Cast Members warm up as part of 2011 fitness training at Walt Disney World
A bit of good news for the cast of Disney’s domestic theme parks and their guests. The starting hourly wage of the entry level cast member could be rising to $10.00. According to a report in Bloomberg news, the 25% raise would roll out over two years. Last week, Disney made the offer to the Service Trade Council, a group of labor unions that represents almost half of Walt Disney World’s employees.
I see a couple of factors behind this offer. First, there is a nationwide push to raise the minimum wage to $10.10. Disney can show that companies can make this leap on their own by making this move now. Second, Disney has successfully recovered from the down economy and reported record profit last year; $6.6 billion is a lot of Disney dollars. Third, Disney has been investing a ton of money in capital improvements, they have to balance that with some concern for the personnel side of the ledger too.
Of course, there are concessions Disney wants from the unions in return. Switching from Pensions to 401(k) style retirement plans is one. I’m sure there are many others. But hey, that’s what collective bargaining is all about.
There’s one big reason for the offer that Bloomberg doesn’t mention, the Orlando labor market is once again becoming very competitive. In February of 2014 it dipped to 5.5% unemployment rate. That’s nearing the 4% that’s typically considered full-employment (everyone who wants to be working is). Wage inflation is one result of low unemployment, so Disney might be forced to raise wages, even if they weren’t negotiating a new contract with its employees. Continue reading
Posted in Walt Disney World
Tagged cast member, economy, employment, labor unions, orlando, unemployment, unions, wage increase, wages, walt disney world, WDW
Oh boy, this is literally the biggest Star Wars Weekends yet. Disney just released the celebrity lineups for Star Wars Weekends at Disney Hollywood Studios for 2014. Hosts James Arnold Taylor and Ashley Eckstein will appear during all five weekends and the following talent will appear weekend by weekend (subject to change, of course).
Weekend I: May 16-18
- Ahmed Best: Jar Jar Binks (Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace; Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones; Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith; Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
- Peter Mayhew: Chewbacca (Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith; Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope; Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back; Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi; Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
- Vanessa Marshall: Hera Syndulla (Star Wars Rebels)
Star Wars Rebels is the first real attempt at a new story set in the Star Wars Universe since Disney took the reigns of the property from George Lucas. And now we get our first look at the series via this clip revealed at WonderCon this last week. The short preview clip features an introduction from voice actress Vanessa Marshall and an exciting sequence from the upcoming animated series.
In the clip, Hera, captain of the Ghost, pilots her starship during a battle with two TIE fighters. A droid named Chopper delivers a message from the Jedi Kanan, currently engaging the TIEs in the top turret. The Jedi is apparently displeased with Hera’s maneuvering. In response, she takes matters into her own hands.
I love the antics of Chopper the droid. Star Wars Rebels is coming to Disney XD later this year.
Also new from Star Wars Rebels this week is a short video interview with Star Wars composer Kevin Kiner.
Car Masters Weekend returns to Downtown Disney Orlando for Father’s Day weekend 2014. Celebrating it’s 4th year of automotive fun, the classic car show with a modern twist is the perfect way to spend a little family time during June 14-15. Featuring all things “Cars,” the event showcases classic, muscle and exotic vehicles from across the country; a chance for guests to meet favorite “Cars″ characters such as Lightning McQueen and Mater; and special celebrity appearances. Completing the car-filled weekend, fans may purchase tickets for a ”Cars” & “Cars 2″ movie marathon at AMC Downtown Disney 24 and enjoy face painting, themed food and beverage, live entertainment and more. Entertainment subject to change, of course.
I’m a little surprised that this festival is coming back to Downtown Disney, although I’m not complaining. I’ve had a great time every year, but with all the construction walls up and parking at a premium, I thought they might move or postpone it until more construction is finished. Maybe it will just be downsized a bit.
Will you visit Car Masters weeekend at Downtown Disney this year?
(photo courtesy Disney, Gene Duncan, photographer)
Dconstructed, a brand new compilation of classic and current music from the Disney catalog remixed by today’s hottest DJs/producers from across the globe, is now available for download or purchase. The 14-track collection features reworks of material from the multiple Academy Award-winning films The Lion King and Frozen, as well as two of Daft Punk’s contributions to TRON: Legacy. We reviewed the album during its free online streaming promotion.
Disney also decided to release the first video from Dconstructed today. “The Muppet Show Theme” (Shy Kidx Remix) video. Shy Kidx is an Italian producer on the cutting edge of electronic music. His unique brand of EDM is what attracted the legendary punk label Epitaph Records to release his debut EP Orion, out now.
Unfortunately, I think this is one of the weaker efforts on DConstructed. My favorites were the new versions of Derezzed from TRON: Legacy and Armin Van Buuren’s trance take on Let it Go from Frozen. Purchase or download today from Amazon and help The Disney Blog.