Disney has canceled its Lake Nona move in Florida which would have created 2,000 jobs in Florida and moved a significant portion of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products staff to the new home. In a memo to cast members, Josh D’Amaro, the Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products said “Given the considerable changes that have occurred since the announcement of this project, including new leadership and changing business conditions, we have decided not to move forward with construction of the campus.” D’Amaro went on to acknowledge “This was not an easy decision to make, but I believe it is the right one.”
The new campus was announced in July of 2021 by Josh D’Amaro and was already delayed multiple times. This campus was to be a hub for the segment of The Walt Disney Company including Walt Disney Imagineering. Originally it was planned that the move would be completed by 2023. Some Disney cast members had already moved to Florida as a part of this transition. Disney will be working with them to figure out what their future looks like moving forward, include possibly moving back to California.
The cancellation of this project comes a week after Disney CEO Bob Iger asked “Does the state want us to invest more, employ more people, and pay more taxes, or not?” This came as controversy continues in Florida regarding the former Reedy Creek Improvement District. This has led to the replacement of the district with the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, lawsuits, and legislation as DeSantis continues to retaliate from Disney’s opposition to a “Don’t Say Gay” bill in 2022.
As the feud beetween Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Disney has continued to heat up, concern has grown that businesses will be hesitant to invest in Florida. At this point what the future for business and Disney in Florida looks like is unknown. Disney has previously announced that it intends to invest $17 billion in Florida and create over 13,000 jobs. In a letter to cast members Josh D’Amaro said, “I hope we’re able to do so.”
Here is the full memo sent by Josh D’Amaro:
I wanted to let you know that we’ve just begun communication regarding our updated plans for the Lake Nona campus.
As many of you know, the company had decided to build a new Disney campus in Lake Nona and many Cast Members, Imagineers, and Employees were asked to commit to making a move to Florida. While some were excited about the new campus, I know that this decision and the circumstances surrounding it have been difficult for others.
Given the considerable changes that have occurred since the announcement of this project, including new leadership and changing business conditions, we have decided not to move forward with construction of the campus. This was not an easy decision to make, but I believe it is the right one. As a result, we will no longer be asking our employees to relocate. For those who have already moved, we will talk to you individually about your situation, including the possibility of moving you back.
It is clear to me that the power of this brand comes from our incredible people, and we are committed to handling this change with care and compassion. I remain optimistic about the direction of our Walt Disney World business. We have plans to invest $17 billion and create 13,000 jobs over the next ten years. I hope we’re able to do so.
We are committed to our teams who call Central Florida home and to all of our Cast Members around the world, and I want to thank you for your continued dedication to Disney Parks, Experiences and Products and for delivering world-class entertainment for our Guests.
What do you think of the cancellation of the Lake Nona move? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!