Report details struggles theme park employees face to make ends meet

February 28, 2018, 10:55 AM · Unions representing Disneyland cast members have commissioned a study that claims that two-thirds of the resort's hourly employees don't have enough food to eat three meals a day and that nearly one in ten has experienced homelessness recently.

The unions are aiming for a substantial pay increase for Disneyland cast members. But the acute troubles that the unions' researchers have documented among lower-income workers hardly are unique to Disney employees in California.

Housing prices in California are insane, thanks to a reinflated bubble that has transformed homes from places to live into tokens for investment income. No actual resident can afford to outbid the flippers and foreign investors who have driven the state's median home price to nearly eight times the state's median household income, according to data from the state of California and the state association of Realtors. Rental prices have followed, with even one-bedroom apartments in the Anaheim area unavailable for less than $1,100 a month and most rents going for hundreds of dollars a month more than that. With 85 percent of Disneyland's hourly cast members earning less than $15 an hour, according to the report, it's no wonder that many Disneyland cast members are squeezed trying to pay for rent, transportation, and food, especially if they face any health care expenses or student loans on top of that. Millions of other Californians, who aren't flipping homes or living off equity from buying in decades ago, are struggling too.

The report said that 79 percent of Disneyland's hourly employees are 30 or older, which illustrates another problem in today's economy. Low-income jobs ought to be entry level, not careers. I worked as a Disney cast member when I was just out of college, making a few bucks more than minimum wage. But like many of my fellow cast members, I moved on to other jobs. Some of my former co-workers moved up within Disney. Most found work elsewhere. If you were good at the skilled tasks required in your CM job, maybe you found higher-paying work in building or maintenance trades. If you were better with people, perhaps you found a career in sales or management.

Having neither type of skill, I became a writer. But, hey, I made more money writing a book about being a Disney World cast member than I did from my entire time working as one.

That was a long time ago, though. (I believe that Disneyland was still using live dinosaurs in its Grand Canyon Diorama back then.) With outsourcing, offshoring, and automation allowing companies to shed full-time, benefitted employees, it's becoming harder and harder for low-income workers to find anything more than other low-income jobs out there. With upward mobility cut off, a low-income job at Disneyland has become a career for many cast members, instead of the stepping stone that it was for so many of us in the past.

I always will root for theme park employees to get paid more. In my view, every theme park employee in the world deserves a raise for the work they do. You can't pay theme park employees enough for the value they bring to this industry. (Actually, that's not just a theme park thing. That's an inherent feature of capitalism — a major source of profit comes from underpaying workers for the value they add or create.) As Disney uses price increases in an attempt to better manage its ever-growing crowds, it is bringing in plenty of cash to afford to pay its cast members a healthy raise. How much should they get? That's up for both sides to negotiate. But even low wages should be living ones, especially from highly profitable companies.

Just because plenty of other workers are getting screwed in the modern economy doesn't mean that Disney's cast members shouldn't do what they can to get the best possible deal from Disney. That's one of the reasons why their unions commissioned this study. They want to make a public case for why Disney's cast members need more money — either directly from Disney via a new contract or indirectly via pressuring local lawmakers to raise the minimum wage.

"While Disneyland and the Walt Disney Co. have seen increased profits, employees have not shared in Disney’s success," a press release for the union-commissioned report states. "In the past ten years, the number of visitors to the Disneyland Resort and theme park has increased from 20.6 million in 2006 to 27.2 million in 2016. Park revenue also increased from $1.72 billion to $3.03 billion in the same period. Merchandise costs, park attendance, and Walt Disney Co. revenue have also increased significantly. Last week, Disney increased Disneyland tickets by 9 percent with peak-period one-day tickets costing $135. [Yet] wages for more than half of the union workers at Disneyland have decreased when adjusted for inflation."

You can read the full report at

Update: A Disneyland spokesperson questioned whether the 5,000 respondents to the union-sponsored survey reflected a scientifically representative sample of the resort's 30,000 cast members.

(Stats major interlude: You need only a few hundred respondents to make a survey scientifically representative. But they need to be randomly selected from the entire population and not just those people who felt motivated enough to respond to a broad call to participate.)

"This inaccurate and unscientific survey was paid for by politically motivated labor unions and its results are deliberately distorted and do not reflect how the overwhelming majority of our 30,000 cast members feel about the company," Suzi Brown, Vice President, Communications of the Disneyland Resort, said in an email.

"While we recognize that socio-economic challenges exist for many people living in Southern California, we take pride in our employment experience."

Replies (32)

February 28, 2018 at 11:12 AM ·

"wages for more than half of the union workers at Disneyland have decreased when adjusted for inflation"

I generally stay out of these more politically driven stories, but I find it interesting that the unions use raw numbers when talking about revenues and ticket prices, but apply inflation adjustments for wages. Revenues are subject to inflation just as wages are, so let's compare apples to apples here. The unions would have a much more convincing argument if they didn't have to twist the numbers in such a way to make a seemingly obvious point. However, their attempt to sensationalize wage stagnation only undermines their position.

February 28, 2018 at 11:21 AM ·

Disney replaced high paying tech workers with cheap foreign labor. They will find ways to replace the hourly workers with cheap replacements. The reason for high job turnover is the keep the wages low. These workers always stay at the bottom of the pay scale. The longer they stay, they realize their wages hardly move up even for inflation.

February 28, 2018 at 11:58 AM ·

This is a legitimate real issue in today’s US economy.

Everything goes up from profits to admission prices, however wages stay the same.

There has to be another option out there for an employee’s wealth to grow right along with the company- whether it be a profit sharing program or generous company stock buying incentives.

You’re lucky today to even find a job that offers the bare minimum of health benefits or paid time off.

All the while the exaggerated expectation for this over-worked and under payed employee is to be perfect and impart a gold standard customer service experience, all for minimum wage and wondering if they can afford to feed their family.

Pay the employees what they deserve and with respect if you expect that sort of level of perfection from an employee...

It’s not right and Disney needs to do better.

February 28, 2018 at 1:34 PM ·

All, the employees have to do is quit. Even if ten percent of them did, the free market would either raise their wages or Disney would provide free transportation, from outlaying communities. If the nametags are accurate, many cast members do drive 30 or 40 miles, to work.

That is the solution, to the high driving costs, not whining like children. The other solution, is for southern California governments, to make it reduce their hugely excessive taxes on developers who build new housing.

These taxes on developers (who pass the cost immediately to the buyer of the house), is the reason why houses are so expensive in California. The weather also being so nice, almost all of the time is a factor, too. But, then again. If people have the benefit of living in weather paradise, that is a trade off, to have a lower standing of living.

it's all supply and demand, causing the prices and wages to be what they are. Otherwise, if their were no downsides, the entire country would choose to live in southern California or Hawaii.

I believe the theme parks division, also lost significant amounts of money, in the few years after 9/11. If (god we hope not), something like that happens again, and something on a smaller scale, like the florida shooting at Disneyland.

Would the union, collect money from employees to make up for the losses. I guarantee you, they would not.

The fact is tons of people, enjoy working at Disneyland, so there is a natural oversupply of labor. It Is just people's preferences, not anything nefarious.

February 28, 2018 at 1:31 PM ·

No one should honestly believe that a theme park job is worth anything more than minimum wage. Theme parks are generally run by college students. It's a high turnover because these kids move on with their lives. Ride operator isn't a career choice unless you're using it as a jumping off point into the Disney company. Why there is even a union is beyond me. For my brief stretch of time working at DL, I was frustrated that the union took a chunk of my tiny paycheck... and I suspect most workers there feel the same.
EDIT: Raising the minimum wage doesn't help. They just raised the CA minimum wage and will continue raising it until it caps at $15. As soon as the current raise went into effect all the local shops, grocery stores, restaurants etc/ raised their prices so they could afford to pay their employees the new minimum. Minimum wage should stay as is. If you want to make more, or are seeking an easier life where your dollar goes farther, then get a better job or move out of state. Rant done.

February 28, 2018 at 2:11 PM ·

Practically sitting on my tongue to keep from wading into this one, but I want to point out two things...

1. Most people, especially minimum wage workers, can't afford to just quit their jobs

2. Taxes on developers may be PART of the reason for the high cost of housing in California, but I guarantee that a lot of it is simply because the builders know that there ARE people willing to pay the higher prices -- whether it's someone actually living in a high priced condo or housing development, or someone buying a property to flip it. Why should a developer build "affordable" housing when they know they can make twice as much money appealing to a more exclusive market? Unfortunately, this doesn't leave much for the service workers in those areas. South Florida has the same problem -- hotels in Marco Island and Naples have to bus some of their employees in from the poorer central parts of the state.

February 28, 2018 at 2:57 PM ·

Disney greetings, Melanie. We may have a somewhat different way of looking at it, but we may not actually disagree very much, on this. your first point, is unknown. Some percentage of Disney employees in the 13 to 18 dollars range, do in fact live with mom and dad, and pay low rent. How many is unknown. So. Some could quit without starving, if they really, really wanted to express social activism.

As to the second point. I will expand the point, that it is not just taxes. It is also, that many California counties (I believe los angeles), makes it near impossible for a builder to get approved to build a low income housing tract, even irrespective of the taxes.

Otherwise, how would anyone reason, how housing prices in Orlando, or the middle of Nebraska (for that matter), are much, much, much lower, than orange and LA county.

I am fully open (with an open mind), to any logical reasoning the community has.

February 28, 2018 at 3:50 PM ·

Dave, it actually did occur to me after I'd posted that I should have questioned whether Anaheim or any of the other cities near DL (or the county, for that matter) had considered incentives for affordable housing construction. If they've placed significant hurdles in the way of that, then shame on them. I guess it's not always the builders looking for the highest return on their investment -- it may also be local governments looking for the highest potential property taxes. And I'm sure it doesn't help that areas like Anaheim are darn near built out anyway....

February 28, 2018 at 4:02 PM ·

in terms of affordable housing, what the southern California counties, need to do is increase the supply by approving building condo's upward.

that in addition, to lowering taxes, would drastically increase the supply of housing on the market and stabilize prices.

One reason why there is so much resistance to this, is the people currently in the middle class, would rather enjoy returns of their houses, than have their house values stay the same or reduce by five or ten percent.

that is called basic human nature. But. If people want to overcome this resistance and build high rise affordable condo's, then do social justice marches for this. Instead of things, like a gun control march, that is not going to save any lives, because criminals ignore laws, by definition.

February 28, 2018 at 4:45 PM ·

"If you want to make more, or are seeking an easier life where your dollar goes farther, than get a better job or move out of state."

What fantastic advice AngryDuck!! I can't believe that point wasn't made in the article. You truly have the solutions we're all looking for. You ignorant windbag.

February 28, 2018 at 4:52 PM ·

I agree with AngrryDuck, to a certain extent. I don't think most people working at an amusement or theme park should think of it as career. Any place that has a large number of employees that require little skill should not be considered a place for long term employment unless it pays enough for you to get by. That's mainly people that dont have to pay for the roof over their head or management.

That said, Disney should have the highest pay of any theme park. In order to attract and maintain good cast members, Disney needs to pay a wage that keeps people from working elsewhere. Southern California is one of the most expensive places to live in the country. The lowest person paid person at the park should earn $5 per hour more than minimum wage. Walmart and Target's starting wage is nearly nearly $5 over the federal minimum wage. The state minimum wage of California and Florida are higher, but if a company that has long been critized for low pay now pays their employees more than minimum in much of the country, Disney can too. Disney parks' reputation is higher than Target or Walmart, and wages should reflect that.

February 28, 2018 at 6:48 PM ·

I want to echo something from my original post:

The problem with minimum wage jobs is that the employer provides minimum everything. Minimum pay, minimum benefits, minimum respect.

While the employee is expected to perform on a maximum level.

These minimum wage jobs are not easy jobs to perform. These workers are not out there sitting on their butts all day twiddling their thumbs. They’re hard working employees with a lot of responsibilities, expectations, and duties bestowed upon them.

As the article suggests, these employees add value to the company and are in most cases the front line of support and ‘face’ of the company for many of the company’s customers.

The article points out how Disney’s profits are soaring, yet their employees are struggling. That’s a real legitimate issue that should be addressed.

Any poster implying that these hard working dedicated Theme Park workers are babies or whining for daring to demand a wage to support basic necessities to live should be ashamed. I hope when you visit Disney or any theme park you expect to be treated with the same minimum amount of respect and minimum amount of service you feel these employees deserve to be paid.

March 1, 2018 at 10:33 AM ·

Housing in CA is insane. I plan to move out as soon as I can. This is a huge country and it's silly to stay in 1 place with so much opportunity elsewhere. Just can't justify 2 full time salaries for a 2 bedroom condo in a crowded city when I can have a 4 bedroom house anywhere else in the country. There is no more middle class in CA.

February 28, 2018 at 8:55 PM ·

In Walt's day, working at Disneyland WAS a career. He made the choice to pay his workers a comfortable, living wage because he saw the value in having happy CMs who would provide excellent service and not be inclined to bolt for some other job. It was a wise investment on his part.

Today's management makes smart moves in other areas, but seems to have a blind spot when it comes to cast members. The attitude seems to be "suck it up or leave, plenty more like you where that came from". They don't see the wisdom in investing in their workforce. If they did, everyone would benefit in the long run.

March 1, 2018 at 3:33 AM ·

I used to work at DLR and WDW, lived off min wage in both LA and Orlando, worked in in management, have an MBA, and now am a college finance professor. I will try to explain this from all angles.
First off the obvious: living off min wage is definitely not ideal and you need to make sacrifices. I definitely would not recommend any job like that as a long term life plan in either in CA or FL. It's like that no matter what company your working for at that level. OK so now that the obvious statement is out of the way lets talk about politics.
High prices, just like anything else, are a factor of supply & demand. California's NIMBYs are some of the worst in the nation and not interested in solving any of those kind of problems. Common sense says zone for more affordable housing, higher density, and invest in smarter public transit. Sadly for political reasons common sense rarely ever happens. Even though its the most populated state trust me CA has tons of empty land for housing. They just don't want 1: more traffic (which could be alleviated with smart planning), and 2: home prices to soften. Nobody that owns a home wants home prices to go down because they don't care about anybody but themselves.

Trust me I used to live in CA. They pretend to be a really liberal "equality for all" state, but there are tons of homeless people all over the place and even tent cities in LA, Orange County, and San Francisco. They like the idea of equality as long as it means low income people don't get to live near them. Though to be fair this is not only in CA its all over the world, its just amplified in CA because of what has been going on there the past few decades with the influx of high pay jobs forcing lower wage workers into homelessness.

Florida being a more conservative state is much more accepting of zoning for residential at all income levels as they basically will take any economic development they can get, especially under Rick Scott who took office pledging to get the state out of the recession via aggressive economic development. Granted rents have shot way up in Orlando since the recession because of all the people moving here (average 200 people a day moving). With the increases in inventory we actually saw rents starting to soften in mid-late 2016 until Hurricane Maria pulverized Puerto Rico then everyone there moved to Florida and once again put our housing situation in a pinch. Even with high rents though housing is still affordable compared to the rest of the nation, there are some absolutely beautiful townhomes in great neighborhoods right behind the Magic Kingdom selling for $200-250k. If you go a little further back into old Winter Garden these townhomes are going for $180-200. These are in the Windermere/West Orange school districts which are damn good. These would be at least $500k in Anaheim and probably over a million in San Francisco.

Back to Disney...being such a huge employer they are able to negotiate good deals with local and state health providers, so what a lot of people do is they have one spouse (who is more educated) have a higher pay job and the other spouse will work at Disney to provide the families health insurance. With the costs of healthcare skyrocketing and costing Disney tons of $ they realized they had so many employees that neither system could afford to lose their business. So Disney actually went out and negotiated their own rates with FL Hospital and Orlando Health. They still contract Cigna to administer the plans but Disney has probably the best health insurance of any major employer in the region, and they give their employees $500 each + $300 incentives to spend on health care.

When you work in the hospitality business which is notorious for part time, low pay, and no benefits, this is a huge incentive and a big reason many people are willing to take the lower wages. This is pretty much how WDW gets its entire workforce of 1500+ bus drivers: old people who need health insurance (then they all get FMLA and scam the company like crazy but that's a different topic of discussion).

Also keep in mind Orlando is a hugely attractive place for people from the islands & Puerto Rico to immigrate to because of the sheer amount of low-skill hospitality jobs available at such a massive tourist destination. LA is the same way for people from Mexico. Next time you go to WDW look closely at how many people are from Haiti and Puerto Rico. A lot of the people working third shift jobs and backstage jobs don't even speak English and Disney actually has company orientations in Spanish and Hatian Creole for them.
(Although in the name of fairness in argument if you've ever been to a commercial kitchen or laundry facility anywhere it's probably like that, but just think the ratios of demand for these workers in Orlando compared to most cities).

Keep in mind its all supply & demand: Disney does have a lot of higher pay jobs as well in management, engineering, etc.

And onto negotiations. Take this from an MBA: companies don't give a **** about living wage and all that stuff, they will pay what the supply & demand curve dictates they have to pay. When the economy is good employers raise pay to keep and attract workers (like you saw last year when Disney committed to starting at $10 an hour, which is $2.75 more than minimum wage). When the economy is bad then they stop hiring fulltime and go more to part time with reduced hours. It's all supply & demand. Sure if you work for a private company the owner might be nice and pay you more, but when it comes to these big publicly traded companies they do lots of research and know exactly what people will work for. There are some companies out there who pay a lot more (such as Costco) but that is their niche and usually there is enough of a market for that kind of thing to sustain that business but it won't happen on a mass scale.

Also (and this is my personal opinion based off years of experience both working as an hourly employee, in management, and as a finance professor), and you can disagree with me if you want, but service unions are stupid as hell. Negotiations are all about leverage. Unions do make sense in certain situations where the unions have leverage, but if you can hire college kids and train them to do the job in a week do you really have any leverage? If the Disney Service Union threatens to go on strike Disney I think Disney would just be like "OK go without a paycheck for a week or two and we'll see how long your strike lasts," and they'll give all the work to the college kids

March 1, 2018 at 5:45 AM ·

I've read a few of the "Earns her ears" books on Kindle, and I couldn't help but walk away from reading many of those without feeling that Disney was basically exploiting young workers and their love for disney for poor working conditions, low pay, and high housing costs, not unlike how workers in the bad old days "sold their soul to the company store".

I think its well past time to accept that our economy is broken, the price of a unit of labour is too low when compared to the costs of producing that labour. If the unskilled workforce was a business, it would be running at a loss. Until we're prepared to fix the structual problems that lead us here.

This isn't a business vs worker issue, or it least it doesn't have to be. Many business in the late 19th and early 20th century recognised the value in ensuring their employees were properly looked after (HersheyPark is a remainder of that kind of thinking, being built for Hershey Employees to spend their leisure time, and its by no means the only nor the biggest example).

March 1, 2018 at 7:18 AM ·

But the question to both Chad and others is how do you fix it? A publicly traded company like Disney cannot simply fork over millions of "extra" dollars (typically earmarked for dividends or other investments to further grow the company) to pay workers more. Similarly, that local governments should arbitrarily raise the minimum wage to this magical $15 level and expect that to not affect inflation is not a solution either (I totally disagree with the notion of a Federally mandated minimum wage because of differences in costs of living across this vast country). People argue that CEOs and executives "make too much", but fail to consider that if even if those people were paid what their underlings think they "should" be paid, the excess spread across the thousands of employees would be barely enough to cover a monthly cup at Starbucks.

One solution could be removing Wall Street from the equation as so many publicly traded companies use investor satisfaction as an excuse to suppress wages. By instead making individual employees invested in the company by paying them in the form of stock, they're more interested in the company's success and thus more understanding in how their wages factor into the bigger picture. However, the drawback here is that because companies would no longer be gaining capital from stock purchases and increases in value, those companies would not be able to grow as quickly. Also, because employees would be compensated in the form of stock, their paychecks would be offset by the value of that stock perhaps reducing take home pay even further.

It's certainly a sticky situation here, and one that economists have been struggling with for decades. However, I think one of the biggest issues that can easily be fixed is the access to education and training.
Colleges/Universities and vocational training centers are some of the biggest rackets in the world. Students pay tens of thousands of dollars for a piece of paper that in many cases is meaningless to their career prospects, and many of these "non-profit" institutions claim they need more and more to confer these pieces of paper to students. I don't think the free college idea is the solution either, but I do think some of the "for profit" college and universities may have stumbled on ways to control costs in higher education that are worthy of consideration. If everyone is trained and educated to perform well-paying jobs, then these minimum wage jobs would only be occupied by short-term people or those who choose to remain at the bottom of the economic ladder. The entry level jobs would truly be entry-level and very few would see them as their full-time career. That is really where officials need to focus their efforts, because until we get rid of the burger-flipping lifer and 15-year Ride op, these minimum/living wage issues will never go away.

March 1, 2018 at 8:21 AM ·

Here's novel idea. Why doesn't Disney just build a large apartment building on one of their remote properties for CMs similar to what they have for the college program participants in WDW? They could charge lower than market rates for their employees and still make money off the facility in the long run. It would take a substantial investment initially but it would be great for PR.

March 1, 2018 at 8:37 AM ·

I find it absurd that anyone that cares about theme parks would also claim that any college student can do this job so pay them peanuts. Your average local amusement park or carnival are likely known for their terrible customer service for this exact reason. Not that young adults can't be trusted, but if you want a high level of worker, you have to pay for a high level of worker.

March 1, 2018 at 10:20 AM ·

I am going to take a much different opinion here. I go to Disney RESORTS as a vacation. Whether that is on either coast. I do that not only to experience wonderful attractions, but also to experience great customer service, which has been slipping, but prices increasing. If I want minimum wage workers, I will go to Six Flags. I do not expect that at a Disney resort. I just don't. If they want immersion and to continue with excellent customer service, they have to pay the employees more. If they can invest in one billion dollars for a horrible FP+ system, they can pay the employees a little more. I knowingly pay more to go to Disney as opposed to other vacation spots with an expectation of better customer service. Since it has lessened, my trips have as well. Clearly, it is expensive to live in SoCal, and I am sure it is a challenge for the workers and for management. Also, that most definitely is a statistical representative sample, but how it was gathered could be questioned.

March 1, 2018 at 10:42 AM ·

@Jeffrey: Then Disney becomes a slum lord? Disney will dock the pay of employees who get paid pennies, thus profiting off their lowest paid employees. There is simply no easy answer to the problem. Another disadvantage is these low paying jobs have high turnover, who know how long any will stay employed. They are forced to evict any fired employees who will become homeless. The ACLU will immediately file paperwork to prevent evictions or enforce indenture servitude to pay back rent. Will Disney have day care while their parents are off to work in odd hours? If not, then Disney will be responsible if their uneducated employees keep their kids home alone.

Disney will need thousands of buildings to house their hourly CMs. Then the regular salaried CMs will wonder why they can't get the benefit of below market rent. Eventually, Disney will evict them all and make them DVC for $1000 a night. Win-win.

March 1, 2018 at 11:40 AM ·

Politics is so divisive!

I'll just chime in quickly to say that I worked at EPCOT for almost a year, and first of all, it was the most fun I've had at a job. Secondly, fun does not pay the bills.

The only way I could actually afford to live was to live rent-free at my in-laws' house.

That's all.

March 1, 2018 at 1:20 PM ·

@Barry Zuckerkorn name calling is not an effective argument.

March 1, 2018 at 3:07 PM ·'re ignorant. That's not name calling it's a fact. Cute though.

March 1, 2018 at 3:11 PM ·

Just Google - "Living Wage - Los Angeles County, CA" and see what you get. I checked that 2 weeks ago when I was applying to a job that was not entry-level and fit with my education and BS degree. The most common answer I found was 13.45 an hour for a single person. Included in the breakdown of expenses was $700 per month for housing. Unless you live in the Mojave or Lake Los Angeles, I can't think of any city in the So. Cal. area that has any rental units for $700 per month. Heck my Mom has a friend who rents a room with kitchen privileges for $500 a month.

March 1, 2018 at 3:23 PM ·

@Barry Zuckerkorn you have literally supplied no support for your argument. I'm honestly curious why you disagree with me and so passionately that you're name calling. You either don't have an actual argument or you're trying to troll me. Please enlighten me so that I'm no longer ignorant.

March 1, 2018 at 6:52 PM ·


That is a really cool idea. I actually had a friend from Japan who worked for a steel Co. that supplied dormitory housing for employees for about $100/month. Then you can actually save money to buy your own home instead of wasting it all on rent. The US is falling behind other developed countries.

March 1, 2018 at 11:55 PM ·

@Angryduck I have no desire to start a conversation with you. I cited the quote of yours that I found ignorant. IF you can't figure out why you are ignorant from that statement then that's on you. I'm good.

March 2, 2018 at 1:06 AM ·

If some of you are curious about this subject, check out the documentary entitled The Corporation.

March 2, 2018 at 11:06 AM ·

@Barry Zuckerkorn clearly my comment struck a nerve with you. It occurs to me, as it may not have occurred to you, that you and I have possibly had very different experiences in life up to this point. My comment was not meant to personally attack you. On the contrary my comment actually reflects my own life experiences. I grew up in Orange County, my parents having moved there before I was born, back when housing was affordable. I have had many family members and close friends move out of the area over the years. Many have moved out of state or further inland in order to afford housing. Those who moved out of state actually own nice large homes, despite having lower incomes than my own. I chose to stick it out in OC, worked my butt off cleaning carpets to pay for college and now have a nice career doing what I love. I chose to clean carpets while in college despite the fact that it was harder work than working at Disneyland, because it paid twice as much at the time. That is my experience in life, it affects the way I see this situation. I don't know you Barry. All I know is that you like amusement parks and have internet access. I don't know your perspective or what life experiences brought you to the conclusions you came to. My comment on this article was not meant to hurt you. Though I'm pretty sure when you called me a "ignorant windbag" you had ill intent towards me. If you'd like to have civil discord I'm open. If not, then agree to disagree, but even that can be done more civily than you've done here.

March 3, 2018 at 10:58 PM ·

Disney, as a company, has always been frugal. Some would say cheap but I wish to say frugal. Roy Disney is quoted as saying, " every film we ever made under Walt was out last if it didn't do well at the box office". Art Linkletter was Walt's neighbor and Walt asked Art if he would MC the opening of Disneyland. In exchange Walt gave Art the film franchise for 10 years at DL and Art sublet it to Kodak. Art made his mark.
Business in the time of Walt was no easier than it is today. Maybe tougher.

People are always blaming the employer. No one who works or worked at DL or any other theme park or company was/is held in chains and forced to do so. If the workers at DL are not making enough for whatever their lifestyle dictates they are free to go someplace else. It is not Disney's fault they are not making the money they THINK they should make. A Disney employee was leaving the company and had a severance package in place. She was compensated for accrued vacations and holidays. When she got her correctly-calculated pay she said, "Well, they could have given me a little more!". Oh, really? Based on what? And what is the definition of "a little more?" 5%? 10%? 15%? What's a little more? No one at Disney is "tied" to their job. Not getting paid enough? Get a job that does pay what you need. If everyone adopted that seemingly-impossible attitude Disneyland would have far fewer cast members. And management would say, Hey, we can't get people to work for what we wanna pay. We better make a better offer!" Dick Nunes always said, "don't worry. You can ALWAYS get people." Really? Perhaps. It's not Disney's fault their people can't afford housing. They already look kind of poor since CM's launder their own costumes. When the news gets out that Disney's CM's are mostly homeless people the crowds will disappear so fast you won't be able to see it happen. BOOM! All gone. Just what Disney wants, right?!? Stop blaming the wrong folks, folks. Let it happen as it must. Disney will either change or its customer base will change. Its more fun to watch fireworks than to ignite them. Sit back enjoy the show. You can't get burned!

March 4, 2018 at 6:06 PM ·

The point I was trying to make with highlighting Art Linkletter's involvelement with the opening of DL is Walt couldn't pay him! Instead Walt bartered the services of Art Linkletter with an offer of the film franchise. Art made way more in that exchange than if Walt had paid him the $5,000.00 Art would change. And, YES, Art told me himself that is what he would have charged.

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