What's this have to do with theme parks? Well, Walt Disney World's wedding pavilion is about to see a big increase in business.
Sure, plenty of same-gender couples have participated in ceremonies at Disney over the years. But ask anyone who's been in the wedding business in one of the 35 other states where same-gender marriages have become legal — there's a huge difference in demand when a wedding ceremony is legal than when it is only symbolic.
Analysts at UCLA estimate that more than 24,000 same-gender couples will marry in Florida over the next three years, generating more than $182 million in additional spending, with more than $42 million of that coming from visitors from out-of-state. (I couldn't find data on the number of all marriage licenses issued in the state of Florida for comparison. If anyone knows those numbers, submit 'em in the comments, please.)
No matter who's getting married, if you don't think that Mickey and his team are looking forward to welcoming more soon-to-be newlyweds to the Vacation Kingdom of the World for their weddings and honeymoons, you don't know Disney very well. With wedding packages starting at $2,500, Disney should expect to claim a substantial portion of that $182 million in new spending.
Legal same-gender marriages should help Disney and other theme park companies in the state internally, as well. You don't have to be too much of an insider to know that out gays and lesbians are overrepresented in the entertainment industry compared to the population at large. Florida's inability to offer legal same-gender marriage has put the state at a disadvantage when its parks compete for gay and lesbian personnel with parks in California, where such marriages have been legal since 2013 (plus for a few months in 2008). That's gone now. Florida's wedding industry is open to all as of this week, and theme parks couldn't be happier.Tweet
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