Updated: Sep 7
Generally, the moment plans are introduced of an amusement park being planned near a megapolis, it sends not just the media into a frenzy but also inculcates excitement amongst the residents of the community and the local government. Who doesn't love an amusement park and especially one that’s nearby as well. What really seals the deal is that these parks are money makers not just for themselves but also for the communities in which they are located.
Most commonly, amusement and theme parks bring in lots of tourists from far flung areas to visit them. If we study the example of Anaheim, California we will see that what was once a sleepy little town has become one of the busiest locations in the whole of the USA ever since DisneyLand opened in 1955. Apart from the increase in footfall, the city itself has grown physically. Having just 300,000 or so local residents, the city of Anaheim plays host to 18 million visitors annually. This is a huge percentage of visitors who will stay, eat and shop in the city thus increasing the local economy exponentially.
This is just one example of the extreme financial benefits that amusement parks bring in tow. The trickle down effect on the economy has been widely studied of how Amusement Parks provide increased income generation,direct and indirect job creation, increase in taxes to local governments, better provision of infrastructure often at the company’s personal expense and lastly a property boom for the surrounding region.
Disneyland employs nearly 18% of Anaheimians, with a total workforce of 31,000 employees making it the largest employer in the city. Additionally it accounts for 80% of the hotel occupancy in the city. The daily revenue that Anaheim city makes from Disneyland is $10.4 M, and annually DisneyLand Resort generates $5.7 Billion for the Southern California economy which includes Anaheim and surrounding regions. $370 M are directly contributed to the city as state and local taxes. All these numbers being injected into the local economy mean that the residents enjoy lower taxes, increased property rates, better roads, larger retailers, state of the art infrastructure development and civic resources which incidentally come from the taxes that DisneyLand pays to the city.
With reference to Disney’s Corporate Social Responsibility, special assurances are made to support the local communities by donating generously to regional charities. Disney was the largest contributor for grants to charities in Anaheim, and donated nearly $20 M for philanthropic endeavors addressing hunger, public health and education.
In conclusion, the massive economic and public structure benefits that attract cities to play host to amusement parks often lead to long term development of infrastructure and public services like better transport facilities, hotels, restaurants etc. In addition, the promise of job creation, increased property prices and heightened tourism footfall make amusement parks a highly anticipated partnership that city governments strive to cultivate in their areas of governance.