Disney sends a powerful message to Ron DeSantis and CFTOD with new report highlighting Disney's immense value to the state of Florida

Nov 14, 2023 in "The Walt Disney Company"

Posted: Tuesday November 14, 2023 12:05pm ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

Walt Disney World Resort 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 new report comes at a time when Disney is locked in multiple lawsuits with the Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, and his Central Florida Tourism Oversight District which replaced Disney's Reedy Creek Improvement District as the governing body in which Walt Disney World resides. Disney claims in its lawsuit filed in a federal court that there has been "A targeted campaign of government retaliation-orchestrated at every step by Governor DeSantis as punishment for Disney's protected speech-now threatens Disney's business operations, jeopardizes its economic future in the region, and violates its constitutional rights."

According to today's report, Disney generated in 2022:

  • $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.

Disney points out that 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 Ron DeSantis board.

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."

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.

Throughout its history, this district was a cost-effective mechanism 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.

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.

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Stripes4 days ago

What? The new development agreement is based on the existing 2020 Comprehensive plan. There’s just a blurb in there that the district and Disney will amend the agreement in order to give Disney even more development rights once the new comprehensive plan is effective.

mkt4 days ago

They are not. And the politization of day to day is affecting morale across the other civil servants. I personally know of two ex-RCID/current-CFTOD employees that are taking an early retirement and starting the same job with a different private or public sector enterprise in the area.

Stripes4 days ago

. After the new district took over at the beginning of this mess, Vahle put out a statement that Disney sought to work with the new board on very friendly terms. Disney’s goal was never to continue this fight. Disney promised to do things they were already going to do. It also doesn’t matter because even if Disney doesn’t do what they promised the district can’t prove otherwise until the development agreement expires anyway. The board can’t do much of anything to antagonize Disney anymore. Disney was content to have the new board takeover with guardrails in place at the beginning of this mess. The Florida GOP are once again on Disney’s payroll. There is no risk so long as that continues.

flynnibus4 days ago

Yes I know - which is why I said Disney would be the one to extend the olive branch... the act to initiate and signal a wish to reconcile... Disney knows full well what the union did and the sides they chose... but Disney also knows the union isn't going anywhere... and they know the union has egg on it's face. When your opposition is knocked down and deflated... being the one to help them back up is often a strong way to reconcile and move beyond the past transgressions.

flynnibus4 days ago

Ehh.. the lawsuits were already done. And of course Disney only sued after the state attacked the developer agreement... they can't sue for a contract being violated before it was :) Disney made a pre-emptive strike at the district level with the developer agreement... they fired the first shots.. just not in court. No, Disney still has to deal with the district, and whomever the state decides to sit there.. and all the 'how can they make life worse for disney' points are all still the same. Nothing that happened since RCID was torn down touched anything in the comprehensive plan that was in place and the only portion of the new developer agreement that really matters is it locks in new land management minimums for the property as a whole. Disney basically promised 8 billion dollars and capitulating in return to ensure they get to define the new TBD comprehensive plan like the old days... with their interests at the forefront. Everything else is still as it was with the new District in power... the difference now is right now you have District management that is cooperating with Disney. It's just an example of how far things can swing based on the District's board... they can be completely antagonistic, or they can be completely submissive... all within the same structure. Disney gets to lock up the master plan for the property - but everything else is still at the whim of the Governor because he can swap people to do whatever he pleases. And her job is only as secure as the Governor in office's latest itch. The anti-Disney stance of the last year plus was not because a rogue guy was hired as the district administrator... let's not forget that. Those people were just yes-men who were replaced just as fast as they were put in place when the agenda changed. That risk hasn't changed.

lazyboy97o4 days ago

The firefighters in particular did decide to get involved and oppose Disney.

flynnibus4 days ago

I know they weren't truly employees - I think after 1200 pages we wouldn't be challenging that slang I used. Their benefits here were because Disney gave it to them.. and Disney was hands on in the arrangement.. as well as hands on with the District's management. They were not true employees - but they were in effect, serving at the behest of Disney and Disney calling the shots in this matter. Now that we are past the obvious... Yes, the tax liability has to be addressed since the cat is out of the bag so to speak... but Disney can just gross people up to cover the expense too. It's just a matter of what they want to pay for... and we've already heard how big of a deal it was to those who were getting the benefit. All of this is moving around the elephant in the room.. which is you have hundreds of rank and file employees who weren't part of this anti-disney campaign... but got dragged along with it... and now that their two-faced leaders have done the 180 to tow the new business mandate... I wonder if they will address the employees who lost through this.

Stripes4 days ago

Bear in mind, Disney only sued once the district and the state came after the development agreement. Now that a development agreement is back in place (one that is very favorable to Disney) there’s no need to continue the lawsuits as Disney sees it. Bad PR in this age of incredible polarization with little benefit to the business. Disney can once again build whatever they want without government interference. The new administrator has a great relationship with Disney and worked with DeSantis in the past to carve out exceptions in legislation so that new laws wouldn’t apply to Disney. She has basically done their bidding for years.

Stripes4 days ago

They were never Disney employees. Disney may allow the district employees to purchase the old passes again with their stipend. But unless the district changes how they calculate the stipend amount, it will never be the same perk.

flynnibus5 days ago

Well, according to the district MANAGEMENT it was - who are no longer there. And the new management has already showed they are willing to to deals that contradict prior discord and agendas and the two parties are collaborating behind closed doors. (which ironically - that's the biggest thing the GOP HASN'T fixed about the prior district... because now they are part of the gang). Which is why I poised the question... will Disney turn back to its former employees and try to fight to make it happen?

Stripes5 days ago

According to the district it was an inappropriate perk to begin with. So I don’t think the firefighters will be getting their Disney perks back. They’re SOL.

flynnibus5 days ago

I wonder if Disney will somehow extend an olive branch to the Firefighters and get them their perks back... or if the district will quietly pivot back on the topic for everyone.

flynnibus5 days ago

This a place for objective reasoning. If you have lines to tow... you're gonna get called out for the non-sense it is.

flynnibus5 days ago

Maybe - but you still haven't listed anything they gained or are better off from where they started though... nor addressed the other things they have lost. Name one thing that is better now for Disney.