Keep Striking, Disneyland Paris Cast Members.

June 3, 2023
848 words

3 min read

Photo of protests in front of sleeping beauty's castle in Disneyland paris
Photo via @DLPReport on Twitter. FOLLOW THEM!

Disneyland Paris is supposed to be one of the Happiest Places on Earth. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but I don’t remember there being any addendum to that statement which means that shouldn’t also include the people who work to make it such. With this in mind, if you’re in any way against the protests currently happening at Disneyland Paris, let me tell you why you might need to have a rethink.

Disney has always had a patchy record when it comes to their Cast Members. One of the more recent examples of this is during the COVID-19 pandemic (remember that? That was fun), when one of the world’s richest companies laid off 32,000 Cast Members mere months after spending an eye watering $71.3 billion on acquiring Fox.

I believe this comes from taking the kinds of people that work for them massively for granted. I don’t have the data to back this up, but I would assume that an extremely high percentage of people who work for Disney are also fans of Disney. Because of this emotional attachment, I’d wager that a vast number of these employees will forgive an awful lot in the interest of being part of, and maintaining the ✨magic✨. I know I would.

Vive la France.

I know a lot of us are looking at these protests and thinking how awful it must be for the guests who are currently there visiting, some of whom it’ll be their first time. I think recent years have shown that one of the uniquely brilliant things about Disneyland Paris is its entertainment offerings, and many of those have unfortunately had to be cancelled.

Judging by the the points outlined above though, I think it’s fair to say that many of the Cast Members will be feeling the same way as us when it comes to the guests’ experience. Disney induces an almost religious type feeling in a lot of us – we want others to love it like we do, to feel ‘saved’ from the real world and have some kind of escapism. So ask yourself – how bad must things be for these Cast Members if they’re willingly bringing real world issues inside the park, potentially ruining experiences like this? How bad would they have to be for you?

The genius of this placard requires no description.

Ultimately, the demands of the Union are a small pay increase (which averages out at an extra 200€ a month for each Cast Member), increased mileage allowances, and more flexible scheduling. They basically want their pay to keep up with inflation so they don’t end up having a real terms pay cut. It would mean they can still afford to eat and heat their homes without having to make extreme cuts elsewhere in their lifestyle.

Does this seem unreasonable you, when parking at Disneyland Paris alone is 30€? When tickets can range from ‎€72.00 to €134.80? When costs are consistently rising throughout the resort? When a bleeding HOT DOG is 10€ on its own? I hardly think so.

I also think what people forget is that industrial action rarely starts out with strikes and protests. There will have been months, maybe years of discussions prior to this. Many, many requests will have been made of the hierarchy in Paris. The Union even met with Disney on the day just before the protests, but were sent away. Ultimately, these employees feel this is the only way their employer will listen – by making the experience actively worse for guests. I guarantee an unhappy, irritated guest is less likely to spend money on souvenirs and plush toys for example. A first timer who has a bad experience might never come back. It’s a stark reminder to the higher ups about who actually matters – who actually make the magic happen.

This is what’s supposed to happen. Protests are meant to be annoying. I think a lot of people have forgotten that – a fact which is hardly surprising when we have a government that seems obsessed with slowly but surely making any kind of demonstration illegal and a press that seems to want to make demonstrators out to be irritating and selfish at best and criminals at worst. But I guess that’s a discussion for another time, and another blog. Bottom line, none of this is meant to be convenient for Disney.

Disney’s solution seems to be just allowing people to reorganise their trips, and hoping these CMs just give up. If any of them happen to read this, please don’t. You guys make Disneyland Paris what it is to many of us – a home away from home. We can go on all the attractions we want, but ultimately I guarantee a lot of the lasting memories we have are when a Cast Member like you has made that little extra effort and made us smile.

Keep going. You’re an example to the rest of the world. If protests can happen at the Happiest Place on Earth, they can – and should – happen anywhere.

Isaac Pevy

Isaac Pevy

I'm a Disney fan with opinions, based in South-East England. You can follow me on Twitter if you want.