Walt Disney Imagineer and former Jungle Cruise Skipper Kevin Lively has shared that he will be leaving the company after 14 years due to Imagineering being almost entirely relocated from California to Lake Nona, Florida.
Lively shared a thread on Twitter about his decision to leave alongside photos of his Disney memories. Below is a full transcript of his tweets (paragraph breaks added):
After 14 years at Disney I’m going to be hanging up my mouse ears. I never thought I’d be stepping away, but sometimes life throws you a curveball. In June we learned that Imagineering would be relocating to Florida. My wife and I looked long and hard at the possibility, but we just couldn’t make it work with family and finances here in California. I held out hope that something might change that, but about a month ago I received official word that my role would be locating. When someone puts an end date on something you love as much as I love what I do, it can feel like your world is crumbing in around you. I’ve been taking it really hard.
For that reason I’m going to be stepping away to focus on some pretty cool opportunities that can keep us in here in our home state. I’m speechless by the outpouring of love and support from friends, mentors, colleagues and leadership. They’ve made it abundantly clear that this door isn’t shutting and support my stepping away for a while. I’ve been spending the last month or so making sure all my projects are set up for success without me, and I can’t wait for you all to see what we’ve been cooking!
Disney has literally made my dreams come true. They sent me to Japan to represent the original Jungle Cruise. I got to write for and play an X-Wing pilot for Hyperspace Mountain. I’ve been blessed enough to vocal direct some amazing talent – people I grew up idolizing! I was on stage infront of some crazy awesome audiences to celebrate Jungle Cruise and Haunted Mansion with you all. I helped launch a major motion picture with the biggest star in the world. And I got to work with the Muppets! That’s just scratching the surface. But most importantly I’ve been able to follow in the footsteps of certified legends and was honored to carry on Walt’s legacy. I had a pretty good run. In the end, I’m still going to be Imagineering’s biggest fan. We have some of the world’s best creative talent that I had the pleasure to call my friends.
In closing, we’re in a pandemic. Please, whatever you do, in addition to taking care of your physical health, please be sure you’re taking care of your mental/emotional health.