Disney Is a ”Nightmare to Work For,” Long-Time Cast Members Say

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Disneyland fireworks over Sleeping Beauty Castle

Credit: Disney

Disneyland Resort is known as “the happiest place on earth,” but it seems Disney Cast Members have a different story in many cases.

Economic Roundtable recently released an in-depth report looking at the wages and many other factors of Disneyland Resort Cast Members compared to inflation and found that Cast Members were “being shortchanged.”

Disneyland did raise the minimum to $15.00 in 2020, but the study found that the average hourly wage for Disneyland Resort workers in real dollars dropped 15% from 2000 to 2017, from $15.80 to $13.36 when you factor in inflation. Almost three-quarters of Disneyland Cast Members say that they don’t earn enough money to cover basic expenses every month and they worry about putting a roof over their heads.

disneyland characters
Credit: Disney

Over half of workers who rent their housing are overcrowded – squeezing too many family members, roommates, or even multiple families into a unit that is too small to accommodate the number of occupants.

“Disney has become a nightmare to work for. The long hours, lack of livable wages, and zero respect has got to stop.” one full-time worker said.

68% of Disneyland Resort Cast Members are food insecure and 76% of those with children under the age of 18 are food insecure.

“After 11 years at the resort, I make $12.02 as my base wage. Why should I drive 30 miles on the 91 and 5 freeways, almost always in heavy traffic, to earn a minimum wage?, a full-time merchandise host who has worked at Disneyland for 11 years.

disneyland resort cast members
Credit: Disney

In addition to wage concerns, more than half (59%) of Disneyland Resort employees who are parents of young children say that their schedules at the Park make it difficult to care for their families and children. 64% of Cast Members report that “the scheduling of my work at the Disneyland Resort makes it difficult to find a second job.”

“I have been working for Disneyland for almost 28 years and I make less than $20 an hour. If I didn’t have my husband to help with the bills and other life expenses, I would be living out of my car, or worse, homeless. Disney has increased admission tickets, food & merchandise has increased too. Yet, the front of line ‘Cast Members’ are struggling to pay their mortgage/rent, groceries, transportation and other daily/monthly bills. I am not asking to get rich by working for Disney, but I am asking for fair pay for fair work. I expect to be able to not worry, to not stress, about having food to eat and a roof over my head,” a Disneyland Cast Member of 28 years said.

Disney Characters at Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Resort in California
Credit: Disney

The study’s conclusion read:

Over the past decade, the number of visitors to Disneyland Resort has increased, the company has increased ticket prices, and overall revenues have grown dramatically. However, during that period, wages for Disneyland Resort workers have steadily declined in real terms. The rank-and-file employees who make Disneyland Resort such a profitable enterprise have not shared in the park’s success.

More On Disneyland Resort

Disney California Adventure has plenty to offer Guests as they walk the roads Walt had in Hollywood, enjoy a hand-dipped corn dog at Award Wieners, check out the new Marvel-themed land in Avengers Campus, where they can meet Spider-Man, Loki, Ant-Man, Black Widow, Doctor Strange, and so many more characters. Don’t forget to check out the glowing lights in Cars Land and ride Radiator Springs Racers. And of course, you have to ride WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure and Guardians of the Galaxy: MISSION BREAKOUT. Rock on the Silly Symphony Swings as well, and go catch Jack-Jack on Incredicoaster!

Avengers campus at night disney California adventure
Credit: Inside the Magic

At Disneyland, there is so much for Guests to enjoy! Now that the mask mandate has dropped for fully vaccinated Guests, Guests can enter buildings without a face covering if they so choose. Walking up to Sleeping Beauty Castle is always a dream, especially when you get to go inside and relive the story of Aurora and Maleficent. Riding classics like “it’s a small world”, Pirates of the Caribbean, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, The Haunted Mansion, Matterhorn Bobsleds, Splash Mountain, and more will have you feeling the magic, and craving a churro! Toontown is currently gearing up for a massive change which will be revealed in 2023 with the reopening of the land, and the debut of Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. Plus, now at Disneyland, Guests can enjoy Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge for some blue milk, or green milk, and ride Rise of the Resistance and Smuggler’s Run.

What do you think of this study on Disney Park Cast Members? Let us know in the comments!

Let the expert team at Academy Travel help you plan your next magical vacation to Walt Disney World’s water parks, four theme parks — Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios — and the Disney Springs shopping and dining district! Or, how about a trip to Disneyland Resort to experience Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure, as well as the Downtown Disney shopping and dining district!

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