Working for the Mouse: A survey of Disneyland employees

Disneyland Resort is one of the most well-known, popular, and iconic theme parks in the world.1 Disneyland Resorts best-known characters and attractions are woven into Americas national culture and recognized and celebrated around the world. In 2016, 27.2 million people visited the Anaheim, California theme park. It generated over $3 billion in revenues for the Walt Disney Company.

Disneyland employees report high instances of homelessness, food insecurity, ever-shifting work schedules, extra-long commutes, and low wages. While there is national attention on the minimum wage and have been successful local efforts to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, more than 85% of Disneyland workers earn less than $15 an hour. Notwithstanding their economic hardships, more than three-quarters (80%) of employees say they are proud of the work I do at the Disneyland Resort.

Despite steep increases in the cost of housing and other necessities, Disneyland workers have suffered steady pay cuts and continue to struggle to make ends meet.

  • The average hourly wage for Disneyland Resort workers in real dollars dropped 15% from 2000 to 2017, from $15.80 to $13.36.

  • Almost three-quarters (73%) say that they do not earn enough money to cover basic expenses every month.

    Disneyland employees worry about keeping a roof over their heads.

  • Over half (56%) of Disneyland Resort employees report concerns about being evicted from their homes or apartments.

  • More than one out of ten (11%) Disneyland Resort employees including 13% of employees with young children report having been homeless or not having a place of their own place to sleep in the past two years.

  • Over half (52%) of workers who rent their housing are overcrowded - squeezing too many family members, roommates or even multiple families into a unit that is too small to accommodate the number of occupants.