Who can forget Walt Disney’s famous words, “You can dream, create, design and build the most wonderful place in the world…but it requires people to make the dream a reality.”
From the instant a guest starts planning their Walt Disney World Resort vacation to the moment they begin their return home, the focus is on delivering legendary guest service and one-of-a-kind experiences. Since Walt Disney World Resort opened in 1971, the company has relied on Cast Members to exceed the expectations of the millions of diverse guests who visit the resort each year.
By the Numbers
When the Magic Kingdom opened in 1971, approximately 5,500 Cast Members worked at Walt Disney World Resort. Today, the resort is the largest single-site employer in the United States, employing nearly 70,000 Cast Members in more than 3,000 different job classifications. The average tenure of a Walt Disney World Resort Cast Member is eight years.
Cast Member Offerings
In recognition of the magic Cast Members create for guests each and every day, Walt Disney World Resort offers a wide variety of programs, services and benefits that are designed to make a difference in Cast Members’ lives.
- Walt Disney WorldResort offers competitive pay and benefits, including several options for medical, dental and vision coverage, to eligible Cast Members and their dependents. Members of all health plans also receive free preventive care.
- The Center for Living Well Family Healthcare offers integrated medical care and convenience for Disney CIGNA-enrolled Cast and their families. Access to doctors, lab and X-ray services and a pharmacy is all provided in one on-site location. Confidentiality is held in the highest regard and busy schedules are easily accommodated.
- Disney offers an innovative collection of programs, tools and resources that Cast Members and their families can use to improve their health. The wide range of wellness offerings include personal health assessments, free, on-site screenings, flu vaccinations, physical activity programs, discounted weight loss programs, an on-site gym, healthy food options in cafeterias and vending machines, a customized wellness website and specialized programs and support groups for Cast Members with chronic conditions. Eligible Cast Members, spouses and partners can even earn extra cash in their paychecks by participating in the Wellness Rewards program.
- Disney supports Cast Members with their everyday life needs. Personal Life Resources offered by LifeCare® provide Cast Members on-site seminars and access to information and resources to assist with parenting, childcare, aging, eldercare, financial and legal needs and more. From plumbers to pet sitters, homework help to home remodeling, specialists are ready to do the legwork and tell Cast Members and their families who is reliable, available and in their budget – all for free.
- Walt Disney Parks & Resorts leaders are committed to cultivating our organizational vibrancy by embedding diversity, inclusion and multicultural thinking into our business. This helps to foster collaboration, innovation and continuous learning to deliver the best possible experience for our guests and our community. Diversity Resource Groups and a Diversity Council represent two forums where Cast actively engage in fostering a community where everyone feels welcomed, appreciated and valued.
- Equipping Cast Members with the skills they need to move forward in their careers is a commitment Disney takes seriously. Thousands of Cast Members enroll each year at Disney University, which offers more than 225 classes on topics ranging from hospitality management to basic computer skills. Other popular offerings include Disney Learning Centers, which are located throughout property and provide library and computer resources and The Walt Disney Company’s tuition reimbursement program.
- The Central Florida YMCA at Walt Disney World Resort offers two on-site childcare facilities for Cast Members. The centers offer extended days and hours of operation, opportunities for discounted tuition rates based on need, back-up care for when a primary provider is not available and affordable summer camp at Mickey’s Retreat at Little Lake Bryan.
- Grocery items are offered to Cast Members at near-wholesale prices at a convenient on-site store reflecting Disney’s commitment to providing affordable, healthier options for its employees. From fresh fruits and vegetables to bread, rice and pasta, items represent every category of the food pyramid and are the same high-quality ingredients served daily at Walt Disney World Resort restaurants.
- Cast Members may use pre-tax dollars, which are automatically deducted from their paychecks, to pay for monthly bus passes on Lynx. Using pre-tax dollars results in a potential savings of 15 to 35 percent each month, depending on individual tax status.
- Walt Disney WorldResort and Disney’s Personal Life Resources, sponsored by LifeCare®, partner with businesses locally and throughout the country to offer Cast Members special discounts on products and services such as food, merchandise, travel and more. Internet access to the hundreds of available discounts ensures Cast Members have convenient access day or night.
Eligible Cast Members receive free theme park admission at all four Walt Disney World Resorttheme parks, as well as the theme parks at Disneyland Resort in California, Disneyland Resort Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland. While enjoying the parks, Cast Members are eligible for a number of merchandise and food and beverage discounts.
- Whether it’s learning Tai Chi or striking a batter out, Cast Members can pursue a variety of recreational offerings that bring the magic of Disney to their leisure activities. Cast-exclusive events are held throughout the year and all Cast Members have access to Mickey’s Retreat at Little Lake Bryan, a 19-acre recreation facility that offers swimming, a children’s play area, picnic pavilions, an all-purpose sports field and volleyball, tennis and basketball courts.
- Walt Disney WorldResort has a long tradition of recognizing Cast Members for their years of service and celebrating its highest performers. Today, the company continues this tradition of showing appreciation for our Cast Member’s service and commitment in a number of ways including service celebrations, annual Cast appreciation events, local recognition programs specific to departments and through the newly created Walt Disney Legacy award program, which honors top-performers around the globe.
Relationship with Unions
Since before Walt Disney World Resort opened, it has worked with union organizations. Throughout the decades as the business has expanded, union labor has continued to play a role. Hundreds of labor agreements have been successfully negotiated with dozens of labor unions, representing more than 38,000 Cast Members.
Additional Magic Makers
In addition to Disney Cast Members, thousands of other workers employed by businesses that operate at Walt Disney World Resort play an important role in delivering the magic. Walt Disney World Resort has worked closely with such businesses since before the resort opened in 1971, enabling it to offer the best possible service and diversity of offerings to guests, achieve efficiencies that make investment in other areas of the business possible and adapt to market conditions.
All of these types of businesses are required to uphold the strong tradition of guest service that is the hallmark of the Disney experience. Over the years, Walt Disney World Resort has forged several long-term relationships that have enabled these businesses, including some which are small and/or minority-owned, to thrive and grow.
Today we have over 120 Operating Participants that employ over 15,000 employees in 200 locations, including theme parks, resorts, water parks, Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex and the Downtown Disney area. Currently, we have six of the pavilions at Epcot World Showcase, which are Operating Participating locations (China, Mexico, France, Italy, Morocco and Japan). There are Operating Participant entertainment facilities at Downtown Disney like Cirque du Soleil, House of Blues and the AMC Theaters.
The YMCA childcare facilities, Hess gas stations, Cast cafeterias, transportation and Disney’s Magical Express services are just a few more examples of Operating Participant businesses which on any given day play a critical role in delivering a magical guest experience and providing these experiences in a manner that is seamless for our guests.