Disney says it has a $40.3 billion impact on Florida's economy amid legal feud with DeSantis

The analysis says Disney accounted for 263,000 jobs during the 2022 fiscal year

click to enlarge Disney says it has a $40.3 billion impact on Florida's economy amid legal feud with DeSantis
Photo via Walt Disney World/Facebook
Disney has a $40.3 billion economic impact on Florida, according to a study released Tuesday amid the entertainment giant's ongoing legal feud with Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The study, conducted by Oxford Economics and commissioned by Disney, reveals contributions Disney has made on the state's economy, ranging from jobs to tax revenue. The report attributes the $40.3 billion in statewide economic activity to both direct and indirect employee spending and supply chain revenue.

The analysis says Disney accounted for 263,000 jobs during the 2022 fiscal year — that's one in every 32 jobs in Florida and one in eight jobs in Central Florida.

"Walt Disney World Resort is among the largest employers in Florida and an economic catalyst across the state," the report reads. "Its economic impact is massive as an international destination, driving benefits across the state economy through direct operations, supply chains, tax payments, and the spending of visitors across the hospitality, transportation, and retail sectors."

Oxford Economics goes on to reveal a substantial tax contribution of $6.6 billion in 2022, including $3.1 billion in state and local tax revenue generated by the company and its guests, employees and third-party businesses.

The study looks at data from the time period prior to the takeover of Disney World's governing district — now Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, previously Reedy Creek Improvement District — by DeSantis and his handpicked appointees earlier this year. The takeover took place after Disney publicly opposed a Desantis-backed law that bans classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in Florida schools. The move ignited a lengthy legal battle between the DeSantis administration and Disney, each aiming to gain control of the district. 

The district, created by the Florida Legislature in 1967, gave special rights to Disney for municipal services like waste management, firefighters and road repairs.

Before control of the district was passed over to DeSantis' appointees earlier this year, the Disney board members signed "eleventh hour" agreements to hand control over to the company itself. The new DeSantis-appointed district retaliated by suing Disney to have the contracts voided, sparking a string of retaliations and countersuits between Disney and DeSantis.

Despite the interminable legal battles, Disney hasn't showed signs of slowing economic progress.

Disney CEO Bob Iger announced in late September the company plans to "turbocharge" growth with a $60 billion investment in its parks and cruise line over the next decade —  nearly doubling the investments its made over the past decade.

“We’re incredibly mindful of the financial underpinning of the company, the need to continue to grow in terms of bottom line, the need to invest wisely so that we’re increasing the returns on invested capital, and the need to maintain a balance sheet, for a variety of reasons,” CEO Bob Iger said.

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About The Author

Chloe Greenberg

Chloe Greenberg is the Digital Content Editor for Orlando Weekly.
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