To say that Disney’s Cast Members have it rough is the understatement of the year. It seems like every week, there are reports of frequent harassment and mistreatment from Guests keep pouring in. With the conditions and elements they have to continuously manage, you would think the company would take care of their staff, but one Cast Member says otherwise.
The Cast Members are the ones that make the Disney Parks operate all around the world. From ride maintenance to character performers, they are the glue that holds a Disney trip together. But in spite of working at some of the most magical places on the planet, conditions for working at the Parks are anything but a fairytale as they continue to face both monetary struggles and abuse from Guests.
In an interview with The Guardian, Earl Penson, a food-handler at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, informed the publication of how the wages of a Disney employee don’t match up with Orlando’s standard of living. Inspired by his father, a former chef for the Parks, Penson followed in his footsteps and has worked at the Magic Kingdom. Even with his wage at $15.50 per hour, that’s after working for Disney for over a decade.
“We’re grossly, grossly underpaid for the hours that we work and the heavy lifting, it’s like warehouse and driver work. A lot of us have the same story in not being able to afford the cost of living on the pay that we make…”
The Cast Member also stated that even with his current job at the Parks, he still has to take up a second position as an electrician on the side. With reports of Disney employees living below the poverty line and some, as Penson stated, are living out of their cars with their families, it casts a dark shadow on “The Place Where Dreams Come True.”
In his interview, Penson also stated this emotional comment regarding his thoughts on the situation,
“It’s really heartbreaking, it’s a morale downer, because you would think they would recognize how hard the cast members work. I wish they would let us know that they appreciate the magic that we bring. Every one of us is a part of the magic of Disney and we enjoy making the magic. We just want to be compensated for making the magic.”
Disney is undergoing a lot of changes, and Penson’s statements only further drive the knife in the heart of every Disney fan. The saddest part of the matter is that Earl Penson is one of thousands currently working at the Disney Parks. There’s no possible way he’s the only one that feels this way, and Disney needs to wake up and take notice. Although there are current developments with Disney, unions, and Florida officials, the call for change continues to grow.
Do you think Disney will improve lives for its Cast Members? Tell us in the comments below!