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The ‘Happiest Place on Earth’ is the complete opposite for its workers

By: April Carson

Disneyland Resort is known as “the happiest place on earth,” but it seems Disney Cast Members have a different story in many cases. In fact, some of them report feeling overworked and underpaid.

Disney Cast Members have to follow many rules, such as always being in character and never breaking the fourth wall. They also have to deal with long hours and low pay. In addition, they are not allowed to use profanity or show any type of affection while in costume.

Some Cast Members have even reported being told to lose weight, and have been body-shamed by their supervisors. Others have said they were not given proper break times, and were forced to work while injured.

The Economic Roundtable recently published an in-depth study comparing Disneyland Resort Cast Members' salaries to inflation and found that they were being “shortchanged.”

In 2016, the average hourly wage for a Disneyland Resort Cast Member was $15.80. adjusted for inflation, that number would be $20.21 in 2019. The study found that if wages had kept up with inflation since 2000, the average hourly wage would be $24.80.

This means that Disneyland Resort Cast Members are making nearly $5 less per hour than they should be, if their wages had kept up with the cost of living.

Disneyland did raise the minimum to $15.00 in 2020, but the study found that the average hourly wage for Disneyland Resort workers in real dollars dropped 15% from 2000 to 2017, from $15.80 to $13.36 when you factor in inflation. Almost three-quarters of Disneyland Cast Members say that they don’t earn enough money to cover basic expenses every month and they worry about putting a roof over their heads.

Overcrowding is the most common housing problem among renters. In a rental apartment, more than half of those who rent their living space are overburdened, cramming too many family members, housemates, or even multiple families into a unit that is simply too small for the number of people.

“Working for Disney has become a living hell. The long hours, subpar pay, and total lack of respect have to come to an end.” one full-time employee remarked.

Almost 70% of Disneyland Resort Cast Members are food insecure, while 76% of those with children under the age of 18 are food insecure.

“After 11 years at the resort, I make $12.02 as my base wage. Why should I drive 30 miles on the 91 and 5 freeways, almost always in heavy traffic, to earn a minimum wage?, a full-time merchandise host who has worked at Disneyland for 11 years.

More than half (59%) of Disneyland Resort workers who are parents of young children state that their work schedules at the Park make it difficult to care for their families and children, in addition to salary concerns. “The scheduling of my employment at the Disneyland Resort makes it hard to find a second job” stated by 64% of Cast Members.

“I have been working for Disneyland for almost 28 years and I make less than $20 an hour. If I didn’t have my husband to help with the bills and other life expenses, I would be living out of my car, or worse, homeless. Disney has increased admission tickets, food & merchandise has increased too. Yet, the front of line ‘Cast Members’ are struggling to pay their mortgage/rent, groceries, transportation and other daily/monthly bills. I am not asking to get rich by working for Disney, but I am asking for fair pay for fair work. I expect to be able to not worry, to not stress, about having food to eat and a roof over my head,” a Disneyland Cast Member of 28 years said.

Some Cast Members have even reported being told to lose weight, and have been body-shamed by their supervisors. Others have said they were not given proper break times, and were forced to work while injured.

The Walt Disney Company has responded to these accusations, saying that they are “committed to treating all of our employees with dignity and respect.”

However, given the number of complaints from current and former employees, it seems that The Walt Disney Company still has a long way to go in terms of making its workplace a happy one.

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About the Blogger:

April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on

To read more of April's blogs, check out her website! She publishes new blogs on a daily basis, including the most helpful mommy advice and baby care tips! Follow on IG @bossbabymav



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