Mickey Mouse and Cinderella Prepare for Historic Vote That Could Alter Their Appearances at Disney Forever

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Mickey Mouse and Cinderella wave in front of a Disney castle with a large speech bubble that says "Goodbye!" The sky is blue, and the scene is cheerful.

Credit: Inside The Magic

Mickey Mouse and Cinderella, along with nearly 2,000 other Disney cast members, are gearing up for a historic vote that could alter guests’ experiences of these beloved characters.

Image of a person dressed as Cinderella and a person suited as Mickey Mouse holding picket signs saying "unionize!" in front of the Disney company headquarters.
Credit: Inside The Magic

Nearly 2,000 Disney Cast Members Prepare for Unionization Vote That Could Alter the History of Disneyland California

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has announced an onsite union election set to occur at Disneyland from May 15-18 for Disney Cast Members involved in character performances or parades at Disneyland, California Adventure, and Disney-operated hotels in Anaheim. Last month, on April 17, a significant majority of the 1,700 individuals portraying Disney characters at the Disneyland Resort’s parades, meet-and-greets, and character dining experiences filed for an election with the NLRB, seeking union recognition with Actors’ Equity Association as their bargaining representative.

These Cast Members, encompassing performers, hosts, leads, and trainers, believe that collective bargaining with their employer, The Walt Disney Company, could enhance both their lives and the overall Guest experience at Disneyland. While most of Disneyland’s workforce is already unionized, the absence of unionization among those in the Characters and Parades departments stands out, especially considering their counterparts performing similar roles at Walt Disney World in Florida, which have been unionized for decades.

Voting in the union election is scheduled to occur onsite at Disneyland on Wednesday, May 15, Thursday, May 16, and Saturday, May 18. Eligible voters will cast their ballots at three designated voting locations each day, with Cast Members from the Characters or Parades departments assigned to a specific voting site based on their first scheduled shift of the week. Final election results are anticipated to be available by the evening of Saturday, May 18.

The offical Magic United website logo with a brief description for Disneyland cast members
Credit: Magic United website

Upon filing the petition for a union election with the NLRB on April 17, Actors’ Equity Association President Kate Shindle expressed the union’s aim to enhance the working environment at the Disneyland Resort. Shindle stated, “Our goal is to make ‘the happiest place on Earth’ a little happier. Equity has a very good relationship with Disney. We negotiate with them at Walt Disney World in Orlando, and with Disney Theatricals on Broadway and national tours. We look forward to meeting with their representatives across the bargaining table, and together, making the Disneyland Resort a fairer and safer place to work.”

The Disneyland Resort, comprising Disneyland Park, Disney’s California Adventure, three hotels, and Downtown Disney, has been operational since 1955 and has become one of the world’s most visited themed entertainment destinations. ACTORS’ EQUITY ASSOCIATION, established in 1913, is the U.S. labor union representing over 51,000 professional actors and stage managers. Equity strives to promote the careers of its members by negotiating wages, enhancing working conditions, and providing a range of benefits, including health and pension benefits.

The unionization efforts among Disney Cast Members, particularly those involved in character performances like Mickey Mouse and Cinderella at Disneyland California, could potentially lead to significant changes in their working conditions, benefits, and overall treatment by their employer, The Walt Disney Company. Suppose the Actors’ Equity Association successfully represents these Cast Members through collective bargaining. In that case, they may negotiate for improved wages, better healthcare coverage, enhanced safety protocols, and more equitable treatment regarding scheduling, breaks, and working hours.

Mickey Mouse with Disneyland cast members in front of the Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland Park.
Credit: Inside The Magic

Additionally, unionization could give Cast Members a stronger voice in addressing grievances and advocating for their rights within the workplace. This could ultimately lead to a more positive and supportive environment for iconic characters like Mickey Mouse and Cinderella, allowing them to continue bringing joy to park guests while enjoying fair and dignified working conditions.

 

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