Despite raking in $3.6 billion in profits in fiscal year 2022, Disney is reportedly raising its park admission rates while simultaneously allegedly underpaying its employees.
News of the increasing park rates first broke in November, when USA Today confirmed that as of Dec. 8th, “Disney World’s four theme parks will have a different price range for new purchases.”
The new rates, which began Thursday, start as low as $109 for a ticket to Disney’s Animal Kingdom but skyrocket to as high as $189 for a ticket to Disney’s Magic Kingdom.
“Disney notes the top end $189 Magic Kingdom price is for only nine days between Christmas and New Year’s, a peak period for the park, and more than 99% of one-day one-park tickets will cost less than that,” according to USA Today.
“Additionally, discounted tickets will again be available to active and retired U.S. military in 2023, though details have not been announced,” USA Today reported.
Walt Disney World is introducing park-specific pricing, and raising base ticket prices for every park except Disney’s Animal Kingdom. https://t.co/p2Ghs2bYI3
— USA TODAY Travel (@usatodaytravel) November 15, 2022
Disney is also reportedly increasing the rates of its annual passes by anywhere from $0 for the Pixie Dust Pass to $100 for the Incedi-Pass, which used to cost $1299 but will now cost $1399.
These new rates come only months after Disney recorded record profits.
“Strong demand for theme-park vacations — despite economists’ worries about an inflation-led downturn in consumer spending — powered Disney’s increase in profitability,” The New York Times reported in August.
“Revenue totaled $21.5 billion, a 26 percent increase from a year earlier. Operating profit surged 50 percent, to $3.6 billion. Analysts had been expecting revenue of about $21 billion and profit of about $3.2 billion, according to FactSet,” the Times added.
Meanwhile, all this comes amid an internal battle at Disney over pay.
“About 70,000 employees at Disney World, the largest single-site employer in the US and world’s largest theme park, are currently pushing for wage increases through new union contract negotiations,” The Guardian reported Thursday.
Represented by the Services Trades Council Union (STCU), they’re “pushing for wage increases that account for inflationary pressures and the high cost of living in the Orlando area.”
The current contract reportedly expired in October. The previous contract, signed in 2018, gave Disney employees a $15 minimum wage. But Disney employees now say even $15/hour isn’t enough.
“A lot of Disney workers are barely squeaking by. You have workers with families sleeping in their car.” The stories in this @Guardian piece won’t be a surprise to those who’ve seen #AmericanDreamDoc but they remain heartbreaking, unacceptable and FIXABLE. https://t.co/gW7qBs1tek
— The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales (@amerdreamdoc) December 8, 2022
“[W]orkers say these wages currently don’t correlate with the workloads and job duties they perform and aren’t enough to keep up with the rising costs of living. According to the MIT Living Wage Calculator, a living wage for an individual with no dependents in Orange County, Florida, is currently $18.19 an hour,” The Guardian notes.
As an example of the alleged unfairness, The Guardian pointed to Earl Penson, an 11-year Disney food handler who only makes $15.50, which is just a measly 50 cents more than new employees earn.
“He works over 40 hours a week at the so-called ‘Magic Kingdom,’ starting work around 2am, working anywhere from eight to 10 hours or more, and takes side gigs as an electrician to make extra money,” according to The Guardian.
“We’re grossly, grossly underpaid for the hours that we work and the heavy lifting. It’s like warehouse and driver work. A lot of us have the same story in not being able to afford the cost of living on the pay that we make. A lot of Disney workers are barely squeaking by. You have workers with families sleeping in their car,” he said.
Their plight has caught the attention of radical far-leftist know-it-alls like Robert Reich:
Ousted Disney CEO Bob Chapek is set to receive a golden parachute worth ~$23 million.
Meanwhile, Disney is dragging its feet on paying its workers better wages to keep up with the rising cost of living.
It’s corporate greed above all else.
— Robert Reich (@RBReich) December 3, 2022
That said, there is a slight catch.
While it’s true that Disney’s annual profits were up in August, its quarterly performance was down noticeably in November.
“Shares of Disney sank 13.16% Wednesday — their lowest level in more than two years — after the media conglomerate’s quarterly results fell short of Wall Street expectations and the company signaled that its direct-to-streaming losses and linear TV declines for fiscal year 2023 would be higher than expected,” Variety magazine reported early last month.
“Disney’s stock closed at $86.75/share on Wednesday, resulting in the company’s market capitalization shedding about $24 billion in value to stand at $158.15 billion. It’s the lowest closing price for Disney shares since March 20, 2020, when it cratered to $85.76/share amid the dramatic market sell-off at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Variety added.
Critics believe the real reason for this downturn was Disney’s decision to go “woke” and, as just one example, lobby against Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill.
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