Sunday, June 4, 2023

BREAKING: Disney cancels move to Lake Nona

It’s been widely reported today (Thurs, May 18, 2023) that Disney announced canceling plans to build a new campus at Lake Nona, FL in the Orlando metro area.

As InPark reported in a July 2021 story, “Disney staff relocation indicates shift in priorities,” 2,000 employees were to be moved to the Lake Nona campus, 16 miles east of the Team Disney headquarters building at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Development of the new campus and bringing 2,000 jobs into Florida had represented a significant investment intent by Disney.

Disney-DeSantis dispute in the background

The news comes amid continuing discord between Disney and Florida governmental leadership. (See our April 26, 2023 story. “The Walt Disney Company sues Florida governor Ron DeSantis and others in Federal Court.“)

As noted today in ABC News, the dispute first erupted when Disney publicly opposed the state’s Parental Rights in Education law, which critics dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which restricts in-class discussion of gender and sexual orientation. Afterward, DeSantis sharply criticized the company’s 56-year-old special district, formerly known as the Reedy Creek Financial District.

“Not an easy decision”

Recent changes at Disney include Robert Iger’s return to the position of CEO at the company.

Coverage of today’s Lake Nona story on CNBC stated in part: “Citing ‘changing business conditions’ and the return of CEO Bob Iger, Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney’s parks, experiences and products division, penned a memo to employees Thursday, announcing that the company will not move forward with construction of the campus and will no longer be asking more than 2,000 California-based employees to relocate to Florida.

“’This was not an easy decision to make, but I believe it is the right one,’ D’Amaro told employees.”

Judith Rubin
Judith Rubin
Judith Rubin ([email protected]) is a leading journalist, publicist, strategist, blogger, content marketing specialist and connector in the international attractions industry. She excels at writing about all aspects of design and technical design, production and project management. Areas of special interest include AV integration and show control, lighting design and acoustics, specialty cinema, digital video and world’s fairs. Judith has ties to numerous industry organizations. From 2005-2020 she ran communications, publications and social media for the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). In 2013, she was honored with the TEA Service Award. She was development director of IMERSA, and co-chair of the 2014 IMERSA Summit. She was publicist for the Large Format Cinema Association in the 1990s, now part of the Giant Screen Cinema Association (GSCA) and has also contributed to the publications of PLASA, IAAPA and the International Planetarium Society. Already making her mark as a magazine and book editor, Judith joined World’s Fair magazine in 1987, which introduced her to the attractions industry. Launching as a freelancer in the mid 1990s she has contributed to dozens of publications and media outlets including Funworld, Lighting&Sound America, Sound & Communications, Urban Land, The Raconteur and The Planetarian. She joined InPark in 2010. Judith earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute. She has lived in New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area, and now makes her home in Saint Louis, where she is active in the local arts and theater community.

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