Disney might call itself the happiest place on earth, but the company isn’t so happy behind the scenes

In Opinion
An illustration of mouse ears facing a bunch of money falling down.

Disneyland is marketed as the “The Happiest Place On Earth” but in reality, it’s the most deceitful place on Earth. With massive crowds, insane ticket prices, ridiculous wait times and a lack of respect for its employees, this park isn’t what it promotes itself to be.

While Walt Disney Co. has done a tremendous job of keeping its family-friendly image in tact, it’s rife with greed and apathy for its consumers and employees.

“Disney the company is very much working for its stockholders, as many big corporations are,” said Andi Stein, Cal State Fullerton communications professor and who teaches a class about Disney. “Their job is to make money for their stockholders and to produce products and services that are going to earn them money.”

Most Disney employees who work in the park are, on average, getting paid minimum wage, according to Glassdoor.com, a website where employees and former employees anonymously review companies and their management.

With an annual revenue of $55.137 billion in 2017, the company could have increased its hourly pay instead of failing year after year to give its employees a livable wage.

Because of these low wages, many employees struggle to pay for medical expenses, housing and food.

This was the case for a Disneyland night janitor named Yeweinishet “Weini” Mesfin who was found dead in her car in November 2016, according to the Orange County Register. Mesfin started working at Disneyland in 2007, she lived out of her Honda Civic.

Stein said part of the reason why Disney’s low wages are often overlooked is because of the company’s focus on promoting a facade of happiness. People consider the parks to be the happiest place on Earth, assuming that the employees are happy there as well.

Disneyland is also notorious for its incredibly high prices. As of May 2018, a single-day ticket for one park is $117 for a regular entrance day and $135 for a peak-day ticket.

These prices are ridiculously high compared to just a decade ago when a single-day ticket was only $69, according to NPR.

But these consistently increasing prices are only a small part of Disney’s selfishness and lack of concern for its customers.

When a four-year-old boy fell off Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin ride in 2000 he suffered major brain damage, from which he never fully recovered from, but the public relations team did its very best to stop the incident from turning into a national story, to no avail.

The incident led to the first major investigation under a law regulating amusement parks and shortly after the accident Disneyland began making changes to its rides and safety procedures, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The Disney legal team later settled out of court for an undisclosed sum, according to the OC Register.

The Walt Disney Co. has definitely done a great job in brainwashing the youth, maintaining its spotless and perfect reputation. However, digging beneath the surface of happiness reveals all the greed, deception and apathy the company hides.

Although Disney films have been a part of people’s lives, they can’t be blinded by nostalgia and need to realize that Disney only has its own best interests in mind.

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