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.”