Disneyland Resort generates $5.7 billion in economic activity a year, study says

Stephanie Gwinn of Norco enjoys the scene at Disneyland during the theme park's Diamond Celebration.

Stephanie Gwinn of Norco enjoys the scene at Disneyland during the theme park’s Diamond Celebration.

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

The Disneyland Resort, Orange County’s largest employer, is responsible for more than $5.7 billion in annual economic activity throughout Southern California, supporting 28,000 regional jobs, according to an independent economic study released Thursday.

The estimated economic impact for fiscal year 2013 is a 21% increase over a similar study for fiscal year 2009, when the resort generated an estimated $4.7 billion in economic activity and 21,000 jobs.

The report from Arduin, Laffer & Moore Econometrics was released Thursday during a lunch meeting of Orange County business leaders, featuring Disneyland Resort President Michael Colglazier.


Although the report analyzes a period more than a year ago, it gives a glimpse into the economic impact before and after the $1.1-billion expansion of Disney’s California Adventure park in 2012, including the addition of Cars Land.

The report estimated that the resort, its visitors, employees and contractors, generated more than $370 million in state and local taxes in 2013.

“The Disneyland Resort has demonstrated its ability to grow amidst lukewarm growth in the state of California since the theme park’s last economic impact analysis was conducted for fiscal year 2009,” said Ford Scudder, chief operating officer of Arduin, Laffer & Moore Econometrics. The fiscal year ends in September.

The analysis estimated that spending attributed to the resort and its visitors represented nearly a third of the $9.6-billion Orange County tourism industry in 2013. The 2009 economic estimate was produced by CB Richard Ellis.

Spending by Disneyland visitors at businesses outside of the resort totals nearly $1.4 billion annually, the report said.

The resort is now drawing more visitors for Disneyland’s 60th anniversary celebration, which includes a new fireworks show and night-time parade at Disneyland and a new water and light show at California Adventure.


After the Orange County Forum meeting, Colglazier said he wasn’t surprised by the large crowds that have turned out since the celebration began May 22. During an opening 24-hour party, Disneyland reached capacity, forcing employees to temporarily close the gates twice and divert crowds to nearby California Adventure.

He said that Disney managers are constantly thinking about ways to lessen the effect of the crowds.

“It is a daily, monthly, annual focus for us,” Colglazier said.

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