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Looks Like The Lawsuit Against Disneyland Brought By Cast Members May Be Over

Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland
(Image credit: Disneyland)

Back in August more than 25,000 current and former Disneyland cast members sued the California theme park over higher wages. The cast members claimed that they should all have received a raise to $15 per hour back in 2018, in accordance with a measure voted into law in the city of Anaheim in 2018. However, a judge has ruled in favor of Disneyland, seemingly ending cast members’ hopes for better pay, at least for now.

The suit argued that Disneyland Resort took advantage of a city subsidy when the Mickey and Friends parking structure was built, and therefore the theme park was required to abide by the City of Anaheim’s Measure L. Voters in the city approved Measure L back in 2018, which stated that any company that received a city subsidy was required to pay their employees a minimum of $15 per hour in 2018, with a raise to $18 per hour by 2022, with additional cost of living increases on top of that. Current Disneyland starting pay is about $16 per hour, but it did not rise to $15 per hour until 2019, the year after this rule would have required it.

However, the Orange County Register reports that Judge William Claster has now ruled that while Disneyland does receive benefits from working with the city, the agreement with the two does not qualify as a subsidy, and therefore Disneyland is not in violation of Measure L.

The city of Anaheim took out a $550 municipal bond to finance the construction of the parking garage in question, so the city currently owns the garage, but leases it to Disneyland for $1 per year. Disneyland Resort also leases the land the garage is sitting on for the same price. 

Disneyland is in the process of paying back the municipal bond, and when it has done so, it will take full ownership of the garage. It’s a good deal for the park, that did not need to pay to build the garage up front, and the lease deal works out quite nicely for all involved, but the judge’s ruling states that since the agreement does not technically reduce the tax burden of Disney, it’s not a subsidy, and therefore Disneyland is not subject to this rule. 

The lawyers representing the cast members have indicated that an appeal is likely, but time will tell whether that actually happens. This is a major blow to Disneyland cast members, in part because Measure L was specifically designed to help them. Recent reports have indicated that many of those who work in the parks have suffered from various degrees of homelessness and food insecurity. 

Unions representing Disneyland cast members are currently in talks to try to get the resort to up starting pay to $17 per hour, arguing that this is what other employers in the area are offering. 

Dirk Libbey

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.