If you’ve ever been to Walt Disney World, then you know first hand just how massive of a resort it is. The land, which is twice the size of Manhattan, is what allowed them to build the 20+ hotels, the 4 theme parks, the water parks, the shopping district, and all of the behind-the-scenes buildings that are required to make it all work. All of that obviously needs electricity, so with that said, what does Walt Disney World’s electricity bill look like?
Now if you’re just here for a number, according to the Reedy Creek Improvement District’s 2017 annual utilities report, the districts total cost for the 1.2 million megawatt-hours generated in 2017 totals out at 97,321,843
So where does Disney get all of this power? As some of you might have heard, Disney does have two power plants on property. There’s the main plant, which is the Central Energy Plant, or CEP, that can sometimes generate as much as a third of the power they use on a month to month basis. There’s also a second plant called the Epcot Central Energy Plant, which is located, as you might have guessed, near Epcot, that serves as a source of emergency backup power. There’s also a Mickey Shaped solar farm on property, however that’s actually operated by Duke Energy, who sells the electricity to Disney directly. That leads me to their primary source of power, which is: they buy it. The Reedy Creek Improvement District purchases electricity from over nine regional suppliers which makes up the majority of the energy used on property.
So about that energy. What does 1.2 million MWh of electricity look like? It’s a big number, but without context it’s hard to imagine what that means. So for comparison, consider that according to the US Energy Information Administration, the average US home consumes around 10.7 MWh of energy every year. In other words, one days worth of electricity at Walt Disney World would be enough to power your home for around 300 years. For another perspective though, consider for a moment that the city of San Francisco and its 800,000+ residents requires around 18,000 MWh per day while Disney World uses roughly 3,300 MWh per day. Finally, According to the EIA, the entire state of Florida in 2016 generated a total of 238.2 million MWh of electricity. That means Disney’s annual power usage amounts to just around half of one percent of the state total.
Still, It’s a massive amount of power, but Walt Disney World is a massive place. It requires the power of a small city because it essentially is one, and it’s one that’s trying to look towards the future. Part of that is experimenting with alternative forms of generating electricity such as anaerobic digestion. I have a whole other video about that, and how they use their leftover food to help keep the lights on. They’re also in the process of building a 270 acre solar farm with Origis Energy that’ll eventually be able to power two of the four theme parks on property. So the next time you’re hit with that heat wave, run the AC all day, and fear for that next electric bill, be grateful that at least it’s not as high as Disney World’s.