Did you know that Walt Disney World is one of the largest employers in all of Florida? It’s no wonder considering it’s Walt Disney World that put central Florida on the map. Prior to 1971, the population of the Orlando Metro area was 250,000 and consisted mainly of orange groves and swamp land. Fast forward now to 2023 and the population has exploded to over 2.5 million!
Many people have flocked close to the most Magical Place on Earth to be able to visit whenever they want, but many people have moved to the area to work their dream jobs in Walt Disney World.
Whether your dream is to be friends with Mickey, sing on stage, scoop ice cream, or create grand illusions, Walt Disney World is home to the nation’s most creative jobs that keep you in the magic.
But just how many people actually work at Disney?
Is Disney World Understaffed?
Disney World has always been a popular destination, but in the years since the pandemic, we have seen significantly higher crowds and more wait times. What’s to blame? Disney execs have cited understaffing as the culprit. But how can Disney be understaffed? What are Disney Employment Numbers?
In 2019, the year before the pandemic, Walt Disney World saw 20,960,000 visitors and had about 70,000 Cast Members. After the parks reopened in late 2020, the CDC put a lot of strain on employees throughout the country to juggle the new COVID requirements, such as social distancing, mask enforcement, sanitation, etc.
Not only was there a strain on the employee workload, but there was also a literal lack of employees. After reopening, Disney had been forced to lay off more than 43,000 Cast Members. That’s a small city’s worth of people that didn’t come back.
But why? People are asking where did they go after the pandemic? There were various reasons that so many people didn’t return. Think about the international EPCOT employees. They had to return to their home countries and were just reinstated in 2022. You have your college programs that were paused at the time of the reopening. And of course, many people took advantage to further their education and broaden their horizons during quarantine, and we say congratulations to them!
Peek into Disney World’s Past
Those that are quick to judge Walt Disney World for those rough few months after reopening with these “new normal” requirements must not remember that rough beginnings is a bit of a Disney Parks tradition.
When Disneyland in California opened in 1955 the pavement wasn’t dry and women were sinking in and the rides were breaking down left and right. When Disney World opened in 1971, there were issues again with uncured pavements and ride malfunctions. These folly traditions have continued at every Disney park.
Walt Disney reminds us that we are only limited to our imagination and to keep creating. The work is never done. The same mindset should be applied to growing pains and changes. If something isn’t working, have patience and fix it. Be kind to Cast Members and if there is an issue that you would like to address, seek out Guest Relations with the blue umbrellas throughout the park.
It’s safe to say that everything is back to normal at Walt Disney World, and not that “new normal” stuff from before. We are normal, normal now! There’s character dining, fireworks shows, meet and greets, and new memories to be had! We have to remind ourselves that Walt Disney made the dream, but it’s really the Cast Members that make the magic! Without Cast Members, Disney World would just be bricks and paint.
2022 ended with a bang of record-high guest visits and still managed to create new offerings, which means, new jobs. There are just about 80,000 Cast Members working currently at Walt Disney World to take care of 60,000,000 guests each year. Let’s give these Cast Members a hand!
Want to Thank a Cast Member?
If you ever have exceptional service from any type of Walt Disney World Cast Member, be sure to brag about it! Not only is it good for their career, but it’s also great for their self esteem, too! These “Cast Compliments”, as they are called, are used for promotion points and career advancement. If someone is going above and beyond then they are living out the Disney methods and should be rewarded for it.
You can thank a Cast Member in your My Disney Experience app. Just search “Cast Compliment” and give a few details. Helpful details are the Cast Member’s first name and their hometown (it’s on the tag), and/or area of the parks where they were working. Tell Disney what made the interaction magical and you can spread the joy.
Think about it this way – If people go out of their way to compliment you for doing something special, you’re a lot more likely to continue doing it! Win, win, win!
We’ve had some fun here with some Disney World statistics like employment numbers and guests count. Let’s check out some other fun Disney World employment stats!
- Walt Disney World spans 27,258 acres in central Florida, and Walt purchases it for a mere $5 million.
- It cost $400 million to build Walt Disney World
- Magic Kingdom sees almost double the visitors of every other park in Walt Disney World
- Walt Disney World is the largest single-site employer in the United States
- 2,500 employees work in costume design creating 13,000 costumes every year, and 300 of them are for Mickey Mouse!
- 285,000 lbs of laundry is washed by WDW employees every single day
- Walt Disney World Resort has more than 30,000 hotel rooms, 409 cabins, 799 campsites, and over 3,000 Disney Vacation Club (DVC) rooms.
- Disney employs over 350 chefs to work at 300 dining areas serving up 10 million hamburgers and 9 million pounds of french fries every year
- The monorail has traveled enough miles in 50 years to travel to the moon and back 30 times
I am a mother of three that has refused to grow up. Adulting is for the birds, so I go to Disney World every chance I get for that magical escape from reality. I believe that Haunted Mansion is the best ride in all of the Disney Parks, and I am fervently in team Happily Ever After for fireworks spectaculars, (sorry, not sorry, Enchanted). Finally, I hope I never grow tired of skipping down Main Street, USA, and my dream come true would be “friends with” the Fairy Godmother in my old age.