Study claims Disney worth more than $40 billion a year to Florida

November 14, 2023, 10:15 AM · 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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Replies (8)

November 14, 2023 at 10:44 AM

Only a little man in heels would look that gift horse in the mouth.

November 14, 2023 at 10:49 AM

"Disney commissioned the study" — and there you have it lmao.

November 14, 2023 at 11:58 AM

Every expert is hired by someone, doesn't undermine the evidentiary value of their analysis. Put another way, if this report is founded on bogus analysis, it will be disregarded, but my guess is Disney hired a reputable expert that employed established valuation methods to reach a defensible value.

November 14, 2023 at 12:24 PM

it absolutely undermines the value of their analysis if they're paid by a company that benefits from positive framing or data.

November 14, 2023 at 11:58 PM

Well, you're wrong. Parties to litigation hire experts in most every case, and those experts present their analysis and conclusions to the court, which weighs the evidentiary value like it would any evidence. No one is going to accept this report wholesale, they'll test and challenge its conclusions.

But you better bet that Disney hired a reputable expert that employed established valuation methods to reach a defensible value. It's not rocket science--valuation methods are very well established, which is to say if someone were trying to fudge, it would be easy to dispute.

By your logic, if expert testimony were rejected simply because the party paid for it, expert testimony would be rejected in every instance.

November 15, 2023 at 6:31 AM

Anyone who thinks Disney doesn’t have a massive impact on Florida’s economy has clearly drank some bad kool-aid.

November 15, 2023 at 10:34 AM

To prove the faulty study theory how about religious groups sponsor an investigation how many drag queen crimes vs clergy crimes in the state ? Wonder what would be found ?

Bet they won’t do it lol

November 16, 2023 at 4:52 PM

@tiptop Who knows what would be found, but it would be very easy to test the results. Did the expert employ commonly used and verifiable methods; etc. Again, it doesn't matter who hires the expert, what matters is the quality of the analysis and whether the conclusions can be successfully challenged.

The more you know!!!

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