More money, and more kids, for theme park workers
Today's theme park news, from across the transom...
- Universal Orlando has increased its starting wage for theme park employees by 50 cents an hour, to $7.25. That puts Universal ahead of its local competition, as SeaWorld Orlando pays $7 an hour to start and Walt Disney World offers just $6.80.
Universal's also dumping the three-month waiting period to be eligible for benefits, allowing new hires to be covered immediately.
- Who had "January 2008" in the "When will Disney finally get around to shutting the last DisneyQuest" pool? Well, if you did, Jim Hill says you're a winner.
- Disney's gone public with its 'Magical Beginnings' ticket package, designed to attract families with preschoolers to Walt Disney World and Disneyland. On first glance, one might think that Disney's full enough with the little ones, thank you. But Magical Beginnings packages free-meal discounts for families staying on property with special in-park events from Aug. 13 to Sept. 30. (A similar promotion, including stays at 'Good Neighbor' hotels runs from Aug. 13 to Nov. 21 at Disneyland.)
Why then? That would pull families with preschoolers out of the busiest summer vacation periods and into a "shoulder season" when most older kids have returned to school. In theory, this should even out the crowds by shifting some visitors from July and early August into late August through early fall.
Be careful if planning a 'Magical Beginnings' trip to Disneyland in late August, however. Unlike in Florida, most schools in Southern California do not start until after Labor Day, so one would expect most families with toddlers and older kids who want to take advantage of the package to do so between mid-August and early September.
NOOOOOOOOOO!!! I like Disneyquest!!
I'm a little unclear on the wage thing. Do all new employees working "the park" start at seven bucks an hour regardless of their position? In other words does that mean a gift shop employee make the same as a ride op? That's also nice about the benefits, but how much do those benefits cost the employee? Seven bucks an hour is a raise, but it might as well be minimum wage in Orlando. One other question if anyone out there knows, what is the wage ceiling for such employees?
Typically, when you bump the bottom of the wage scale 50 cents, the upper slots move up at least 50 cents, as well. But I'll leave the details to someone in Orlando who knows 'em.
Union in Florida means nothing. Florida is a right to work state, which means you have the right to work for the money that the company thinks your worthy of, or you dont, and the company has the right to fire you at any time without rhyme or reason. If you have a strong union, that usually doesnt happen. However, I work a governmental type job. I get paid less than 12 an hour (oh boo hoo I know). The same job "up nawrth" as the transplants say, would garnish anywhere between 19 and 25 an hour. Theme parks are no exception. They pay less because they can, and with such a booming population, there is always someone who would love the chance to work at disney just to say they do. You soon realize that free tickets into the park does not pay the bills. This is not the first time that Universal has stepped up its minimum starting pay. In recent months, rumor is that they've lost a lot of employees who have been there a long time and have not gotten appropriate raises.
Wages in the theme park industry are no different there than anywhere else. Cedar Point pays non entertainment employees a minimum of 6.25 an hour, with a dollar extra for every hour worked over the summer at the end of season...bringing in a total wage of $7.25 for someone who sticks around. Musicians and entertainers can rake in almost $500 a week after bonuses. Thats good hay in Ohio for a college/high school student, heck 500 a week is a decent check for just about anyone in Ohio... but $7.25 doesn't carry someone in Florida nearly as far. There are other factors to think of such as benefits, housing, etc...but the heart of the matter is that a unionized Disney workforce does no better per hour than a non-unioned employee does at Cedar Point.
Okay, pardon my ignorance here, but Cedar Point is non-union? How is that possible, in what is quite possibly the most pro-union part of the country?
Cedar Point is just like any other seasonal park. They recruit college and high school kids, foreign exchange students, and others who want to work for the summer months. To my knowledge, there has never been any kind of union at Cedar Point, or at any other Cedar Fair park for that matter. Now the maintenance guys/plumbers/carpenters/construction workers...etc may belong to their local unions, as many people of those trades do, but your average ride op on Millennium Force is a college student looking to make some bread during the summer.
Well, Disney's unions were decimated when the company dumped leads in the 1990s, which prompted many senior cast members who did not get promoted to supervisor to leave the company, including many who provided a substantial portion of the official, and unofficial, union leadership. Cut off the head, and the body dies....
Disney is Union? I thought that they dropped Uniion years ago, as Robert had said when they did away with the lead positions.
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