The relocation of Walt Disney Imagineering from their long-standing home in Glendale, California to the Lake Nona area of Orlando, Florida has been officially canceled.
Imagineers who made arrangements or already moved to Lake Nona are being offered the opportunity to stay or relocate back to California at the expense of The Walt Disney Company.
The announcement comes amidst the ongoing battle between Disney and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Disney has simply cited “changing business conditions” as the reason for the cancellation. The rather polite language used in the announcement may be due to the pending litigation between Disney and the Florida Governor.
According to CNBC, Josh D’Amaro — chairman of Disney’s parks, experiences, and products division — released a memo to employees yesterday announcing that the company will not be moving forward with construction of the campus, nor will it be asking the more than 2,000 California-based employees to relocate to Florida.
In the memo, D’Amaro says, “This was not an easy decision to make, but I believe it is the right one.”
He also added, “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,” D’Amaro stated to employees.
He reiterated in the memo that Disney is still planning to invest $17 billion in Florida over the next 10 years. This will include 13,000 new jobs. Disney currently employees over 75,000 in Florida alone.
According to D’Amaro, employees who have already moved to Florida may be able to relocate back to California.
This development was just announced to Cast Members. Stay tuned for more information.
Lake Nona Relocation
Disney first announced its plans to relocate in July 2021. Then CEO, Bob Chapek, made the announcement, however, it was not entirely met with positive reception.
After the announcement, many employees left the company, or transitioned to a position that would not require them to relocate to Florida.
The campus was originally scheduled to be established in 2023, but the full move from California was later shifted to 2026. Some employees who will end up working at the campus have already moved to Florida, while others had to back out of home purchases.
Many Cast Members, including Imagineers, have urged Disney not to complete the move, particularly after the passing of the state’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill and Governor Ron DeSantis’ vendetta against Disney after former CEO Bob Chapek finally denounced the bill. DeSantis has signed a bill into law for the Florida government to take over Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District and has appointed an oversight board.
What are your thoughts on the cancelation of the Lake Nona relocation? Let us know in the comments below.
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