Latest Solution for Homeless Disney World Cast Members, Move Them to a Former ‘Crime-Ridden’ Orlando Hotel

in Disney, Walt Disney World

Disney cast members posing in a frame that reads "we are the magic"

Credit: Disney

Cast members at the Walt Disney World Resort have been struggling lately. Despite earning a raise of $20 an hour in contract negotiations with Disney World last year, they are still falling behind in terms of living income in Central Florida.

A diverse group of Disney cast members, mostly young adults, are standing closely together, smiling, and looking ahead. They are all wearing teal uniforms with badges. Some are holding hands, creating a sense of unity and celebration. The background shows more people in similar attire.
Credit: Disney

Related: Banned From Sleeping in Their Cars, Homeless Disney World Cast Members Can Sleep in Other People’s Garage

It is hard to pinpoint just how many Disney World cast members are experiencing homelessness, but some estimates suggest that it would be as high as 10 percent.

This past legislative session, Florida made it even harder on those homeless cast members by criminalizing sleeping on public property, and now, new reporting has come out that the state was considering making it easier to send homeless people to mental hospitals.

So, while the state attempts to criminalize homelessness, some Central Florida communities are trying to do something about the homeless crisis and create affordable housing for those in dire need, including cast members.

Last week, Kissimmee, a town neighboring the Walt Disney World Resort, approved a study to determine whether residents would be interested in converting their garages into affordable housing. The city would pay for the conversions entirely.

Disney cast members looking in their wallets and purses at Disney World and Disneyland.
Image Credit: Inside The Magic

Related: After Criminalizing Homeless Disney World Cast Members, Florida Wants to Make it Easier to Commit Them to Mental Hospitals

Last year, the city prohibited people from sleeping in their cars. During contract negotiations with The Walt Disney Company, many cast members complained about sleeping in their vehicles.

The city of Orlando is also attempting to tackle its homeless and affordable housing crisis and riding the city of one of its most “crime-ridden” spots.

This week, the notorious Ambassador Hotel in Orlando, once known for its crime and drug use, will open 95 affordable housing units. The units are available to anyone who makes less than 80 percent of Central Florida’s median income, which is $52,200.

Cast Members cheer on Main Street, U.S.A. in Disneyland Paris
Credit: Disney

Related: Cast Members Make the Magic, but They Want You to Know that Working For Disney Isn’t Always Magical

With that threshold, most Disney World employees would qualify for affordable housing at the Ambassador Hotel.

Developers have been working for the past two years to gut the hotel and turn it into the Palm Gardens Apartments.

Mark Vengroff, the CEO of One Stop Housing, told the Orlando Sentinel: 

These are everyone who is working hospitality, it could be nurses, it could be police officers in their first couple of years, we have people from the city or the county who could live here.

The first set of units will open in June, while the remaining 54 units will open later this year. The rent is $900 for most tenants and $460 for lower-income earners, which is well below the market rate.

Is this a good solution to Central Florida’s homeless crisis? 

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