Disney granting $1,000 bonuses, starts education program in light of tax changes

Posted | Contributed by Jeff

Walt Disney Co. is giving $1,000 bonuses to 125,000 employees and spending $50 million to create a new higher education program for workers, the company said Tuesday.

Read more from The LA Times.

Jeff's avatar

The press that Disney is generating over this is pretty crazy. They've got $4 billion of cash on hand, are getting a massive tax break that will save them billions. They look like heroes still for spending $175 million on employees. I'm not saying it's a bad thing, just that it's not the grand gesture it's made out to be.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

Shouldn't be a surprise that the company known for creating "magic" is doing well on the PR front with this one.

Dale K's avatar

I am curious to see how many people will still complain about their pay yet not take advantage of the schooling to better their pay/education.

I agree...this is a PR move...but a pretty good one. And, if I was one of the hour employees I'd be pretty stoked about a $1,000 bonus. I'd probably prefer a more substantial increase in the hourly wage but I'd still be happy about that bonus.

With regards to the education stipend I think more cast members will take advantage of that then you realize. A LOT of cast members go to school at UCF, Valencia, etc and are just plodding along with a class or two per semester because they can't afford more than that. There is a reason they call UCF "U Can't Finish". If the educational stipend helped me graduate sooner I'd be pretty thankful for that too.

Can Disney afford to do more? Of course they can. But, a lot of companies aren't doing anything different in light of the tax changes so at least it is something.

Jeff's avatar

This is effectively a 50 cent raise if you're hourly and work 40 hours per week. If you work less, it's even more. I wonder what the unions have to say about that.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

The WDW unions will always find a way to blame Disney corporate for being greedy and ruining their livelihood

Presumably the unions will say it should be more. Which is pretty much their answer to every question (other than how much should employees have to pay for anything which is less).

And that's the issue I have with labor unions in general (at least when it comes to wages). They are never satisfied and everything is a positioning move for the next round of negotiations. Disney tomorrow could announce a $15/hour wage for everyone and the unions would come back and say it should be $16....$17....$18. It's a never ending cycle of dissatisfaction.

99er's avatar

If I'm not mistaken the bonus is for non-union Cast Members. The unions will have to ask Disney on behalf of union Cast Members for the bonus and work with the company on how it will be paid. It is not an automatic payment like everyone else will get.

Last edited by 99er,


Unions dislike “bonuses” and lump sum payments. The preference is for a living wage in every paycheck.

Call me a socialist but I don’t think it’s asking too much from a company to pay a livable wage. Especially a giant corporation like Disney which sadly currently pays starvation wages to cast members.

And the idea of bettering oneself is a nice theory, but what if someone has mental disabilities or is satisfied with their low end position? Should they really suffer and struggle to pay their bills just because they are happy with their position? I don’t think it’s asking to much of any company to pay a decent wage for good talent and increasing loyalty.

I recently spoke with a Chick Fil-A franchise owner in NE Ohio. He decided to begin paying $12.25 as a base for all employees while the competition pays minimum wage which is around $8. He said it was to attract better employees and to reward loyalty. That’s the way it should be at amusement parks as well.

I’m surprised that Disney hasn’t offered an education fund before. And maybe they have, but this seems like the big deal all of a sudden.
The corporation that I worked for had matching funds on tuition for continuing education. And it could be for beauty college or clown school, it didn’t matter. Many, many employees took advantage of it and oft times it led to better paying jobs, either within the company or outside.

ApolloAndy's avatar

etrainimac said:

what if someone has mental disabilities or is satisfied with their low end position?

Part of being satisfied with a low end position is being satisfied with low end pay. They are commensurate with each other.

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

What about Costco then? Their low end employees start around $13/hour. It’s not unfathomable and is the right thing to do.

Let’s say a kid on the autism spectrum is obsessed with monorails. They grow up and follow their dream of operating the monorail at WDW. Shouldn’t they be able to afford living at a decent standard of living? They wouldn’t as it stands today and that’s pretty damn sad.

ApolloAndy's avatar

I actually agree more with you than I disagree with you: I think on the whole squeezing low end workers for additional profit is detrimental to society as a whole. However, I also don't see how it's Disney's problem (for lack of a better word) that some person with no skills and no other options (and therefore no leverage) decides to work at Disney smiling and waving, and wants to support a family doing it.

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

Lord Gonchar's avatar

I like posting on internet roller coaster forums. I do not have a mental disability, but I am quite satisfied with the activity. It's something I've always dreamed of doing and I have almost 17 years experience as you can see from my profile.

Gimme a living wage, please.


That’s not really a job though. I wish it were!

Dale K's avatar

If pay were based how on much you love your job, I would OWE my company $10 an hour. lol

Lord Gonchar said:

Gimme a living wage, please.

You'll have to take that up with Jeff. He should at least be giving you a cut of his revenue from this site based on all of the traffic that you generate for it.

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