A California judge dismissed a lawsuit from Disneyland employees that would have forced Disney to pay workers $18 per hour.
The suit was based on Measure L, a ballot measure passed by Anaheim voters in 2018 that required hospitality industry businesses that receive city subsidies to pay workers a minimum wage of $18 per hour by 2022, with future wage increases tied to inflation.
However, Orange County Superior Court Judge William Claster ruled that bonds issued by the city in 1996 — which were used for infrastructure improvements and building the Mickey & Friends parking garage — do not qualify as subsidies, even though the bonds are paid off by taxes generated by the Disneyland Resort and the garade is leased to Disney for $1 per year.
“This is a significant benefit to the Disney Defendants, but again, there is no evidence that the finance agreement somehow lessens their tax obligation,” Claster wrote in his ruling. “Therefore the public benefit conferred on the Disney Defendants by the Finance Agreement does not create a City Subsidy.”
The Disneyland workers’ attorney, Randy Renick, criticized the “hyper-technical ruling” as one that “disregards the clear intent of the voters.” Anaheim spokesperson Mike Lyster, however, said the decision “validates what we already knew and have said ― the city of Anaheim does not provide any rebate or subsidy to Disney.”
Anaheim City Council members had voted unanimously to terminate two other tax rebate agreements just before the Measure L vote in 2018 at Disney’s request, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Disneyland’s current minimum wage is $15 per hour due to a union deal reached in 2018.
Cedar Fair’s in-park spending outpaces 2019 levels
Attendance at Cedar Fair parks from July through September 2021 was only 82 percent of what it recorded in the same period in 2019, but those fewer guests are spending more.
The company reported that in-park per capita spending hit $64.29, a 29 percent jump over 2019.
“The growth of in-park per capita spending has been largely driven by increased spending on extra-charge attractions, including our front-of-line Fast Lane products as well as our guest spending across all other in-park revenue categories,” Cedar Fair president and CEO Richard Zimmerman said in the company’s third quarter earnings call. “The trends we have seen since opening our parks in mid-May through this past Sunday are encouraging and suggest consumer confidence is quite strong.”
While Cedar Fair has slowed down any capital expenditures — also known as new construction — due to the pandemic, chief financial officer Brian Witherow said the company expected to spend between $175 million and $200 million on projects in 2022.
“We’re reactivating several key projects that we pause back in 2020, most notably the renovation of the two-year round resorts, Cedar Point, Castaway Bay and Sawmill Creek, both of which we believe are going to play key roles in our strategy of expanding the operating calendar at that park and in that market,” Witherow said.
Cedar Point’s Wicked Twister won’t be moved to another park
If you were hoping to see Cedar Point’s Wicked Twister find a new home, you’re out of luck.
The Intamin Impulse coaster closed in September after a 19-year run. Being a compact coaster, and with Cedar Fair parks like Michigan’s Adventure and Worlds of Fun not having added a new coaster in more than a decade, speculation was rampant that the chain would move Wicked Twister.
Instead, it’s being demolished, as Cedar Point communications director Tony Clark detailed in blunt terms in a blog post.
“For clarity, Wicked Twister is not being reincarnated as a new ride at any of our sister parks; it’s not coming back to life as a climbing structure, it’s not being inserted into Maverick’s layout to bring back the heartline roll,” Clark wrote. “It’s being disposed of. Not coming back, anywhere.”
Cedar Point will sport, at most, 16 coasters in 2022, putting it fourth in the world in coaster count for a single park. There’s no word yet on if or when Top Thrill Dragster will reopen following its serious accident in August.