Disney recently released a new study completed by Oxford Economics that quantifies the impact that Walt Disney World Resort has on the local community and the state of Florida.
The numbers are interesting to see how the state benefits from the resort. The information was gathered based on Disney’s own business data, surveys of guests, and participation from other small businesses.
Disney and Oxford Economics released the study on the week of the 58th anniversary of the press conference where Walt and Roy Disney and Florida Governor Haydon Burns announced the plans for Disney to come to Florida. The study comes as Disney continues with their legal fight against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. This study serves as a backdrop for the importance of the resort in Florida.
With that context, we’ll now dive into the most interesting aspects of the new study. It’s always interesting to understand the financial impact of the Disney resorts. The study is based on data from before the DeSantis appointed board took over for the Reedy Creek District.
Disney World Economic Impact on Florida
The study results for the fiscal year of 2022 show that across the year, Disney generated $40.3 billion in total statewide economic impact and $6.6 billion in tax revenue (including $3.1 billion in annual state and local tax revenue generated by Disney, visitors, employees, and third-party businesses). Disney also generated 263,000 direct and indirect jobs (1 out of every 32 in the state), and without Disney’s job impact, unemployment would rise from 3% to 5.4% in Florida.
The study was generated by Oxford Economics which works with a number of sports teams and other activities to generate reports on economic impact such as this. Disney released a similar report, though not with Oxford, as part of the DisneylandForward zoning proposal seen here.
“Disney is an economic catalyst to the state of Florida generating billions in economic activity, either directly, or indirectly through its supply chain and the spending of employees,” said Adam Sacks, President of Tourism Economics, a division of Oxford Economics. “Disney is also vital to the funding of public services, as it generated taxes of $6.6 billion in 2022, including state and local taxes of $3.1 billion.”
Disney Small Business Creation
Disney plays a crucial role in creating jobs in Florida, working with over 2,500 Florida-based small businesses and thousands more across the country to provide goods and services. There are also over 160 third-party businesses that operate on Disney’s property, including retailers, restauranteurs, hoteliers, and more, providing additional opportunities for local Florida-based businesses.
James Petrakis, Owner of the Polite Pig at Disney Springs, comments on the impact of the restaurant’s relationship with Disney: “From day one, the experience and the relationship that Disney has offered us is better than anything I’ve ever seen. Our business has grown in the last three years by about 25 to 30%. We are pushing numbers that we never expected out of fast casual.”
Disney Is One of the Biggest Taxpayers in the Region
Disney paid and collected a combined total of $1.1 billion in state and local taxes during the fiscal year of 2022 to Orange and Osceola Counties, the state of Florida, and the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District. The Florida State Legislature established this district (previously known as the Reedy Creek Improvement District) in 1967 to help provide services for the 47 square miles that the Walt Disney World Resort occupies.
Throughout its history, the district helped to ensure the tax burden for these services did not fall on Orange and Osceola County residents and allowed Disney to invest tens of billions of dollars in Florida.
Disney’s Contribution to Florida Nonprofits
Throughout Disney’s history, it has contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to local nonprofits. Last month, Disney announced another round of donations totaling $1.5 million going to 19 organizations. In the fiscal year 2022, Disney Cast members donated more than 233,000 volunteer hours in Florida.
Pamela Landwirth, President & CEO of Give Kids The World Village—a nonprofit dedicated to providing week-long vacations for critically ill children and their families around the world at no cost—comments: “Hope is the most precious gift you can give another human being, and that’s the gift that Disney has helped us give. We’ve been able to welcome in more than 190,000 wish families from 50 states and 77 countries around the world because of Disney’s support.”
Disney Turbocharges Investment in Parks
Disney recently announced plans to accelerate and expand investment in its Experiences segment to nearly double capital expenditures over about 10 years to roughly $60 billion, including by investing in expanding and enhancing domestic and international parks and cruise line capacity. You can read more analysis on what the increased spending will actually lead to across the Disney Parks. Read our thoughts on the Disney Parks $60 billion “turbocharge” and what was discussed.
“I am incredibly proud of how Disney has created meaningful change and benefitted people’s lives in Florida for generations, not just in establishing our area’s theme park industry, but also in how we have worked with other sectors across the state to do the same,” said Jeff Vahle, the President of the Walt Disney World Resort, speaking of Disney’s impact on Florida. “The numbers speak for themselves on why Disney is so important to fueling jobs, the economy and tourism throughout our region, and the future investments we’re looking to make will continue to provide even more opportunities for Floridians.”
See the infographic below for an overview of Disney’s economic impact in Florida:
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