The economic impact of Walt Disney World in Florida reached an impressive $40 billion last year, revealed a recent study commissioned by Disney and conducted by the independent economic consulting firm, Oxford Economics. The resort, known as “the happiest place on Earth,” not only enchants millions of visitors annually but also stands out as an economic giant for the state of Florida.
The figures unveiled by the study are remarkable, indicating that Walt Disney World generated about $40.3 billion in economic activity last year. This goes far beyond the magical experiences offered in the four theme parks, two water parks, dozens of hotels, and its own commercial and entertainment district.
One of the most significant impacts highlighted by the report is the key role of Disney in job creation. The company is responsible for maintaining 263,000 jobs in Florida, representing approximately 1 in every 32 jobs in the state. This includes not only the 82,000 direct employees of Disney but also workers from 2,500 local small businesses that provide services and supplies, such as bakeries supplying treats served in the parks.
In addition to the employment impact, Disney contributed significantly to Florida’s fiscal landscape, generating an impressive $6.6 billion in taxes in 2022. Of this amount, $3.1 billion came from local and state taxes generated by Disney itself, visitors, employees, and outsourced companies.
President of Tourism Economics, Adam Sacks, emphasized Disney as an economic catalyst for the state of Florida, influencing not only directly but also indirectly through its supply chain and employee spending.
The study highlights that without Disney’s presence, Florida’s unemployment rate could have risen from 3% to 5.4%, the second-highest in the country. Jeff Vahle, President of Disney World, emphasized the company’s pride in contributing to significant changes in the lives of people in Florida, not only establishing the theme park industry but also collaborating with other sectors throughout the state.
Despite challenges, such as the dispute with the state government regarding control of the Reedy Creek Improvement District, Disney continues to invest in Florida. CEO Bob Iger revealed plans to allocate an additional $17 billion over the next 10 years to expand and improve national and international parks, as well as cruise ships.
Looking to the future, Disney has various projects underway for its Florida resort, including the overhaul of Test Track at EPCOT and the creation of a “Zootopia”-inspired show at Animal Kingdom. The company is committed to “turbocharging” growth in its Experiences business, encompassing theme parks, hotels, merchandise, and cruise lines, promising a substantial investment of $60 billion over the next 10 years.
Text credits:By Journalist Flávio Bergmann
photomontage: by Vinícius Pascoal