LEGO minifigure Mickey Mouse on top of a pile of money

Walt Disney Wage Hike To Make Waves

  September 10, 2018

By Cathryn Jakicic

When the mouse roars, everybody listens.

For anyone who doubts the impact of Walt Disney on surrounding employers — including those in facilities management — the recent agreement between Walt Disney World Resort and its largest union offers an important les. The tentative four-year agreement that gradually will raise its starting minimum wage from $10 an hour to $15 an hour by October 2021.

When Walt Disney World — Central Florida’s largest employer — gives pay raises, it often creates a ripple effect that other businesses in the region, according to the Orlando Sentinel. The increases will apply to a range of employees, including ticket takers, custodians, attraction operators, and food service workers.

Everybody needs employees, and now they’ll be a bidding war against Disney, says Duncan Dickson, an associate professor at the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management. The ripple effect is expected to go from Disney to Universal to SeaWorld to Legoland to the hotels to all the little attractions, says John Morgan, an Orlando attorney who is pushing for a 2020 state ballot question to raise the minimum pay to $15.

Disney, which employs about 70,000 people in Central Florida, has dictated the going wages in recent history. University of Florida tourism professor Lori Pennington-Gray says that many employers, especially large corporations, take notice of the pay increase and that the move definitely will prompt a conversation.

This Quick Read was submitted by Cathryn Jakicic, Healthcare Industries Editor, FacilitiesNet. For more about hospital campuses and other medical facilities, visit


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