Although it’s no secret that Walt Disney World is working on an affordable housing project in Central Florida, few details have been shared. But from what we know so far, we can imagine things going south pretty quickly…
NEW: Disney says the affordable housing development on 80 acres of WDW land that was first announced last year is anticipated to complete its first units in 2026. Groundbreaking set for next year.
— Scott Gustin (@ScottGustin) April 19, 2023
So far, we know that the affordable housing units will span across 80 acres on Walt Disney World property, we know that Disney is planning to build at least 1,400 units, we know that it’s scheduled to open in 2026, and we know that the housing units will be available for Disney Cast Members and fans alike.
Although the Walt Disney Company is framing this project with positive connotations, we can’t help but notice that this arrangement could quickly become predatory toward Walt Disney World Cast Members living in these units.
There’s something called the ‘Disney Bubble,’ and in a nutshell, it refers to how once you’re on Disney World property, you’re essentially transported into another world. Typically, we associate the Disney Bubble with the excitement Guests get on their vacation, but this phenomenon may be worse for someone working at Walt Disney World and their mental health.
Imagine leaving your workplace only to go home…to your workplace. You’d likely still feel drained, and you may start to feel like your workplace owns your entire life!
The constant reminders of Walt Disney World’s presence in a Cast Member’s life may be harmful to one’s mental health and only serves to benefit the Walt Disney Company. After all, Cast Members earning money from Disney will give it right back by paying for rent, utilities, amenities, etc. Not to mention anything else they already buy on Disney property, such as food and souvenirs.
Not to mention, this already predatory dynamic could spiral even worse with the added housing aspect. Imagine if the company you worked for was also your landlord. It doesn’t take much for a situation like that to become exploitative.
It’s also worth noting that if Disney controls the wages and the rent, they decide what a ‘living wage’ is by their own standards and not the general economy’s, giving the company more power to pay Cast Members stagnant wages.
At this time, this is all speculation, but we should all be wary of Walt Disney World’s affordable housing units.