Disney Cast Members Report Staying For the “Magic” Despite Dismal Treatment

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Bob Iger with Cast Members

Credit: Robert Iger via Twitter

Disneyland Resort surpassed its pre-COVID-19 pandemic number of Cast Members in late 2022, ending months of reported staffing shortages. Unfortunately, an overwhelming workload is just one of many problems Magic Makers face at Disneyland Park, Downtown Disney, and Disney California Adventure.

As The Walt Disney Company fails to negotiate with unions on both coasts successfully, many Disney Cast Members suffer. Southern California Disney employees report sleeping in their cars, delaying medical care, and relying on sex work to survive.

A white male Cast Member in a blue shirt smiles and waves as a Monorail passes by.
Screenshot via Annual Shareholders Meeting

This week, Disney Park Cast Members united on social media to discuss why they stay despite abysmal conditions. It started when Reddit user u/Andrew_Korenchkin asked: “Did you take your job with a genuine love of Disneyland, or simply saw it as a way to make a living?”

The most straightforward and popular answer came from u/pdlbean. “Ain’t nobody staying as a CM without loving the h*ll out of that godforsaken place,” they wrote.

A VIP tour guide Cast Member wearing a mask poses in Carthay Circle at Disney California Adventure.
Credit: Disney

Many commenters echoed their thoughts. “I loved Disney before working in the parks, and I still loved it after I left,” said u/13GraceNotes. “Yes, there are moments and days when you will get jaded as is the case with any job, but it doesn’t really take away from one’s love for Disney.”

“It always starts out with love but eventually reality kicks in and it’s just a job. However it’s the love that keeps people there because lord knows you can make more money ANYWHERE else,” u/BroadwayCatDad wrote.

Two Cast Members in gray and black suits pointing in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Park (Paris).
Credit: Disneyland Paris News

Others said they loved Disneyland Resort so much that leaving for higher pay and a better life hurt. “I loved it, but all of the paths that led towards a living wage took me away from what I loved (having fun directly with guests),” recalled u/fruitjerky.

u/AstroFiction succinctly summarized the Disneyland Cast Members’ thoughts. “I separate my distinction and feelings about ‘Disney’ between the Company and the Magic,” they explained. “The levels of the two vary, but lets just say if I hated both I wouldn’t keep working there.”

Would working at Disneyland or Walt Disney World Resort take away the magic for you? 


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