With more than 23,000 employees (known as cast members), Anaheim’s Disneyland Resort is the largest employer in Orange County, and that distinction does not include the tens of thousands who work in restaurants, hotels, resorts and other businesses heavily dependent on Disneyland’s presence.
To better understand their economic impact on Southern California, Disney officials turned to the Woods Center for Economic Analysis and Forecasting, a think tank and research center within Cal State Fullerton’s Mihaylo College of Business and Economics. With the help of a $75,000 grant from the resort, economists Anil Puri, Adrian Fleissig, Aaron Popp and a current Mihaylo College economics student, spent six months on the project.
Assessing direct, indirect and induced impacts on the seven-county region using an input-output model, the researchers determined that Disneyland Resort had a total economic impact of $8.5 billion in 2018, a rise of 50% since 2013, generating nearly 78,300 jobs.
The fiscal impact was also massive: It generated more than $500 million in state and local taxes during fiscal year 2018, powering local governments, especially Anaheim’s general fund.
“Findings show what an economic powerhouse Disneyland Resort is,” Puri summarizes. “It is the largest employer in Orange County, and its impact is felt beyond Anaheim. Not only does it draw tourists from around the world, it also adds to the local economy through its major construction and renovation projects. Disneyland Resort is a magnet and catalyst for additional tourism and recreational activities and enterprises in the region.”