LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Nov. 14, 2023) – Walt Disney World Resort, one of the world’s most visited vacation destinations, generated $40 billion in economic impact across the state and more than a quarter of a million total jobs in fiscal year 2022, according to a new study from Oxford Economics announced today.
The study found that Disney, which has fueled Florida’s economy, tourism and small businesses for more than half a century, generated the following across the year:
- $40.3 billion in total statewide economic impact.
- 263,000 direct and indirect jobs – 1 out of every 32 jobs in the state.
- This figure includes Disney’s workforce of 82,000 across the state. Within Central Florida, Disney directly supports 12%, or 1-in-8, of all jobs. For every direct job on-site at Disney, an additional 1.7 jobs are supported across Florida.
- Without Disney’s statewide job impact, Florida’s unemployment would jump from 3% to 5.4%, which would take Florida from the 21st lowest unemployment rate among all 50 states to the second highest unemployment rate in the country.
- Disney revenues and off-site visitor spending contributed to $12.1 billion in total labor income in fiscal year 2022.
- $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 – helping to fund local schools, law enforcement, public safety, parks, roadways and more throughout Central Florida.
- 2,500 Florida-based small businesses contracted to supply products and services to Disney World.
- Part of the more than 8,500 small businesses across the country contracted by The Walt Disney Company.
The study, which was commissioned by Disney, also reflects the economic impact of Disney Signature Experiences in Florida, including Disney Vacation Club and Disney Cruise Line.
The results are for fiscal year 2022, prior to the Reedy Creek Improvement District becoming the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District with the appointment of a new board.
This announcement comes as the attraction industry convenes in Orlando this week for IAAPA Expo 2023, the premier global event that brings together industry professionals to shape the future of guest experiences. This week also marks the 58th anniversary since the now-famous press conference in Orlando where Walt and Roy Disney announced their “Florida Project” alongside then-Florida Governor Haydon Burns.
“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.”
“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, President, Walt Disney World Resort. “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.”
Disney Creates Jobs in Florida
Disney’s operations power a massive small business ecosystem in the state. The company works with 2,500 small businesses here in Florida and thousands more across the country who employ workers and provide a wide range of goods and services – from the local painters who help maintain Cinderella Castle, to the family-run vendor who supplies some of the sweet treats served in the theme parks and more. Over 160 third-party businesses also operate on Disney’s property, from restauranteurs to hoteliers, retailers and more, providing opportunities for even more local Florida-based businesses to serve the millions of guests who visit Walt Disney World each year.
Disney Is One of the Largest Taxpayers in the Region
In fiscal year 2022, Disney paid and collected a combined $1.1 billion in state and local taxes to Orange and Osceola Counties and the state of Florida, as well as to the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District. The Florida State Legislature established this special district, formerly known as the Reedy Creek Improvement District, in 1967 to help provide services, including power, water, roads and fire protection for the 47-square miles of Walt Disney World Resort.
This district was a cost-effective mechanism throughout its history in ensuring the tax burden for these services did not fall on Orange and Osceola County residents. It allowed Disney to efficiently invest tens of billions of dollars in Florida over the past several decades by maintaining the highest development and service standards on Disney property.
Decade of Unprecedented Growth for Disney in Florida
No other theme park destination spans the size and scale of Walt Disney World, which is nearly twice the size of the island of Manhattan with four theme parks, over 25 Resort hotels, two water parks, a world-class shopping, dining and entertainment district, and more. According to the Themed Entertainment Association, Walt Disney World is the most visited theme park destination in the world.
The significant growth of Disney’s economic impact in the state comes after an unprecedented period of growth and expansion across Walt Disney World over the last decade, including:
- New theme park lands themed to Disney’s incomparable library of intellectual property, including franchises such as Star Wars, Toy Story and AVATAR.
- More attractions and experiences based on world-beloved characters and stories like Mickey Mouse, Guardians of the Galaxy, Ratatouille and Beauty and the Beast.
- The growth of Disney’s onsite transportation network with the innovative Disney Skyliner gondola system.
- New resort hotels including more Disney Vacation Club properties and value options for families like Disney’s Art of Animation Resort.
- Nearly doubling the size of the Disney Springs shopping and dining district to include dozens of additional tenants and small businesses.
Since its launch in 1998, Disney Cruise Line has called Florida home and contributed to the state economic growth and job creation with a year-round homeport in Port Canaveral. With a current fleet of five ships and three more planned, Disney Cruise Line is currently in the midst of the largest expansion in the cruise line’s history. As part of its expansion plans, Disney Cruise Line recently celebrated the opening of its second dedicated cruise terminal and year-round homeport in Florida at Port Everglades in Broward County.
Disney Gives Back to Florida Nonprofits
In addition, Disney has contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to local nonprofits throughout its history and last month announced another round of donations totaling $1.5 million going to 19 organizations making a difference in the arts, education, hunger relief and other philanthropic efforts.
In fiscal year 2022, Disney cast members also donated more than 233,000 volunteer hours in Florida.
Disney Turbocharges Investment in Parks
The Walt Disney Company recently announced it is developing plans to accelerate and expand investment in its Experiences segment to nearly double capital expenditures over the course of approximately 10 years to roughly $60 billion, including by investing in expanding and enhancing domestic and international parks and cruise line capacity.
If history is any indication, when Disney invests in Florida, its residents and businesses benefit. To learn more about Disney in Florida, visit DisneyFlorida.com, follow on Facebook @WDWCastandCommunity or on Instagram @wdw.ambassador.
Methodology: To quantify the economic impact of Disney in Florida, Oxford Economics prepared a comprehensive model using multiple primary and secondary data sources to quantify the impacts arising from multiple channels of spending attributable to Disney. Impact modeling was based on an IMPLAN Input-Output (I-O) model for the State of Florida, and the results of this study show the scope of Disney’s impact in terms of revenue and operational spending, as well as total economic impacts, including total business sales, employment, household income, and fiscal (tax) impacts.
Additional Quotes from Community:
- “Disney’s impact goes far beyond the gates of its theme parks and positively touches our lives in nearly every corner of our community. Disney not only pioneered Orlando’s theme park industry with its own investments over the last five decades, they also paved the way for others to invest in our city and help make it the tourism destination it is today. It’s been an honor working alongside Disney as they help continue to move Florida forward.” – Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer
- “My connection with Disney World runs deep having been a cast member myself in its opening years, and what remains true after all this time, is Disney’s immense and positive impact on its employees and our community at large. In serving this community as long as I have, I can confidently say that Disney’s contributions have resulted in the progress and prosperity of Florida and all who call it home.” – Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings
- “Working with Disney has had a very positive impact on us. It’s opened up a lot of opportunities and now we have a need to grow and expand our operation.” – Neal Crosier, Owner of Popcorn Junkie
- “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.” – James Petrakis, Owner of The Polite Pig at Disney Springs
- “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.” – Pamela Landwirth, President & CEO of Give Kids The World Village
- “Working with The Walt Disney Company is phenomenal. Disney understands the supplier’s needs to engage in a fruitful and mutually beneficial relationship.” – Walter Pelaez, Chief Executive Officer of Sobel Westex
- “Working with extremely talented chefs to create proprietary blends for all the signature restaurants on the property has been the highlight of my career, and being honored to be chosen as Disney’s official specialty coffee provider was extremely rewarding. The trust and confidence Disney placed in us makes us very proud.” – Chris DeMezzo, Chief Operating Officer and Co-Owner of Joffrey’s Coffee and Tea Company
- “We always feel that you earn the next project by delivering on the one you’re on. That’s something that we’ve built into our culture and that you earn that business. So, whenever we get repeat opportunities, we see that Walt Disney World is willing to put their trust in us.” – James Delahanty, President of Intex Coating
About Oxford Economics: Oxford Economics is the world’s foremost independent economic advisory firm. Oxford Economics enables intelligent and responsible decision-making through the provision of timely, data-driven economic and business insights and solutions that clients trust.
About Walt Disney World: Walt Disney World Resort is a world-class entertainment and recreation destination featuring four of the most popular theme parks from around the globe, two thrilling water parks, nearly 29,000 hotel rooms, a sports complex, several golf courses and Disney Springs — a metropolis of shopping, dining and entertainment. Since 1971, Walt Disney World has focused on delivering legendary guest service and one-of-a-kind experiences that make it the number one vacation destination in the world where families create magical memories.
Walt Disney World Resort