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

Disneyland strike
Credit: Disney

Something serious is rumbling at Disneyland Resort.

Disney character performers are a huge part of the reason why families love visiting Disney theme parks. However, it has previously been exposed that many of these worker’s paychecks are less than magical. After last year’s cast member strikes found a resolution, a new fight has begun for a specific group of character performers fighting for better job security within the Magic Kingdom of Disney.

Character actors at Disneyland, known for their iconic portrayals of characters like Mickey and Minnie Mouse, have taken center stage for a surprising reason. These Disney cast members are fighting to be recognized as part of a union while being employed at Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park. This growing movement, operating under the name “Magic United,” has garnered support from the Actors’ Equity Association, a well-established union representing theater actors and stage managers across the United States. While the majority of Disneyland’s workforce is already unionized, a notable exception includes approximately 1,700 performers and character actors.

Related: Protesters Swarm the Castle During Heated Cast Member Strike

Mickey and Minnie at Disneyland

Cast Members Fight Back

“Magic United” aims to address the concerns and aspirations of these Disney workers by uniting them under the protection and advocacy of a dedicated union. This important development has sparked enthusiasm among the cast members as they seek to secure fair wages, improved working conditions, and a stronger collective voice within the Disney entertainment realm.

The process of forming the union is still in its preliminary stages. Organizers have begun the process of distributing union cards to the cast members, marking the beginning of their journey towards collective representation. By obtaining union member signatures from a majority of the workers, “Magic United” will be poised to request voluntary recognition from Disney Resort Entertainment, the division responsible for overseeing Disneyland.

The decision to form a union underscores the cast members’ desire for a more unified and empowered voice in shaping their workplace environment. As the faces of the beloved characters that bring Disney’s magic to life, these actors play an integral role in creating unforgettable experiences enjoyed by millions of park visitors. However, it is crucial to note that the formation of this union is a process that requires careful consideration and a democratic consensus among the performers.

Through their affiliation with the Actors Equity Association, “Magic United” gains access to a wealth of resources, expertise, and collective bargaining power. This collaboration with Actors Equity, a union known for its longstanding commitment to advocating for the rights and well-being of theater professionals, serves as a testament to the determination of the cast members involved in forging a better future for themselves and their colleagues.

disneyland paris cast member strike blocks main street

Will There Be Strikes at Disney

When this news initially broke, many fans were worried that this could mean a strike from some iconic characters like Mickey and Minnie Mouse and the Disney Princesses. Hopefully, this will not happen, but as of now, we can not foresee if the group will receive significant pushback from the Walt Disney Company. There is certainly a possibility that characters could go absent as their performers join a strike if Disney does not agree to their terms. Numerous parades were canceled in Disneyland Paris after their strikes last year.

As the cast members continue their efforts to organize, it is worth noting that this development has the potential to impact not only Disneyland but the broader landscape of the entertainment industry. The unionization of Disneyland’s performers and character actors could set a precedent, inspiring similar movements within other Disney parks and resorts or even extending to other theme parks and entertainment venues outside the Disney franchise.

Disney Princesses Cinderella, Jasmine, and Belle in 2001 Disneyland Commercial

The formation of the “Magic United” union by Disneyland’s actors and character performers represents a significant stride towards securing their rights and interests. By teaming up with the Actors’ Equity Association, these cast members hope to address the unique challenges they face and ensure a more inclusive and equitable work environment. As the unionization effort gains momentum, it has the potential to shape the future of labor relations within the amusement park industry and serve as a beacon of inspiration for other workers seeking to enhance their working conditions and rights.

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.

One comment

  1. As a park character in the 70’s I made $1.86 an hour while enduring a 70-pound costume, no matter the weather.
    It was excruciating! Fortunately, I was young and did not mind.
    I also didn’t know any better so, I was taken advantage of.
    Disney is no different than any other employer in that regard.
    I hope this union is formed and provides security for these employees.
    It’s no walk in the park, believe me.

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