Supreme Court Shuts Down Disney’s Fight Against Wages

in Disneyland Resort

California Supreme Court ignores Disney's appeal.

Credit: Disney

A California Supreme Court has ignored Disney’s attempt to appeal a ruling that would forever change the iconic Disneyland Resort.

Disneyland After Dark
Credit: Disney

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The Walt Disney Company has faced quite a few challenges in recent years, especially in 2023. This year marked the year The Walt Disney Company lost control over the former Reedy Creek Improvement District, a special ruling in Florida that allows the Walt Disney World Resort to act as its own city. Because of the special way this district was set up, Disney was able to employ its own first responders, city workers, and other employees, creating a community outside of the massive theme park.

The Reedy Creek Improvement District was taken over by Gov. Ron DeSantis following numerous threats, all of which started after Disney, under the leadership of former CEO Bob Chapek, decided to speak out against a controversial piece of Florida legislation. Eventually, this district was taken over by the state of Florida and renamed the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD).

reedy creek improvement district sign
Credit: WikiMedia

The Walt Disney Company has also faced some critical pushback within its theme park division. In 2021, a guest filed a lawsuit claiming Disney misled them regarding their purchase of a Disneyland Annual Pass. This lawsuit dragged on for quite a while until a judge ordered Disney to pay nearly $10 million in 2023, with over 100k guests eligible for payment.

Disneyland is also facing an issue regarding wages, but the California Supreme Court might have ended the discussion forever.

In a new report from the Los Angeles Times, the California Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal from The Walt Disney Company regarding an Anaheim wage law, which Disney had argued applied to its cast members. This development could pave the way for wage increases at the southern California resort.

Entrance of Disneyland
Credit: Miranda Jones / Flickr

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This dispute between Disneyland cast members and the company began in 2018 when voters passed a law ordering companies who were using Anaheim’s “tax rebate” agreements with the city to apply a $15 minimum wage to all eligible employees. This law applied to the Disneyland Resort, meaning cast members had a wage increase on the way.

An Anaheim City attorney argued these changes would not apply to Disneyland, but a class-action lawsuit representing 25,000 theme park workers was filed in 2019, pushing this issue to the forefront. Originally, an Orange County Superior Court judge sided with Disney. However, the ruling was overturned this summer by a three-judge panel.

“Disney’s at the end of the road in terms of appeals,” said Sarah Grossman-Swenson, an attorney representing Disneyland cast members. “The appellate decision is clear that Disney is required to comply with the law. The only issue left is the amount of damages.”
Disney Cast Members welcome Guests as they enter through Magic Kingdom for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party
Credit: Walt Disney World

This is not just a Disneyland thing, as guests will find cast members all across the world, with Disney employing the best of the best. These cast members are crucial to the overall Disney park experience, with many guests creating lifelong memories thanks to the wonderful service of these employees.

In August, Disney filed an appeal with the Supreme Court, claiming the court redefined what a tax rebate is in a move that would hurt private-public business relationships. The California Supreme Court has refused to hear this appeal, marking the end of the road for Disneyland’s hopes of delaying this ruling any further.

“We are aware of the court’s decision and will be complying with the requirements of Measure L,” said Jessica Good, a Disneyland Resort spokesperson.

What do you think about this story? Have you ever visited the original Disneyland Resort?

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