In a landmark move, Disneyland Resort’s beloved characters have voted overwhelmingly to unionize with the Actors’ Equity Association, joining the larger labor movement that’s gaining momentum across various sectors. This development, certified by the National Labor Relations Board, signifies a pivotal shift as Disneyland’s 1,700 character performers and parade hosts seek improved workplace conditions and benefits.

Mai Vo, who meticulously portrays a look-alike Disney princess, voices the collective hope of these cast members. “Disney just celebrated its centennial in 2023. We want to influence the next 100 years positively,” she shared. And with a sweeping $1.9 billion investment plan approved by the City of Anaheim, aimed at upgrading and expanding Disneyland over the next decade, the timing couldn’t be more opportune for these hardworking performers to make their demands heard.

One pressing issue is workplace safety. Vo recounts numerous instances where performers, donned in heavy costumes and navigating intricate parade routines, have sustained injuries or faced other hazards such as heat-related illnesses. Despite Disney’s assurances that cast member safety is a priority, workers like Vo argue there’s much room for improvement.

The union push is also fueled by financial grievances. Many Disneyland Resort employees, according to MIT’s living wage calculator, are currently earning far below what is necessary to meet the cost of living in Orange County. Aaron Zarate, a unionized candy maker and negotiations committee member, emphasized the urgency of addressing pay discrepancies. “We contribute significantly to Disney’s success. Now, we’re asking, ‘Where’s our share?’”

These issues resonate deeply as Disneyland’s Experiences Department, which includes cruises, merchandise, and theme parks, brought in an impressive 70% of Disney’s operating income in the first quarter, per their latest earnings report. The financial boon highlights the importance and impact of the workers’ roles within the company.

Have you ever wondered about the lives of the enchanting characters that bring magic to Disneyland? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below. And don’t forget to share this story with your friends and family to spread the word!

*Sources: [Actors’ Equity Association](, [National Labor Relations Board](, [Disneyland Forward](, [MIT Living Wage Calculator](, [Disney Earnings Report](*