By Orlando Attractions Magazine
Recently during a community networking breakfast at the Orlando Museum of Art, Disney leaders gave a presentation that showcased Disney World’s economic and community impact on Central Florida. Walt Disney World President Meg Crofton and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts President Al Weiss spoke.
Weiss discussed some of the details of a new study commissioned by Disney that shows their strong economic impact, not only in Central Florida but across the state.
The $18.2 billion in annual economic activity generated locally by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts accounts for 2.5 percent of the gross domestic product for the entire state. Of the 7.2 million Floridians in the workforce in 2009, more than one out of every 50 had a job that can be directly or indirectly tied to the operations of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. Locally, six percent of all jobs in Central Florida can be attributed to Disney’s operations.
“As our business at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts keeps growing, the bottom line impact for Florida is the more than 160,000 jobs and $6 billion in compensation directly and indirectly associated with these jobs that help power our state’s economic engine,” said Weiss. “The ripple effect created by our operations resonates throughout Florida as families across the state use their earnings to purchase goods and services from the diverse businesses both large and small that make Florida such an amazing place to live, work and play.”
The impact of Disney’s operations in Central Florida and across the state includes:
Jobs – Disney World Resort directly employs more than 62,000 cast members.
Statewide, the total number of jobs created indirectly and directly by the operations of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts tops 160,000.
Compensation – In Central Florida, cast members at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts earned a total of nearly $1.8 billion during FY2009. Across Florida, when direct and indirect jobs are taken into account, more than $6 billion in paychecks can be attributed directly or indirectly to Disney’s operations.
Purchasing – Each year Walt Disney Parks and Resorts purchases more than $2 billion worth of goods and services. Nearly $1 billion is paid to vendors with a presence in the state and approximately $500 million goes to vendors in Central Florida.
Spending by Disney Guests – Spending by Disney guests at businesses outside the resort area totaled nearly $1.7 billion in FY2009. This includes hotel and lodging expenditures; meals at local restaurants; retail purchases; and transportation expenditures.
Taxes – When taking the amount Disney pays in taxes and subtracting the cost of various government services used by guests and cast members, the net benefit to Florida and all localities is more than $400 million. In Central Florida, for example, Orange County sees a net benefit of more than $100 million and Osceola sees a net benefit of nearly $10 million.
Crofton spoke about Disney’s local impact as it pertains to the community. She announced that in honor of its 40th anniversary, Walt Disney World is kicking off a 40-day “Shine On” celebration across Central Florida to surprise, recognize and reward nonprofit groups, school districts and organizations that improve the lives of children.
Helping Kids Shine Grants throughout Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Lake and Polk counties. Additionally, prize patrols will recognize 15 students in the five-county area as Disney Dreamers and Doers Shining Stars for their outstanding character.
“Walt Disney World Resort supports programs that make a long-term positive impact on children in our community,” said Crofton. “We are excited to begin this 40-day season of giving, during which we will distribute $1.2 million to local organizations that share our commitment to Central Florida’s children.”
Disney launched the effort by awarding gifts totaling $290,000 to school districts and early learning coalitions in Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Lake and Polk counties.
“Great schools provide children the spark they need to go on to do great things. Disney applauds our local public schools for all the work they do to prepare our community’s children for the future.”
Crofton also gave some details from their 2010 Community Report. In 2010, Disney World focused on improving the lives of children through $28 million in cash and in-kind support, 228,000 hours from Disney VoluntEARS and collaboration with community leaders.
Examples of Disney’s charitable giving in Central Florida include:
Investing in children’s needs – Disney World works closely with local children’s hospitals, Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida and Second Harvest Food Bank to provide necessities for a quality childhood. Disney cast members gave $3.35 million during the Heart of Florida United Way campaign to assist social service agencies in Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties.
Providing support – The 2010 Disney Helping Kids Shine Grants awarded $1.2 million to fund programs through 57 charities. Top Disney grant recipients include Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Florida and A Gift For Music, of which Disney is proud to be a founding sponsor.
Strong foundations – Cast members donated more than two million school supplies through an annual back-to-school supply drive. Additionally, more than 400 students were selected as Disney Dreamers and Doers, which recognizes exceptional youth who make a difference in Central Florida.
The presentation ended with a live performance of the music from Disney’s The Magic, The Memories and You castle projection show and a visit by Disney characters.
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