UPDATE: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ office has responded to the Lake Nona project cancellation as well with the following statement:
Disney announced the possibility of a Lake Nona campus nearly two years ago. Nothing ever came of the project, and the state was unsure whether it would come to fruition.
Given the company’s financial straits, falling market cap and declining stock price, it is unsurprising that they would restructure their business operations and cancel unsuccessful ventures.Ron DeSantis, FL Governor
UPDATE: Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings issued the following statement in response to the news.
It is unfortunate that Disney will not be moving forward with construction of the Lake Nona campus. However, these are the consequences when there isn’t an inclusive and collaborative work environment between the state of Florida and the business community. We will continue to work closely with our valued partners at Disney.Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings
Back in 2021, The Walt Disney Company made plans to move some of its corporate divisions to the Lake Nona area in Florida, and according to an email (displayed below) sent out to Disney cast members by Josh D’Amaro, Chairman, Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products, on Thursday, the plans have been canceled effective immediately.
During an earnings-related conference call with analysts last week, Robert A. Iger, Disney’s Chief Executive Officer said, “Does the state want us to invest more, employ more people, and pay more taxes, or not?.”
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.New York Times
In his email to Disney cast members, D’Amaro cited “changing business conditions” as a reason for canceling the Lake Nona project.
According to the New York Times article, “About 200 Disney employees already relocated to Florida from California. Mr. D’Amaro said in his note that the company would discuss options with them, ‘including the possibility of moving you back.’ The Lake Nona project had initially been scheduled to open next year. Last July, Disney pushed back the move-in date to 2026, citing construction delays.”
You can read D’Amaro’s full email to Disney cast members below.
Jeff Vahle, President, Walt Disney World, sent a letter out to community leaders regarding the project’s cancellation. The full letter can be seen below.
This story is breaking and will be updated as new details are discovered.
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