Disney now accounts for one in eight jobs in Central Florida – and contributes $40.3 billion to the state’s economy a year – the entertainment giant claims amid court feud with Gov. Ron DeSantis

Disney contributes about $40.3 billion to Florida’s economy each year, a new report has revealed.

The study further claims the 100-year-old company accounts for some 263,000 jobs in The Sunshine State, which includes roles supported by visitors spending off-site and other indirect impacts, such as contractors. 

Astoundingly, the figure accounts for one of every eight jobs available in Central Florida, and every 32 across the state. 

The $167billion conglomerate commissioned prestigious advisory firm Oxford Economic to conduct the report, amid its heated legal battle with Ron DeSantis over his takeover of a district that’s long governed the park – with special privileges.

The dispute between Walt Disney Company and the state governor erupted in March of last year, when the Florida governor passed a piece of legislation banning classrooms from teaching younger students about gender identity. 

The new study, ordered by Disney and conducted by Oxford Economics claims the mass media company accounts for 263,000 jobs in The Sunshine State – triple Disney World’s workforce

The $167billion conglomerate has released the study amid a legal battle with Gov. Ron DeSantis, over his takeover of a district that has long governed the park with special privileges

The $167billion conglomerate has released the study amid a legal battle with Gov. Ron DeSantis, over his takeover of a district that has long governed the park with special privileges

Disney spoke out against the law – relying on the special legal privileges it has held for decades at the so-called Reedy Creek Improvement District.

That led to DeSantis – who is now running for president – to revoke these self-governing privileges, imposing his own handpicked appointees to run the district.

A legal fight has since ensued, during which Disney has relentlessly sought to strip power from the DeSantis-tapped board. A dip in share price also occurred, as well as a plunge in visits. 

At the time, many chalked it up to the company’s opposition of DeSantis’s Don’t Say Gay bill and changes to rides, movies, and media to appeal to a progressive audience.

A federal and state lawsuit that each contend the House of Mouse was retaliated against because of its criticism are currently making their way through the courts, while DeSantis continues at a disappointing campaign.

The feud, now lasting nearly two years, has continued to command national attention, with DeSantis opponent Nikki Haley this past Saturday saying her state, South Carolina, would proudly welcome Disney’s jobs if he did not want them.

Disney now appears to be taking yet another shot against the politician with its new report, which proudly touts the impact the park – as well as its vacation and cruise lines – has had on the state.

Titled 'Fueling Florida’s Economy,' the study touts how Disney has 'fueled Florida’s economy, tourism and small businesses for more than half a century'

Titled ‘Fueling Florida’s Economy,’ the study touts how Disney has ‘fueled Florida’s economy, tourism and small businesses for more than half a century’

'Within the Central Florida region, Disney directly supports 12%, or 1-in-8, of all jobs', a portion referring to the Orlando area the park has been set for 52 years reads

‘Within the Central Florida region, Disney directly supports 12%, or 1-in-8, of all jobs’, a portion referring to the Orlando area the park has been set for 52 years reads

It states how 82,000 of the 263,000 jobs include Disney’s workforce spread across the state - and that 'for every direct job on-site at Disney, an additional 1.7 jobs are supported elsewhere'

It states how 82,000 of the 263,000 jobs include Disney’s workforce spread across the state – and that ‘for every direct job on-site at Disney, an additional 1.7 jobs are supported elsewhere’

That refers to staff at the company's 'Signature' experiences such as its Disney Vacation Club and Disney Cruise Line, and other portions of its Parks, Experiences and Products segment, which in 2020 laid off 28,000 in the wake of the pandemic

That refers to staff at the company’s ‘Signature’ experiences such as its Disney Vacation Club and Disney Cruise Line, and other portions of its Parks, Experiences and Products segment, which in 2020 laid off 28,000 in the wake of the pandemic

Titled ‘Fueling Florida’s Economy,’ the study touts how Disney has ‘fueled Florida’s economy, tourism and small businesses for more than half a century.’ 

‘Within the Central Florida region, Disney directly supports 12 percent, or 1-in-8, of all jobs’, a portion referring to the Orlando area the park has been set for 52 years reads.

It specifies how 82,000 of the 263,000 jobs include Disney’s workforce across the state – and that ‘for every direct job on-site at Disney, an additional 1.7 jobs are supported elsewhere.’

That refers to staff at the company’s ‘Signature’ experiences such as its Disney Vacation Club and Disney Cruise Line, and other portions of its Parks, Experiences and Products segment, which in 2020 laid off 28,000 in the wake of the pandemic.

Another segment hails how Disney has enlisted some ‘2,500 Florida-based small businesses’ to help supply products and services to Disney World, such as rides, tech, repairs, and other facets that go into the park’s daily operations.

That, it specifies, is only a small ‘part of the 8,500 small businesses across the country contracted by The Walt Disney Company,’ referring to other contractors in places like California and even Hawaii.

The report digs deep into the firm’s finances – laying out the resort and park’s positive economic impact on the state.

The report found that Disney, in 2022, paid about $1.1 billion in state and local taxes to the state of Florida, along with Orange and Osceola Counties - where the 43-square mile resort is set

The report found that Disney, in 2022, paid about $1.1 billion in state and local taxes to the state of Florida, along with Orange and Osceola Counties – where the 43-square mile resort is set

In fiscal year 2022 alone, Disney generated '$40.3 billion in total statewide economic impact,' the report adds - a number spending on the firm's supply chain and 82,000 employees, who themselves were responsible for '$12.1 billion in total labor income in (2022)'

In fiscal year 2022 alone, Disney generated ‘$40.3 billion in total statewide economic impact,’ the report adds – a number spending on the firm’s supply chain and 82,000 employees, who themselves were responsible for ‘$12.1 billion in total labor income in (2022)’

The findings support Disney’s assertions that it has served as a sort of an economic engine for Florida for the past half-century -

The findings support Disney’s assertions that it has served as a sort of an economic engine for Florida for the past half-century –

The Reedy Creek Improvement District stretches for nearly 40 square miles and includes the entire Walt Disney World Resort. It was renamed the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District under a DeSantis' bill last year - a move Disney CEO Bob Iger has slammed as unjust 'retaliation'

The Reedy Creek Improvement District stretches for nearly 40 square miles and includes the entire Walt Disney World Resort. It was renamed the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District under a DeSantis’ bill last year – a move Disney CEO Bob Iger has slammed as unjust ‘retaliation’

‘(We have generated) $6.6 billion in tax revenue, including $3.1 billion in annual state and local tax(es),’ Disney said in its release.

That, they said, includes ‘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.’

In fiscal year 2022 alone, Disney generated ‘$40.3 billion in total statewide economic impact,’ the report adds.

This includes spending on the firm’s supply chain and 82,000 employees, who themselves were responsible for ‘$12.1 billion in total labor income in (2022)’ – a number also achieved by Disney revenues and off-site visitor spending. 

The report found that Disney, in 2022, paid about $1.1 billion in state and local taxes to the state of Florida, along with Orange and Osceola Counties – where the 43-square mile resort is set.

The findings support Disney’s assertions that it has served as a sort of an economic engine for Florida over the past half-century – claims DeSantis, 45, has repeatedly decried.

‘Allowing a corporation to control its own government is bad policy, especially when the corporation makes decisions that impact an entire region,’ the aspiring president said earlier this year as he signed a bill into law revoking Disney’s special status. 

Members of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, handpicked by the governor to oversee Disney's special self-governing district

Members of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, handpicked by the governor to oversee Disney’s special self-governing district

'Allowing a corporation to control its own government is bad policy, especially when the corporation makes decisions that impact an entire region,' the aspiring president said earlier this year as he signed a bill into law revoking Disney's special status

‘Allowing a corporation to control its own government is bad policy, especially when the corporation makes decisions that impact an entire region,’ the aspiring president said earlier this year as he signed a bill into law revoking Disney’s special status

Disney's CEO slammed Ron DeSantis' decision to do away with the company's self-governing district during the company's earnings call earlier this year, calling the maneuver 'retaliation' to the park's opposition to the governor's so-called 'Don't Say Gay' bill

Disney’s CEO slammed Ron DeSantis’ decision to do away with the company’s self-governing district during the company’s earnings call earlier this year, calling the maneuver ‘retaliation’ to the park’s opposition to the governor’s so-called ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill

‘This legislation ends Disney’s self-governing status, makes Disney live under the same laws as everybody else, and ensures that Disney pays its debts and fair share of taxes,’ he added.  

Disney has since filed suit claiming the move was a simple act of retaliation for its stance and violated the company’s rights under the First Amendment.

A spokesperson for Disney said of the suits in September: ‘We will continue to fight vigorously to defend these contracts, because (they) will determine whether or not Disney can invest billions of dollars and generate thousands of new jobs in Florida.’

Meanwhile, Disney’s bottom line is slowly improving, after it implemented a series of hikes last year to compensate for a historic dip seen since February 2022 – when DeSantis was pushing his law sexual orientation and gender identity through local legislation.

The bill, officially The Parental Rights in Education Act, was singed into law the very next month, and Disney has since shed more than a third of its then roughly $150 share price.

The supposed blue-chip stock is currently valued at $93.86, up from a nearly 10-year low of $79 just a few weeks ago.

Meanwhile, Disney's bottom line is slowly improving, after it implemented a series of hikes last year to compensate for a historic did in value since February 2022. The supposed blue-chip stock is currently valued at $93.86, up from a nearly 10-year low of $79 just a few weeks ago

Meanwhile, Disney’s bottom line is slowly improving, after it implemented a series of hikes last year to compensate for a historic did in value since February 2022. The supposed blue-chip stock is currently valued at $93.86, up from a nearly 10-year low of $79 just a few weeks ago

That said, in terms of revenue, the company is doing better.

Earnings number released in September showed how Disney – between its parks and media operations – raked in some $21.24billion in revenue. That’s up five percent from last year, when Disney made a $7.4 billion from its parks alone.

Disney’s profit for the quarter, though, was the real surprise – an astounding $264million secured over the summer alone, despite fewer visits and foot traffic that’s down by about 15 percent this year, compared to a year where the park was still recovering from the pandemic.

The income number came as a 62.96 percent increase from profits secured the same time last year, showing how the recent raise in prices is helping pull the company through what otherwise could be seen as a crisis.

Annual passes have shot up 14 per cent in a year, from $1,399 to $1,599 per pass. 

Disney has also increased the number of days that passholders are banned from using their season tickets, sparking accusation it is looking to ax the previously cost-efficient passes by means of stealth. 

The park decided to close its famed Splash Mountain ride this past May after it was branded as racist, since it based on 1946 movie Song of the South, set on a Georgia plantation

The park decided to close its famed Splash Mountain ride this past May after it was branded as racist, since it based on 1946 movie Song of the South, set on a Georgia plantation

Earnings number released in September showed how Disney - between its parks and media operations - raked in some $21.24billion in revenue. That's up five percent from last year, when Disney made a $7.4 billion from its parks alone

Earnings number released in September showed how Disney – between its parks and media operations – raked in some $21.24billion in revenue. That’s up five percent from last year, when Disney made a $7.4 billion from its parks alone

Disney's profit for the quarter, though, was the real surprise - an astounding $264million secured over the summer alone, despite fewer visits and foot traffic that's down by about 15 percent this year, compared to a year where the park was still recovering from the pandemic. The park is seen packed in a picture from 2021, before the price hikes

Disney’s profit for the quarter, though, was the real surprise – an astounding $264million secured over the summer alone, despite fewer visits and foot traffic that’s down by about 15 percent this year, compared to a year where the park was still recovering from the pandemic. The park is seen packed in a picture from 2021, before the price hikes

The income number came as a 62.96 percent increase from profits secured the same time last year, showing how the recent raise in prices is helping pull the company through what otherwise could be seen as a crisis

The income number came as a 62.96 percent increase from profits secured the same time last year, showing how the recent raise in prices is helping pull the company through what otherwise could be seen as a crisis

One of the most profitable changes made in the past year, though,  is the implementation of a $15-a-day Genie+ pass, which was previously free. An app on guests’ phones, it lets them skip lines on rides.

Genie+ also flags up promotions on merchandise, helping shift the parks’ famously pricey souvenirs.  It is used by half of all guests – with 70 per cent who downloaded it saying they’d do the same on a future visit. 

But the Genie+ pass does not grant all guest’s rude wishes, with visitors required to fork over an extra $10 to $17 to get access to some of the parks’ most popular attractions – despite having already paid around $100 per admission ticket.

Meanwhile, parking and Magic Wristbands, which serve as room keys and park passes and used to be free, now run guests a whopping $35 – just one example of the company implementing a charge on previously complementary perk.

Other once-free benefits that now costs parkgoers a pretty penny include long enjoyed perks such as parking, now $30.

Free shuttles from airports to the parks for Disney hotel guests have also been canned, while early admission to parks for hotel guests has been reduced from an hour to 30 minutes.

Disney's $15-a-day Genie+ app has been credited with helping drive a surge in profits. It helps guests skip lines

Disney’s $15-a-day Genie+ app has been credited with helping drive a surge in profits. It helps guests skip lines 

The firm's Magic Bands - which serve as hotel keys and park admission tickets - have gone from being free to costing $34.99 each

The firm’s Magic Bands – which serve as hotel keys and park admission tickets – have gone from being free to costing $34.99 each

And extra evening hours after the parks are closed to the general public are now only offered to guests staying at dearer hotels. 

Also affected by the price hikes – which have been, for the most part, implemented over the past year – are park hotel rooms, food, and merchandise, which have all soared well beyond the record 9 percent rate of inflation.

At Disney World- which had 18million annual visitor prior to the pandemic and only last year returned to 17million – a room at the park’s value hotel, Pop Century, today costs roughly $168 – up more than $70 from 2013, when a room at the resort would cost you $95. 

That’s an increase of more than 77 percent.

Prices are also up at the luxe Animal Kingdom Lodge, from $486 for standard room in 2012 to $790 in 2022, a 63 percent increase in a decade.

Ticket prices at the park – now over $100 – have increased at roughly double the rate of inflation over the 2010s, with many asserting the hike comes in an effort to compete with Universal Studios, which opened its Wizarding World of Harry Potter in 2016.

Snacks are also up at both parks, with Dole Whip, a pineapple-flavored soft-serve dessert sold only at Disney properties, up from $5.99 to $6.99 – an increase of 16 percent in the span of a year.

The park’s iconic Mickey Mouse ears headbands, meanwhile have also not been exempt from the widespread price increases – increasing by more than a third from 2021, from $29.99 to $39.99.

Disney has also scrapped some of its once-free perks, including shuttle buses from the airport to its parks for people staying at its hotels, sparking anger. 

The unrest comes weeks after company brass explained that recent ticket-price increases were offset by an ‘unfavorable attendance mix’ at Disneyland – an assertion many interpreted as a reference to annual passholders who typically spend less per visit than typical ticket-buyers.

Disney has stopped selling almost all annual passes – but will still allow existing passholders to renew.  

A stay at the Pop Century hotel has risen in price by 77 per cent in the last nine years. The cheapest room cost $70 in 2013, but now comes in at $168

A stay at the Pop Century hotel has risen in price by 77 per cent in the last nine years. The cheapest room cost $70 in 2013, but now comes in at $168 

Disney's deluxe Animal Kingdom Lodge hotel has also seen a huge price spike - rooms which cost about $470 a decade ago now come in at an eye watering $790-a-night

Disney’s deluxe Animal Kingdom Lodge hotel has also seen a huge price spike – rooms which cost about $470 a decade ago now come in at an eye watering $790-a-night

Visitors required to fork over an extra $10 to $17 to get access to some of the parks' most popular attractions -such as Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at Walt Disney World Resort at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Orlando

Visitors required to fork over an extra $10 to $17 to get access to some of the parks’ most popular attractions -such as Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Walt Disney World Resort at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando

The park decided to close its famed Splash Mountain ride this past May after it was branded as racist, the latest decision that has seen it slammed for supposedly pandering to progressives and perhaps sticking it to DeSantis.

The ride, which had been open since 1989, was based on 1946 movie Song of the South, which is set on a Georgia plantation, and thus faced scrutiny.

Other changes to appear more procressive include makeovers for some of their characters and franchises – like the widely criticized Toy Story spinoff Lightyear – and implementing a short-lived anti-racism training.

In May 2021, City-Journal’s Christopher Rufo shared leaked documents about the ‘diversity and inclusion’ program, explaining that it was set to teach staffers about ‘systematic racism,’ ‘white fragility,’ and ‘microaggressions.’

It encouraged staff to ‘take ownership of educating themselves about structural anti-Black racism’ and asked white employees to ‘work through feelings of guilt, shame, and defensiveness to understand what is beneath them and what needs to be healed.’

In May 2021, City-Journal's Christopher Rufo shared leaked documents about the 'diversity and inclusion' program, explaining that it was set to teach staffers about 'systematic racism,' 'white fragility,' and 'microaggressions'

It encouraged staff to 'take ownership of educating themselves about structural anti-Black racism' and asked white employees to 'work through feelings of guilt, shame, and defensiveness to understand what is beneath them and what needs to be healed'

Other changes to appear more procressive include makeovers for some of their characters and franchises – like the widely criticized Toy Story spinoff Lightyear – and implementing a short-lived anti-racism training 

In March 2022, Disney announced that its staff members would no longer use 'gendered greetings' like 'boys and girls' or 'ladies and gentlemen'

In March 2022, it was announced that staff members would no longer use ‘gendered greetings’ like ‘boys and girls’ or ‘ladies and gentleman’ (stock image)

In March 2022, Florida Governor Ron de Santis signed a bill that prohibited many schools from teaching about sexual orientation or gender identity, referred to as the Don't Say Gay bill

In March 2022, Florida Governor Ron de Santis signed a bill that prohibited many schools from teaching about sexual orientation or gender identity, referred to as the Don’t Say Gay bill 

Soon after, Disney's CEO at the time, Bob Chapek, spoke against the bill, stating that could 'be used to unfairly target gay, lesbian, non-binary and transgender kids and families'. He has since been replaced by Iger - his predecessor and mentor - as CEO

Soon after, Disney’s CEO at the time, Bob Chapek, spoke against the bill, stating that could ‘be used to unfairly target gay, lesbian, non-binary and transgender kids and families’. He has since been replaced by Iger – his predecessor and mentor – as CEO

Staff were also told to reject ‘equality,’ and instead strive for ‘equity,’ while ‘reflecting’ on America’s ‘racist infrastructure.’

The leaked training documents also included a how-to guide called 75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice.

Days after City-Journal shared the document, it was reported that the program had been canceled.

Then, in March 2022, it was announced that staff members, as well recordings throughout the parks, would no longer include ‘gendered greetings’ like ‘boys and girls’ or ‘ladies and gentleman.’

Instead, they opted for gender neutral terms like, ‘Hello, everyone,’ or, ‘Hello, friends.’

‘We don’t want to just assume because someone might be, in our interpretation, presenting as female, that they may not want to be called “princess,”‘ Vivian Ware, Disney’s diversity and inclusion manager, said in a leaked conference call with employees.

‘So let’s think differently about how do we really engage with our guests in a meaningful and inclusive way that makes it magical and memorable for everyone.’

A year earlier, the brand announced on its blog that it was changing its rules to allow cast members to wear ‘gender-inclusive hairstyles, jewelry, nail styles, and costume choices,’ while noting that ‘the magic they make must include everyone.’

As this was happening, DeSantis championed his now infamous bill before eventually passing it into law in March 2022, spurring Disney’s CEO at the time, Bob Chapek, to speak up, claiming it could ‘be used to unfairly target gay, lesbian, non-binary and transgender kids and families.’

Disney has also faced a backlash for themes deemed overly progressive in their films, such a lesbian kiss in kids' movie Lightyear and a transgender man buying tampons in TV series Baymax

Disney has also faced a backlash for themes deemed overly progressive in their films, such a lesbian kiss in kids’ movie Lightyear and a transgender man buying tampons in TV series Baymax 

Animated film Strange world - which follows a group of explorers who go on an adventure to find an exotic plant - also faced scrutiny for its LGBTQ characters, and was panned as the latest 'in a year of woke disasters' for Disney

Animated film Strange world – which follows a group of explorers who go on an adventure to find an exotic plant – also faced scrutiny for its LGBTQ characters, and was panned as the latest ‘in a year of woke disasters’ for Disney

His comments came after Disney employees staged a walk-out in protest of the company’s response, or lack-thereof, to the Florida law – a move that likely pressured him and others to make a statement.

At the time, Chapek apologized for not publicly denouncing the bill earlier, adding, stating:  ‘We were opposed to the bill from the outset, but we chose not to take a public position on it because we thought we could be more effective working behind the scenes engaging directly with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.’

Afterwards, many conservative families began boycotting the park, causing visitor numbers to plunge by 17 percent that quarter- a number that was compensated by the increases in profit it reported it makes on each guest: up an identical 17 percent.

Disney has also faced a backlash for themes deemed overly progressive in their films, such a lesbian kiss in kids’ movie Lightyear and a transgender man buying tampons in TV series Baymax. 

Those productions, as was Strange World – a kids movies that follows a group of explorers and features gay character – were signed off during current CEO Bob Iger’s tenure.

Iger replaced old protĂ©gĂ© Chapek last year after he suddenly resigned, after being molded to replace his old mentor – who is now serving his second stint as top exacutive. 

DeSantis, meanwhile, contends that the ongoing suits from Disney are merely ‘political’, and is continuing to fight against Iger.

Iger in response has cancelled investments in Florida, including a $1 billion campus which would have created 2,000 jobs.