What is Walt Disney World worth to the state of Florida? According to a new economic analysis, a lot.
Like more than $40 billion a year.
New analysis by UK-based Oxford Economics estimated that Disney generated $40.3 billion in statewide economic activity in its 2022 fiscal year, including both direct and indirect spending through its supply chain and employees. The report said that Disney sustains 263,000 jobs in Florida, including its own 82,000 cast members across the state as well as employees of other companies whose business is made possible by Disney's presence in Florida.
"To put this in perspective, the unemployment rate in Florida was 3.0% in September 2023," Oxford Economics said in its press release. "Based on the current size of the state’s labor force, the unemployment rate would be 5.4% without Disney-supported jobs. This would take Florida from ranking 21st lowest among all states to having the second highest unemployment rate in the country."
The study noted that Disney works with 160 third-party businesses on Disney’s property in Florida, plus 2,500 small businesses in Florida that provide supplies and services to the company.
Oxford Economics said that Disney supports one in every eight jobs in Central Florida, and one in every 32 jobs across all of Florida. In addition, the consultants said that Disney generates $3.1 billion in annual state and local tax revenue a year from the company, its employees, visitors, and third-party businesses. In FY22, Oxford Economics said that Disney itself directly paid $1.1 billion in state and local taxes to Orange and Osceola Counties and the state of Florida, as well as to the former Reedy Creek Improvement District, which the state voted to scuttle and replace with the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District - a move that Disney is fighting in court.
Disney commissioned the study, which I personally suspect might end up being submitted as evidence in the company's legal case. And Disney certainly is pushing today to get the findings out there to help boost Floridians' support for the company. As part of that, Disney is quoting some of its Central Florida political allies.
"Disney’s impact goes far beyond the gates of its theme parks and positively touches our lives in nearly every corner of our community," Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said in a press release issued by Walt Disney World. "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."
"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 said in the release.
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