When Disneyland Resort wanted an accurate and objective assessment of their economic impact on the region, they turned to the Woods Center for Economic Analysis and Forecasting at Cal State Fullerton.

For the past 25 years, the Woods Center has attained both a regional and national reputation for its expertise in conducting complex economic forecasting, analysis and research and communicating findings clearly and effectively.

Modeling the Disney Magic

The fact that the center received a $75,000 grant from Disneyland Resort to provide this impact study highlights the capabilities of the center and the value CSUF provides to the region, explains Anil Puri, center director.

Anil Puri, Adrian Fleissig and Aaron Popp

Cal State Fullerton economists Anil Puri, Adrian Fleissig and Aaron Popp

Puri, Adrian Fleissig, professor of economics, and Aaron Popp, assistant professor of economics, spent six months on the project. A CSUF student was hired and gained valuable work experience organizing data on thousands of individual expenditures from Disneyland Resort. Using IMPLAN, an input-output model, the team estimated direct, indirect and induced impacts of the resort to determine its economic and fiscal impact on the seven-county Southern California region.

An Economic Powerhouse

Disneyland Resort is a magnet and catalyst for … the region.

“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.”

The economists found that in 2018, Disneyland Resort had a total economic impact of $8.5 billion in Southern California — an increase of 50 percent over 2013 — stemming from its 78,299 employees and the millions of visitors who stayed in the area and made purchases from local businesses.

“Disneyland Resort continues to innovate and expand with new rides and attractions, and its onsite and off-site vendor businesses have shown impressive growth,” Puri explains.

More than 73 percent of Disneyland Resort’s jobs were in Orange County and accounted for 3.6 percent of all jobs in the county. The resort’s average annual job growth rate of 7.2 percent since 2013 was more than triple the rate seen in Southern California during that time frame (2.3 percent, according to the State of California’s Employment Development Department).

The Titan economists also note Disneyland Resort’s significant fiscal impact; it generated $509.6 million in state and local taxes during fiscal year 2018. “The city of Anaheim’s General Fund alone receives more than $160 million in tax revenue from the resort,” says Popp.

Some Things Can’t Be Quantified

Some of the contributions of Disneyland Resort just don’t have a monetary value.

While the economists at the Woods Center are experts at expressing the value of an entity numerically, they also recognize there are other benefits of having a place like Disneyland Resort in the region.

“Some of the contributions of Disneyland Resort just don’t have a monetary value,” Fleissig says. “There is the annual Children’s Hospital of Orange County fundraiser, mentoring programs and support given to low-income people and the homeless. And it’s impossible to value a sponsored trip to Disneyland for those with serious illnesses.”

To learn more about the Woods Center for Economic Analysis and Forecasting at Cal State Fullerton or contact an economist, visit the center’s website.