(ABC4) – Known as the “Happiest Place on Earth,” Disneyland in California may not draw such emotions from their 30,000 cast members.
According to a study done by Economic Roundtable, almost 75% of Disneyland workers reported that they do not earn enough money to cover basic expenses every month while over 50% of workers say they are worried they will be evicted from their homes or apartments.
The average hourly wage for workers dropped 15% from the year 2000 to 2017, going from $15.80 to $13.36.
Many workers responded by going on strike and finally saw an increase in 2020, when Disneyland agreed to raise their employees’ pay to $15.45 per hour. While this may be enough for single workers to get by, many workers report having children and a family that they are trying to support. Approximately 80% of employees with children reported that they can’t make ends meet at the end of the month as well as being food insecure.
For those on the low end of the pay scale at Disneyland, they may see only an $11 per hour wage. More than 1 out of 10 employees at Disney have reported being homeless in the past two years.
Economic Roundhouse also took a survey of Disneyland employees working currently. Here’s what a few had to say:
“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?”
– Full-time merchandise host for 11 years
“It’s really sad that after working 16 years for Disney I’m not making enough money to pay bills and when I do pay bills, there is not enough for other things like enjoying a nice meal with family or going on vacation. I sometimes stress on how I will pay rent, food, gas, and other expenses. I recently had to work Monday-Saturday and had 1 day off (Sunday,) just to pay bills.”
– Merchandise employee for 16 years
“Disney has become a nightmare to work for. The long hours, lack of livable wages, and zero respect has got to stop.”
– Full-time worker
Many are hoping in the future that the “happiest place on earth” can truly be so for the many overworked and underpaid employees.