As a company with nearly 70,000 Disney Cast Members who live and work in Central Florida, Walt Disney World Resort is committed to investing in its local community. Disney is focused on improving the quality of life in Central Florida, with a special interest in helping children and families.
Disney contributes to the local community in many ways – through the millions of dollars in taxes it generates for local governments, the leadership it provides on important community issues, the cash and in-kind support it provides local non-profit organizations and the thousands of volunteer hours given by Cast Members.
A study by Arduin, Laffer & Moore Econometrics released in April 2011 shows the magic Disney makes for Guests at its parks and resorts and on its cruise ships translates into a 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 Florida’s gross domestic product.
- 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, 6 percent of all jobs in Central Florida can be attributed to Disney’s operations.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- When taking the amount Disney pays in taxes and subtracting the money for the 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, Orange County sees a net benefit of more than $100 million and Osceola County sees a net benefit of almost $10 million.
Revenue for Central Florida Governments
Disney is the largest taxpayer in Central Florida, paying approximately $566 million in state and local taxes each year.
- Walt Disney World Resort pays approximately $105 million annually in ad valorem taxes; an estimated $92.7 million is paid to Orange County and more than $10.9 million to Osceola County.
- In Orange County, Disney pays more in taxes than the next 10 highest county taxpayers combined. Approximately $46 million of those funds go directly to education.
- Disney generated approximately 33 percent of the Tourist Development Taxes collected in Orange Countyand approximately 24 percent of these taxes in Osceola County in 2013.
- Disney paid or collected more than $495 million in state sales, use and communications taxes and local resort taxes for the surrounding communities in 2013.
- In addition to the county taxes, Walt Disney World Resort paid more than $77.8 million in taxes to the Reedy Creek Improvement District in 2013. These tax dollars go toward building hundreds of millions of dollars worth of public infrastructure at no cost to taxpayers.
Walt Disney World Resort is committed to providing leadership that will continue to help Central Florida thrive and grow. Approximately 100 Disney Cast Members serve on the boards of local nonprofit organizations.
Recent initiatives in which Walt Disney World Resort has played an active role include:
- Building the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts - Disney is contributing $12.5 million to sponsor the 2,700-seat Walt Disney Theater, the largest of the halls at the center. With a grand opening scheduled in 2014, the performing arts center will be significant to the cultural growth of Central Florida and a premiere destination for the arts in Orlando.
- Contributing to the well being of children in Central Florida - The new Walt Disney Pavilion at Florida Hospital for Children was made possible in part by a $10 million commitment by Disney. Disney Imagineers designed the hospital’s lobby, which features supporting characters from classic Disney films in a welcoming, healing environment that places young patients in the starring role. Walt Disney World Resort also contributed $1 million to build the Walt Disney World Clubhouse of Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida and $750,000 for a teen center in the Tupperware Brands Boys & Girls Club in Osceola County.
- Support of Commuter Rail -Recognizing the region’s need for more mass transit options, Disney supports SunRail, which will create new ways for commuters to reach their jobs, new access to existing businesses and new chances to further diversify Central Florida’s economy and create jobs. SunRail started running in May 2014.
- Further diversifying Florida’s economy - Walt Disney World Resort leaders were actively engaged in the development of a medical city at Lake Nona, working closely with Central Florida leaders to bring the Burnham Institute to Central Florida and help to make the dream of a University of Central Florida Medical School a reality. Both projects are expected to help diversify and drive the region’s economy for years to come.
Investing in Central Florida’s Children and Families
Walt Disney World Resort’s community programs and partnerships are focused on building better futures for local children, and ultimately, creating a stronger community for everyone. These efforts are geared toward helping families meet basic needs, youth development and education.
In 2013, the company donated $36.5 million in cash and in-kind support to local nonprofit organizations. Examples include:
- Walt Disney World Resort gave a total of $1.5 million in Disney Helping Kids Shine Grants to 59 local nonprofit organizations that work tirelessly to build better futures for more than 70,000 children in Central Florida. Among the top recipients were Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida, A Gift For Music, Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Florida.
- Walt Disney World Resort is a valued partner to Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida. As part of this recognition, the Coalition continues to receive ongoing comprehensive support from Disney, which includes board service, assistance in the maintenance and improvement of Coalition facilities, more than 18,000 meals donated annually and donations of warm clothing in the winter.
- In 2013, more than 560,000 pounds of prepared and un-served food were donated to the local community through Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. 2013 marks the 21st year of the Disney Harvest program.
- Surplus inventory from Walt Disney World Resort continued to meet the needs of many non-profit organizations in Central Florida. Merchandise and in-kind product donations in 2013 were valued at $4.4 million.
- Disney continues to be the primary sponsor of the A Gift For Music program, which is part of A Gift For Teaching, with a $100,000 donation. A Gift For Music provides, at no cost, instruction on stringed instruments to students who normally could not afford such an opportunity.
In addition, Walt Disney World Resort is the largest corporate contributor to the Heart of Florida United Way. In 2013 Disney Cast Members donated more than $3.6 million to the United Way to help non-profit agencies meet social services needs in Orange, Osceola and Seminole Counties.
VoluntEARS Show Character
In 2013, Disney VoluntEARS gave more than 308,000 hours toward improving the lives of Central Floridians, ranging from donating more than 3.1 million school supplies to local students, to serving more than 9,000 meals to the homeless. More than 750 Walt Disney World VoluntEARS received the President’s Volunteer Service Award from the White House for contributing more than 100 hours of service. VoluntEAR efforts include:
- In July 2013, Disney VoluntEARS donated a total of $955,000 to 500 local non-profit agencies and community service groups through Disney’s EARS To You program. The grants from The Walt Disney Company annually recognize individual Cast Members and Imagineers for their VoluntEAR service (based on prior calendar year) through a contribution of up to $1,000 to the eligible charity of their choice. Top recipients included schools, animal rescue organizations and groups that support children and families.
- Disney annually recognizes a VoluntEAR of the Year and VoluntEAR Team of the Year with $2,500 cash donations to the charity of their choice.
- For 20 years, Walt Disney World Resort has supported Junior Achievement of Central Florida by raising more than $3.7 million through events such as the JA Bowl-A-Thon. VoluntEARS also teach Junior Achievement financial literacy classes for grades K-12 in Orange and Osceola Counties.
- In Dec. 2013, Disney VoluntEARS helped make the holidays brighter for thousands of local children by collecting more than 36,000 toys for Central Florida Toys for Tots. Cast Members also gave more than 6,000 hours toward helping the U.S. Marines register families in need, sort and stock toys and assist with toy distribution.
As part of Disney’s commitment to building a better future for Central Florida’s children, Walt Disney World Resort is actively involved in supporting education. The benefits for the region are far-reaching; money and time invested in educational programs show a return in higher graduation and employment rates, reduced crime and less reliance on public assistance.
- Walt Disney World Resort has given more than $6 million to the University of Central Florida in the past 14 years, including contributions of $2 million to the UCF Rosen School of Hospitality Management and $1 million to the UCF College of Medicine.
- Disney has donated more than $2.7 million to the scholarship funds of Bethune-Cookman College and Florida A&M University. In addition, Disney contributed $250,000 to the Florida A&M University College of Law to sponsor the Children and Family Law Clinic.
- Walt Disney World Resort contributed $1 million to Valencia College to support programs in culinary science and hospitality.
- Walt Disney World Resort contributed $500,000 to Rollins College to benefit The Campaign for Rollins, The Rollins Fund for the Walt Disney World Scholars Program, the Roy E. Crummer Graduate School of Business Scholarship Fund and the Hamilton Holt School Scholarship Fund.
- In March 2013, public school districts and early learning coalitions in Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Lake and Polk counties received a combined total of $320,000 in Disney Helping Kids Shine Grants to enhance student performance from preschool through 12th grade.
- To date, more than 12,400 students have been named Disney Dreamers and Doers. The program recognizes exceptional students throughout Central Florida for their academic achievements and civic efforts.
- Walt Disney World Resort Cast Members conduct an annual Back-to-School Supply Drive, last year donating an all-time high of more than 3.1 million school supplies. The items were combined with Walt Disney World Resort’s 13,000 donated backpacks and distributed to underserved youth in Orange, Osceola, Lake, Polk and Seminole counties.
Walt Disney World Resort works with children’s wish-granting organizations around the world to make Disney dreams come true. Whether it’s a desire to dance with Cinderella, or a chance to play football with Mickey Mouse, Walt Disney World Resort helps create special memories for children with life-threatening medical conditions. Disney-themed wishes continue to be the most popular requests from children with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
In 2013, Disney hosted more than 7,000 wish trips for children and donated complimentary tickets valued at more than $10 million to Give Kids the World Village and other wish-granting organizations.