Union survey says three-fourths of Disneyland workers can't afford basic living expenses

Posted Thursday, March 1, 2018 10:09 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Only weeks after Walt Disney Co. reported better-than-expected profit, a survey at the company's Anaheim theme parks found that 73% of employees questioned don't earn enough to pay for such expenses as rent, food and gas. The online survey, funded by labor groups pushing for higher wages for workers at Disneyland and California Adventure Park, also said that 11% of resort employees have been homeless or have not had a place of their own in the last two years. Disney disputes the results of the survey.

Read more from The LA Times.

Friday, March 2, 2018 6:44 PM

"...I left my home and my family to work here."

I believe that she has issues.

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Friday, March 2, 2018 7:37 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

Enh, again. I still don't know exactly where I stand here, but I think I'm a little more sympathetic to the unions than most of the other replies in this thread. It's not as simple as "just go get another job" for a lot of people for a variety of reasons. I mean, if you're relying on the job (or two) for your rent month-to-month, it's not like you can just quit and go find another job. The company has every advantage in these negotiations and so even though they do end up with "mutually beneficial" agreement (otherwise you wouldn't work there) it's almost certainly more beneficial to the company than it is to the worker, because the worker is in a pinch. So I am sympathetic to, "I can't invest in myself to have better earning potential because I'm stuck on the treadmill of month-to-month rent payments and the company is taking advantage of that."

Now, all that said, I think it's nonsense to say "I love working here and deserve a certain wage." I am not sympathetic to that at all.


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."

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Friday, March 2, 2018 8:35 PM
slithernoggin's avatar

What ApolloAndy said.

I would love to find another job, but 50+ year old manic depressive guys looking into finding a way to get into an assisted living facility who are on the autism spectrum are a hard sell in the job market. I have a part time job, which I've had for 20 years; they keep me because they're a very understanding group of people.

It seems to me that some folks think that because they had the resources and opportunities to better their lives, if with difficulty, everybody has such opportunities. I don't think that's always the case, but I do agree there are plenty of people who don't want to put forth the effort necessary to change their circumstances.

Last edited by slithernoggin, Friday, March 2, 2018 8:36 PM

Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

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Friday, March 2, 2018 9:15 PM

There's a big difference between finding contentment in your situation and expecting your employer to ignore market dynamics in order to make your situation more favorable.


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Friday, March 2, 2018 9:23 PM
Tekwardo's avatar

For the record, I didn’t have the resources to better myself. It took a lot of hard work, sacrifices, doing jobs I didn’t enjoy for longer than I wanted In places I didn’t want to do them, putting up with poor treatment, and persevering. I had a few things that happened that I took advantage, but I’d never have taken advantage of them if I weren’t looking for opportunities.

Does everyone have the same opportunities? No. But the people that don’t look for opportunities because they want to do something that’s not paying the bills aren’t going to have any opportunities.


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Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

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Friday, March 2, 2018 11:01 PM
Jeff's avatar

slithernoggin said:

I would love to find another job, but 50+ year old manic depressive guys looking into finding a way to get into an assisted living facility who are on the autism spectrum are a hard sell in the job market.

You know, I'm fascinated by your story, because I can't tell if you've resigned yourself to accept your limitation or if you've just accepted defeat. In contrast, I feel like Travis has simply decided he's a victim and can't win, which is feels like the manifest of thought, to an extent.

Look, I get the idea that there is a thing called the working poor. My best friend runs development for a charity that makes sure those folks have affordable food. I think the problem, in part, is that people see entry level service jobs as a long-term solution. But it's not a career. I live 11,000 feet from Cinderella Castle, where thousands of acres of former orange groves are being developed into housing of every type, from apartments to full on McMansions. They're built by people who have learned trades, are well paid, work hard, and there frankly aren't enough of them to do the work, which increases the wages. And by the way, they're largely immigrants. When I observe this, I feel like people simply aren't finding the most lucrative opportunities. In part, apparently, because they love blowing pixie dust up the asses of tourists.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Saturday, March 3, 2018 12:56 AM
slithernoggin's avatar

I've accepted my limitations and work to get around them.

One issue I confront is that many companies use online screeners, which studies have shown are difficult for people on the spectrum.

I've been sent home from work more than once because I was in a manic depressive low point and started sobbing.

Put me in an office with someone and I can manage, after years of being around nypicals, to interpret their responses and adjust acordingly during an interview. I've worked for Ticketmaster, Paul Stuart, League of Chicago Theatres and Blue Man Group; in each case I was face to face with someone during the interview.

Put me in front of a computer with a screener, and I have nothing to interpret.

I have a BFA in graphic design and illustration, so I do have marketable skills.

I hate tourists :-)


Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

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Saturday, March 3, 2018 8:49 AM

I did the Disney thing for most of my 20s. When I left the company for a better opportunity, so many of my co workers who had been there longer and were extremely unhappy were absolutely floored that I had taken the time and personal responsibility to look for another job/career and actually follow through. So many of my Disney co workers were in the "ugh, I can't wait to get a better job and get out of here" camp, yet they did absolutely nothing to actually make good on that statement. Almost four years after leaving WDW, most of them are still there saying the same thing. That, to me is the biggest problem.

I worked at Disney because at the time it worked for me. Once it didn't, I made a plan and found a new gig that now works for me.

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Saturday, March 3, 2018 4:30 PM

My next door neighbor is a corporate attorney and she interviewed and seriously considered working for Disney. She said they painted a nice picture, but she could tell some things seemed a little off. She’s now very happy working for Big Lots here in Columbus. Better pay and less slavery. And usable discounts.
And in the end I think she didn’t want a Disney bad taste in her mouth. She’d rather spend her time there being entertained.

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Saturday, March 3, 2018 8:39 PM
TheMillenniumRider's avatar

BrettV said:

I did the Disney thing for most of my 20s. When I left the company for a better opportunity, so many of my co workers who had been there longer and were extremely unhappy were absolutely floored that I had taken the time and personal responsibility to look for another job/career and actually follow through. So many of my Disney co workers were in the "ugh, I can't wait to get a better job and get out of here" camp, yet they did absolutely nothing to actually make good on that statement. Almost four years after leaving WDW, most of them are still there saying the same thing. That, to me is the biggest problem.

I worked at Disney because at the time it worked for me. Once it didn't, I made a plan and found a new gig that now works for me.

This sounds like my previous job. Just replace Disney with AT&T. Of all places I could have gone when I left, I went back into the tourism industry. The tourism industry isn't known for good pay. I am planning when I finish my second degree I will be in a position to make bank.

slithernoggin said:

I've accepted my limitations and work to get around them

This is worth its weight in gold. People do not understand themselves, many people either over or undervalue themselves. If you are not aware of your strengths and weaknesses then you cannot position yourself to gain ground. Most people are blissfully unaware of themselves, but those same people know more about their friends/neighbors/coworkers than they should. Maybe some of the effort would be better used in self-improvement/understanding.

For the college comments awhile back I managed to finish my degree while working a ton of hours, all over the place. The business is not required to structure hours around school, it is debatable whether or not it would be beneficial for the business to attempt to educate and enable their employees to complete schooling, but that brings with it some challenges as well.

Fact remains that until people stop completing Disney employment applications, wages will not increase much. Simple supply and demand at work here.

Last edited by TheMillenniumRider, Saturday, March 3, 2018 8:43 PM
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Sunday, March 4, 2018 9:10 PM
slithernoggin's avatar

Even within Disney, you can move up if you want to. My ex started at Disney World as a greeter at Epcot and ended up in entertainment as Burt from Mary Poppins and the lead trainer across the resort on how to speak with a British accent.

But after six years or so, he had his fill, quit Disney and moved to Chicago.


Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

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Sunday, March 4, 2018 11:18 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

Is working at Disney that great? I mean, work is work, right?


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."

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Sunday, March 4, 2018 11:52 PM

It was fun right after college. I got to move to Orlando and get to go to the parks whenever I wanted, etc.

Flashforward a few years. It sucked. Low pay, awful hours, very high expectations in relation to the compensation.

But - it got me out of Ohio/PA and now I am settled in a life I love in Orlando. That never would have happend without my Disney years.

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Monday, March 5, 2018 4:52 PM
janfrederick's avatar

Man, I would so blow pixie dust up asses if I could afford it.


"I go out at 3 o' clock for a quart of milk and come home to my son treating his body like an amusement park!" - Estelle Costanza
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Monday, March 5, 2018 5:08 PM

Is pixie dust expensive?

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Monday, March 5, 2018 6:08 PM
Jeff's avatar

First hit is free.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Monday, March 5, 2018 7:37 PM
Tekwardo's avatar

Do u wanna build a snowman indeed.


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Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

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Monday, March 5, 2018 9:17 PM

I assumed it came in different cuts and qualities. No way Joe Rohde is on the same stuff these low-wage employees are hitting.

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Tuesday, March 6, 2018 7:47 AM

Ahhh.... Following in Walt’s footsteps.

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Tuesday, March 6, 2018 8:45 AM
Tekwardo's avatar

I’ll take the California Thunderfun 5000 strain.


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Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

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