that money back to the employees. We went during Christmas and everyone was great. We had a wonderful time.

  26. The dearly loved Disney uses part-time employees and people who are doing court mandated work to pay fines. There is also the college program that uses students for little or no income. Do your homework before you put Universal or Disney on some pedestal.

    1. Deb

      Yes, Disney can not run without the College Program kids who are getting paid $13-14 per hour to be there for 6-12 months & have their rent deducted from their paychecks. They have to be available for ANY hours at ANY position (no matter what their skills or degree are) & often work 12 hour days 6 days a week & get blocked out of the “perks” of getting into the parks. No sick days – they actually get “termed” for taking too many sick days, even with a medical note explaining that they are contagious.

  27. David

    Everything is a balance. Would you want employees to get paid more if it meant higher ticket prices? What if it meant closing several rides or ending free shows? What if keeping wages the same meant adding the greatest new ride?

    My point is, I understand the sentiment and prices at these parks are so CRAZY high, but I know there is a tradeoff as well.

  28. Tom Perri

    Sounds like the employees should go to work for Disney. It’s a free society. They can work anywhere. Free market allows the pay to be what the market dictates.

  29. SG

    No one should have to work two jobs to pay the rent, Hillsborough County is not cheap. Raise everyone’s wage starting at $15!

  30. Jw57

    Always ask yourself who are the top ten paid employees, CEO, CFO, CIO, those type people and what are their salaries and benefit packages…

  31. Jerry Shelton

    Higher labor costs lead to higher prices. It is that simple. The price of labor, just like anything else, is dictated by supply and demand. The rarer the talent and skills you can provide to an employer, the higher the wage you can demand. Do not be upset because you made poor choices that led to having a lower paying job. If you want a higher salary, earn it. Go back to school, get a degree and then earn a certification in your field of choice. Stop waiting for society to give you something; go earn it!

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