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Walt Disney World raises prices, but not wages

February 27, 2014

By now you have surely heard that Walt Disney World has jacked the price (again) for tickets to the Magic Kingdom. A day at the park will now cost you $99, and the Orlando Sentinel‘s Beth Kassab has feelings about what that means for locals, which she included in her column posted last night. This price increase comes a year after the park raised prices last year to $95 per person. If you’re paying $90+ for a day at a theme park, that extra $4 probably won’t break you, but still.

But less widely reported today is the news that hundreds of Disney employees – housekeepers, ride operators, restaurant workers – rallied at a hotel near the park a couple of days ago to demand a better labor contract for unionized workers, many of whom make less than $10 per hour and struggle to make ends meet. Disney insisted that most of the workers who make the lower wages are only working part-time, and that many of Disney’s unionized employees have chosen to work for the park for 10 years or more. So basically, if things were so bad for Disney employees, why aren’t they quitting?

Union reps point out that the Disney Co. posted increased profits at the end of 2013, and the New York  Times reported that a lot of the company’s theme-park growth came from higher guest spending at the Orlando parks. So, to celebrate that victory, Disney is raising prices again this year while fighting the union on its request for a pay raise.

Happiest place on earth!

We posted this chart last year listing the park’s ticket prices from the year of its opening through 2013.


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  • Muko

    And this, in a nutshell, explains why Orlando is one of the bottom cities in America when it comes to the median wage and income inequality.

  • Rich R

    Orlando really is a horrible place to work. I’m originally from the suburbs of Chicago and I applied at a job here that I had been interviewed at up there. I requested $15 an hour because in Chicago I was told that was at the low end, instead, they offered me $10.75 for a Management position where I was in charge of a store. When questioned about it I was simply told that the cost of living in Orlando is lower than Chicago. It may be a little, but I’m pretty sure my $600 a month apartment is smaller here than is was up there and my car payment doesn’t care where I live, it’s still $310 a month. Cell phones cost the same no matter where you live and Car Insurance just won’t stop going up, it’s even worse in Orlando since most people are either driving rental cars or are uninsured since it’s not as heavily gone after as it is up north. The fact is, cost of living is the same no matter where you live unless you’re living in a downtown area, so why is it that people working retail in Orlando make, on average, $3-$4 less an hour doing the same job as almost anywhere else in this country?

  • chris

    I was unfortunate enough to have to go work for ” the Rat” aka The Dark Overlord” this past summer as I was unemployed and looking for a real job. I have a MA degree and was hired as a bus driver. I had never driven a bus before but the HR woman told me I could learn” @@. During my en-“serfment” to the company I learned one of their dirty little secrets. Their workforce is extremely segregated and homogeneous and what I mean is that bus drivers for example are made up of mostly retirees” so they CAN afford to work for slave wages at Disney because its NOT their main source of income. The Rat also loves using interns and college graduates because they too will work for almost nothing while thanking the Rat for the opportunity! This company is full of greed and mismanagement. I would NEVER pay to enter one of their parks, yet tourist continue to come only to be nickled and dimed by overpriced crap. Their union, the Teamsters are a joke! As you can see they accomplish nothing but give lip service to the workers who think they are making a difference. Ha =Hoffa would be spinning in his grave.

  • M Chas

    I remember people who worked for WDW in the 80’s and made about the same as today.

  • Blank Andson

    It’s not just Disney. I attended a picnic for the old department I retired from in TN back 18 years ago. Found out the new employees get about $4K a year less than I did when I retired. I got free insurance. They do not. No retirement for those hired in the past 5 or 6 years. This is the publishing industry. Probably similar situations in other occupations.