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Disneyland Article
Paying Employees 59 Million Dollars During Coronavirus Closure Study Shows

Orange County Register
Brady Macdonald
March 19, 2020
June 05, 2020
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Disneyland is expected to pay its 31,000 employees about $59 million during the unprecedented closure of the Anaheim theme park due to the coronavirus outbreak, according to an economic impact study commissioned by Disney.

Disney will continue to pay its employees while Disneyland and Disney California Adventure are shuttered through the end of March by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A study by Cal State Fullerton’s Woods Center for Economic Analysis and Forecasting found that the Disneyland resort paid $1.2 billion in 2018 to its cast members, Disney parlance for employees.

Breaking down the findings of the study by day and calculating the financial impact of the 18-day closure provides a glimpse of just how much the Disneyland resort will be paying its cast members during the COVID-19 closure of the Happiest Place on Earth and its sister park next door.

More than 35,000 people work at the Disneyland resort and several thousand more rely on related businesses for their employment, said Cal State Fullerton economics professor Anil Puri, the director of the Woods Center for Economic Analysis and Forecasting.

“Temporary employees will be in worse trouble, especially if the current situation persists and takes a long time to improve,” Puri said via email.

The Disneyland resort was responsible for 78,000 jobs in Southern California in 2018, according to the Cal State Fullerton study.

The study found that more than 30,000 cast members worked at the Disneyland resort in 2018 with an additional 3,000-plus third-party on-site employees. An additional 45,000 off-site and indirect jobs benefit from Disneyland resort visitor spending, the study found.

How much will Disney pay cast members during the 18-day shuttering of Disneyland? More than $59 million, based on estimates from the study. That means Disney could be paying Disneyland cast members more than $3 million a day during the closure of the parks, according to the study.

The Cal State Fullerton study found that the average Disneyland salary in 2018 was just under $40,000 a year — or just over $19 per hour. That means the average cast member will be paid just under $2,000 during the closure, based on the study data.

The study did not break down wages by part-time and full-time employees or union and non-union workers. Unions representing one-third of Disneyland workers agreed to a $15 per hour starting rate beginning in 2019.
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