Universal Orlando Resort and Walt Disney World Resort have been in competition for more than 30 years.
For most of the competitive life between the two, Disney World has held a strong upper hand on the competition. However, over the course of the last couple of years, the tides have begun to change.
Universal Orlando Resort– home to Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Universal’s Volcano Bay, and Universal CityWalk– has begun work on a third theme park, Epic Universe, which will open in 2025. In addition, Universal Studios Hollywood is in the midst of opening Super Nintendo World and Universal Parks & Resorts just announced the expansion of two new theme parks, one in Frisco, Texas, and the other in Las Vegas, which is expected to be a Halloween Horror Nights experience year-round.
Universal Orlando hasn’t been satisfied with just the construction of the Epic Universe, either.
New rides and experiences, like Jurassic World VelociCoaster, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, the highly-anticipated Villain-Con Minion Blast, and the immersive Wizarding World of Harry Potter, has made Universal a destination in itself.
Now, Universal is doing even more to get ahead of the competition.
Universal announced that it would be hiring more than 2,000 new jobs at the same time that Disney announced 7,000 layoffs. In the midst of fights between Disney and labor unions for a pay increase, Universal also just announced that it would be raising the minimum wage for its workforce to $17.00 per hour.
Universal Orlando sent a strong message to Walt Disney World
Universal Orlando Resort President Karen Irwin confirmed in an email that the pay raise would be implemented beginning June 4, 2023.
“To that end, effective June 4, 2023, we are not only increasing our starting base rate to $17 per hour, but we are increasing many of our starting rates across the business,” she said. “In addition, many Team Members will receive an increase based on the new rates and their time with the company. More details about how this individually impacts Team Members will be shared in the coming weeks.”
But, that’s not the only message that Universal sent out.
In another statement, a Universal Orlando spokesperson said that “wage is just one element” of what the company is attempting to do as it looks to better its workforce.
“Wage is just one element of our continued focus on building an even better Universal Orlando work experience,” the official told reporter Scott Gustin. “We aspire to be the employer of choice in this market– providing an inclusive environment where Team Members are proud to work, have an opportunity to grow and feel a real sense of purpose and belonging.”
The competition is certainly heating up and Universal’s statement that it “aspires to be the employer of choice in this market” confirms that the plan is to surpass Disney, and they’re clearly on their way with the way they’re trying to take care of Universal Park Team Members.
What do you think of Univeral’s strong message to Walt Disney World? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments below!