How Disney Fuels Florida’s Economy, Jobs and Tourism

Economic Impact Study blog header

Fifty-eight years ago this week, Walt and Roy Disney joined then-Governor of Florida Haydon Burns in downtown Orlando to announce the “Florida Project,” which later became what you know today as Walt Disney World. It was an important day in the state, and more than half a century later, Disney continues to be an economic engine that fuels Florida’s economy, jobs and tourism – as shown in a new study just completed by Oxford Economics that was announced today.

This study, which was commissioned by Disney, comes as the global attraction industry convenes in Orlando this week for IAAPA Expo 2023. It’s the perfect time to reflect on the immense impact theme parks have on local and state economies. Here are a few fun facts from the study:

In fiscal year 2022, Disney generated $40 billion in economic impact in Florida.

The new attractions and experiences Disney has debuted in recent years have led to more prosperity for the region and greater opportunity for the millions who call Florida home. The $40 billion economic impact figure has grown exponentially over the last decade amid all the expansion that has taken place at Disney World. This includes favorite lands like Pandora – The World of Avatar and Toy Story Land to attractions such as Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, more resort hotels like Disney’s Riviera Resort and transportation offerings like Disney Skyliner. The list goes on and on.

“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.”

Disney in Florida Infographic Highlighting the Economic Impact of Disney's Operations in Florida for Fiscal Year 2022

Disney’s presence in Florida generates over 250,000 jobs.

Disney directly and indirectly accounts for more than a quarter of a million jobs as a result of its presence in Florida. One in every 32 Florida jobs can be attributed to Disney.

Disney is one of the largest employers in Florida. From Disney World to Disney Cruise Line and beyond, we offer so many different job types and career opportunities – whether on stage with our guests or behind the scenes. Being part of the Disney Cast Life is truly unlike anything else.

And for every one direct job on-site at Disney, there are an additional 1.7 jobs created throughout Florida as we work with many businesses across the state and beyond to help make the magic happen inside and outside of our resort. That means that, without Disney, Florida’s unemployment rate would jump from the 21st lowest to the second highest among all 50 states.

Fueling Florida’s economy: Disney World works with 2,500 Florida small businesses.

Have you ever thought about who refreshes the paint on Cinderella Castle? How about who makes the “out of this world” popcorn you enjoy so much at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge? Or who constructs some of the larger-than-life props throughout our theme parks, like the new water tower recently installed at the upcoming site of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure? The answer: Your local neighborhood small business. 

Disney World works with 2,500 businesses in Florida who employ additional workers and provide a wide range of goods and services. We’re stronger together and honored to work alongside them.

Disney has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to local Florida nonprofits.

At Disney, we strive to be a force for good in the world, offering hope and inspiration to millions of people, including those here in the Sunshine State. Since first opening in 1971, Disney World has provided hundreds of millions of dollars in financial and in-kind donations to nonprofit organizations doing amazing work in Florida. These efforts range from establishing strong education and workforce development programs to supporting the arts, combatting homelessness and hunger and more.

Not only is supporting the community a passion point for our company, but for our cast too! In 2022, our cast members spent more than 233,000 hours giving back through the Disney VoluntEARS program. Upcoming holiday volunteer efforts include our annual Thanksgiving meal service with residents at The Coalition for the Homeless and the Disney Ultimate Toy Drive benefiting the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots Program and families in need across Central Florida.

Disney is dreaming up more projects than ever before across the world.

As The Walt Disney Company celebrates its historic 100th anniversary, we remain focused on what has always been our mission: to entertain and enrich the lives of people around the world with exceptional storytelling and experiences powered by unrivaled creativity and innovation.

Our Imagineers are dreaming big right now, with more projects underway in the next decade than at any point in Disney’s history. In fact, Disney plans to invest more than $60 billion in our experiences around the world over the next ten years, including plans in development right here at Disney World. Some of what’s being considered was just recently teased at Destination D23 – including new and refreshed lands at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom Park!

“I am incredibly proud of how Disney has created meaningful change and benefited 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.”

Disney makes dreams come true for Floridians and Florida’s economy.

What started as the next big dream of Disney’s founders, turned into a great, big, beautiful tomorrow for the Sunshine State. No other company but Disney creates the moments and lifelong memories that people carry with them in their hearts and pass on to future generations. That’s always been true of our guests and fans, but also of the many other lives we touch in the Florida community we call home. 

When announcing the “Florida Project,” Walt Disney said he hoped to “build something that would command the respect of the community.” We work every day to continue earning that respect. To read more about our efforts in Florida, visit

And, to help you win the next round of Disney trivia, here are some bonus facts about Disney World:

  • Disney World is nearly twice the size of the island of Manhattan.
  • Disney Transportation buses make 10K trips every single day, meaning they make more than 3.6M trips annually.
  • There are nearly 29,000 hotel rooms on Walt Disney World property.
  • Over the past five years, more than 3,800 Disney employees have graduated through Disney Aspire, a 100% tuition-paid upfront education investment program. 
  • Walt Disney World Resort has one of the largest laundry facilities in North America, processing hundreds of thousands of pounds of laundry each week.
  • Magic Kingdom Park’s blue- and gold-turreted, 18-tower icon, Cinderella Castle, rises 189 feet above the park’s 142 acres. 
  • On the iconic Spaceship Earth at EPCOT, 11,324 tiles make up the exterior of the geodesic sphere, which stands 18 stories tall. 
  • The towering Tree of Life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom features 337 sculpted animals in its trunk. 
  • The Millennium Falcon docked at the Black Spire Outpost Spaceport in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge measures more than 100 feet long.