Disney cancels $1 billion Florida development plan amid feud with DeSantis

Disney had plans to relocate much of its Imagineering Department, which works on theme park attractions, from Southern California to Lake Nona Town Center near Orlando, Florida, but announced it was canceling those plans today. Link to The New York Times article, here.

""Does the state want us to invest more, employ more people, and pay more taxes, or not?" Robert A. Iger, Disney's chief executive, said on an earnings-related conference call with analysts last week.

"On Thursday, Mr. Iger and Josh D'Amaro, Disney's theme park and consumer products chairman, showed that they were not bluffing, pulling the plug on a nearly $1 billion office complex that was scheduled for construction in Orlando. It would have brought more than 2,000 jobs to the region, with $120,000 as the average salary, according to an estimate from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity."

200 employees had already moved to Florida under the plan, and D'Amaro said various options would be discussed with them, including moving back to Southern California. There's no telling how many effected California Disney employees left their jobs and upended their lives in anticipation of the mandatory move to Florida.

Florida Governor DeSantis's sustained legislative attacks on Disney, in retaliation for its criticism of DeSantis's "Don't Say Gay" law, seems to be the reason for canceling the plan.

"When he announced the project in 2021, Mr. D'Amaro cited "Florida's business-friendly climate" as justification.

"Mr. D'Amaro's tone in an email to employees on Thursday was notably different. He cited "changing business conditions" as a reason for canceling the Lake Nona project."