Visitors to Walt Disney World’s parks and resorts may not realize that the housekeeper at resorts like the Grand Floridian, or the park attendant that guides you into Space Mountain is more than likely a full-time employee who is working hard to provide for his or her own family. While Walt Disney World has enjoyed strong profits as a result of rising attendance and increased ticket prices, workers have not shared in the success of the parks and resorts.
- Approximately 41% of Walt Disney World’s full-time, non-tipped, hourly workers earn less than $8.50, the living wage in Orlando. That means many Disney workers earn between $14,560 and $17,680 annually.
- Walt Disney World is fast becoming a minimum-wage employer. In 2004, WDW paid a $1.55 premium above Florida’s minimum wage for entry-level workers. Since then, the state minimum wage has risen nearly 30%, much faster than the rise in the starting wage at Walt Disney World which rose 2.9% over the same period. Today, WDW pays entry-level workers only $0.33 more than the state’s minimum wage of $6.67.
- In Orlando, escalating housing costs may put affordable housing out of reach for many Disney workers. The fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment in the Orlando-Kissimmee area is $850, according to the National Low-Income Housing Coalition. A single mother with one child would have to earn $16.35/hour, or $34,007 annually, in order to afford the average fair market rent. 1
- According to the Orlando Sentinel, the average yearly salary for all Disney workers is about $25,000 – about $7,000 below the average for metro Orlando, based on numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.2
Dreams Do Come True for Disney’s Top Executives
Walt Disney’s record revenues and profits have led to substantial paydays for its top executives. In 2006, CEO Robert Iger earned a salary package worth $24.9 million, nearly double his $12.9 million pay package in 2005. The average pay package of the top five Disney executives was $9.7 million last year. How did the average Disney worker compare?
Together, the top five Disney executives have been paid over $58.2 million in salary and bonuses alone over the last three years.