Could Disney’s Character Performers Disappear? Tensions Rise Ahead of Vote Next Week

guests character meet greet disneyland
Credit: Disney

There is no denying that a big part of what makes the Disney theme parks so magical is the incredible Disney characters and parade performers. For the millions of fans who visit Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Park every year, connecting with a Disney Park character is an undeniably special moment that truly solidifies the Disney magic people pay for.

While performing as a character at Disney might seem like a dream come true, the reality for many is that it is less than a fairytale. Concerns over performer wages, safety measures, and scheduling have tampered Disney’s reputation for the past several years.

Now, a major group of over 1,700 Disneyland Resort performers are voting to unionize in just a few days. With this vote drawing near, many wonder what these negotiations could mean for the Disney Park experience moving forward. Some fear a strike could be imminent, potentially resulting in the temporary removal of these characters.

Related: Mickey and Minnie Join the Picket Line: Disney’s Character Performers Ignite Fight for Union

Disney Characters

Credit: Disney

How Could a Union Affect the Disney Experience?

Earlier this week, the National Labor Relations Board revealed that an upcoming union election is scheduled to take place from May 15 to 18 at Disneyland. This vote specifically targets characters and parade performers at the park.

During the specified dates, eligible individuals will have the opportunity to cast their votes at Disneyland itself, with designated voting locations set up for convenience. The outcome of the election is anticipated to be disclosed on the evening of May 18, adding to the anticipation among the participants.

When some people hear that Disney Cast Members are fighting against Disney as a company, many fear that a strike could erupt. While negotiations are not indicating a strike at this time, it should be noted that that could happen if the demands of these cast members are not met. In the past, cast members have walked out of their jobs to protest and strike for their causes.

Daisy Duck and Minnie Mouse at Cape May Cafe

Credit: Disney

The aspiring union, comprising 1,700 character and parade performers, has chosen the name “Magic United” and aims to align itself with the Actors’ Equity Association for representation and support in labor matters within the entertainment industry. This potential unionization marks a significant step forward for the performers, signifying a collective effort to secure and protect their rights and interests in the workplace.

Disneyland Stands in Solidarity… For Now

Emphasizing the importance of transparency and individual autonomy, Disneyland officials expressed their commitment to ensuring that Cast Members are well-informed and can exercise their voting rights in a confidential manner, respecting their personal choices and decisions.

While this motion does not ensure that Disneyland Resort officials will fully support all the wishes of cast member performers moving forward, it does show that they are listening and accommodating to requests thus far. Some cast member negotiations in the past have turned messy, and it seems Disney hopes to avoid that.

disneyland magic happens parade mickey mouse float

Credit: Disney

Union negotiations are never a straightforward process, so we hope that things go as smoothly as possible for cast members. Disney Dining will be closely following and reporting the vote’s results when we learn more next week.

About Eva Miller

Eva was born and raised in the beautiful state of Oregon but has since relocated and lives in New York City. Since she was young, Eva has loved to perform in musicals, especially Disney ones! Through performing, Disney’s music became the soundtrack of her childhood. Today, Eva loves to write about all the exciting happenings for the Walt Disney Company. In her free time, Eva loves to travel, spend time in nature, and go to Broadway shows. Her favorite Disney movie is 'Lilo and Stitch,' and her favorite Park is Disney's Animal Kingdom.

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