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Disney World Faces Backlash After Donating $100,000 for Hurricane Relief: “Pay the Damn Cast Members”

idalia relief disney world
Images Credit: Disney; NHC

Disney World announced $100,000 to help relief efforts after Hurricane Idalia recently swept through parts of the US, but fans remain unimpressed.

At the beginning of last week, news of a tropical depression just 80 miles south of Cozumel, Mexico, that became Tropical Storm Idalia (which would soon become Hurricane Idalia) made headlines as outlets reported the storm was making its way across to Florida. The storm was predicted to make landfall as a category four hurricane.

The hurricane eventually weakened to a tropical storm once again after landfall and spawned “strong thunderstorms across cities from Florida to the Carolinas, and some even produced flash flooding and tornadoes,” as reported by FOX Weather.

hurricane idalia disney world

Hurricane Idalia hit Florida earlier this week / Credit: National Weather Service

Even though the storm largely skipped over Orlando, Central Florida, and Disney World with respect to its most adverse effects, the Walt Disney World Resort, one of the largest contributors to Florida’s economy, announced its decision to help out with relief efforts for Hurricane Idalia.

Journalist Scott Gustin shared, “Walt Disney World is donating $100,000 to Second Harvest of the Big Bend to support Idalia relief and recovery efforts.”

“We continue to be inspired by the way so many people across Florida are showing up for each other and are sending our love and support to all those impacted,” a spokesperson from Disney said.


However, rather than a simple appreciation for the act, the response to this from the Disney community has been complicated. While some have applauded Disney for its effort to pitch in—one fan shared, “That’s very nice. Good job Walt Disney World”—some have also taken the Central Florida Disney resort to task for this seemingly charitable decision.

One fan on Twitter called out the Disney Park: “Nice sentiment, now pay the damn cast members @WaltDisneyWorld.” 

Moana Meet and Greet Disney's Animal Kingdom

Moana Meet and Greet at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park / Credit: Disney

The fan is, of course, referring to Disney’s notorious propensity to underpay its cast members. While strides have been made in the contracts for unionized cast members after major strikes and negotiations between the Disney World cast member union and the Walt Disney Company, there is still a way to go.

Cast members have had issues with making rent, rendering them homeless, paying their bills, and generally struggling financially.

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Cinderella Castle, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort / Credit: Disney

This also isn’t the first time Disney World has faced backlash when it announced a move to aid in relief efforts of any kind. Earlier this year, the Walt Disney Company and Walt Disney World faced the same kind of backlash after they donated $100,000 to help homeless Floridians, but didn’t put that same effort into helping homeless cast members.

About Priyanka Kumar

Priyanka is a writer, artist, avid reader, and travel enthusiast based in Chicago. In her free time, she is probably walking by the lake, catching up on the latest releases on TV, or spending inordinate amounts of time rewatching Moana, Encanto, and her Disney Channel life-long favorites Zack and Cody wreak havoc on the Tipton.

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