Actors dressed as stormtroopers on a Disney parade float.

Disneyland Parade Performers Move to Unionize with Actors’ Equity Association

In recent years, unionization has taken hold at the Magic Kingdom in a piecemeal way. Various employee divisions have successfully joined unions to ensure competitive pay and various workplace protections. The latest cohort of Disneyland employees to unionize are the cast members who suit up each day to bring beloved Disney characters to life.

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Disneyland cast members who work as parade performers and characters are in the process of unionizing via the Actors’ Equity Association. While the number of characters and parade performers joining the union has not been finalized, some 1,700 Disneyland cast members perform these roles. They are calling their fledgling union Magic United. 

On Magic United’s website, the characters and performers outline four key concerns that have fueled their desire to unionize. Their list of workplace priorities includes fair compensation, cast member safety, job security, and clear, respectful communication. 

Back in the 1980s, costumed Disneyland workers unionized with the Teamsters. The issues that led to the 1980s Teamsters unionizing are similar to the concerns that costumed cast members currently have—things like the need for protection from guests who might try to physically engage with the performers. Costumed cast members have also cited a need for clean, high-quality costumes that can weather the damages of their fast-paced, extremely physical work. Importantly, they are also seeking costumes that match their skin tone. 

Now, if all goes well, Disneyland’s character and parade performers will join with the Actors’ Equity Association as union-protected cast members. They’ll be working alongside the food and beverage Disneyland union, which represents some 6,500 park workers, and the transportation Disneyland union, which represents some 5,000 more.

Those looking to show support for the union can find resources here.

(featured image: Jerod Harris/WireImage)


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