Disney cancels $1 billion Lake Nona project citing "changing business conditions"

Posted | Contributed by Jeff

On Thursday, Mr. Iger and Josh D’Amaro, Disney’s theme park and consumer products chairman, pulled 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.

Read more from The New York Times.

I am pretty sure this was nearly dead when got pushed back to '26 last summer, I am sure Iger killed already, he's just now using it as convenient ammunition against DeSantis.

And judging by the press coverage just today, its having the intended effect.

The only thing that made sense in FL was DCL.

Jeff's avatar

Yeah, I think what you're saying is not only plausible, but likely. Not sure if I agree that the location didn't make sense though. I have a friend in Imagineering, and they said the volume of work mostly connects to the Florida parks, and the international parks, and the studios don't matter all that much. The objections were more about who wanted to live in California, which is reasonable.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog

May not be related, but a small slip of the tongue by a Disney spokesperson could sure make it seem believable that the blame belongs on the Gov’s recent actions.

The use of "changing business conditions" by D'maro is exactly that.

Yeah Jeff, but from what I heard only 18%-25% of the jobs where in Imagineering, most of the jobs where in the consumer products division, which is across the street from Imagineering in Glendale.

And the whole licensing, branding, fashion, t shirt, trends, studio synergy world is in LA, not the middle of Florida. DCP is like $10 billion a year, WB who is number 2 is at like 1.5 billion...

It's not like Imagineering doesn't already have multiple offices on property, and people who come spend long stretches in Florida already.

Also most of the whizz bang Imagineering projects are all at the Asia parks, and a flight from LA instead of FL saves alot of time and money.

Last edited by Sharpel007,

I think that soft plays it.

DeSantis is going to claim victory with this decision. He will say his anti-woke battle is finally hurting Disney and his followers will eat it up. All that matters to them is that Disney is “failing”, regardless if this actually hurts Florida.

Which I guess makes it irrelevant even if Disney would say it is absolutely due to the stupidity in Florida.

Last edited by Shades,

I'd be curious to know how much of this was for the optics and how much of it was for real issues. In Imagineering I suspect you have a pretty diverse group of creative-types, some of them who are likely in minorities, and there are real concerns right now for many marginalized people in Florida. My soon-to-be-adult son has many friends that describes and he is speaking very plainly about not wanting to make Florida his home after he graduates college. Frankly, I don't expect to stay in Florida and while DeSantis isn't necessarily the driving reason why...he is making that decision much easier.

Last edited by wahoo skipper,

"You can dream, create, design, and build the most wonderful place in the world...but it requires people to make the dreams a reality." -Walt Disney

It's a good question. I'm sort-of on the market right now, and I didn't even apply to positions in a few states that are non-starters politically.

His immigration employment bill is going to destroy the agriculture, trucking, and construction industries quicker than anything else, and he will really have a deep crisis of his own making.

Plus Penguin Random House just joined a lawsuit supporting authors and parents suing a board of ed on First Amendment grounds.

Unlike Trump he has to use State money to fight these Lawsuits, and it's going start adding up very quickly, and hopefully using taxpayers money to try and get your warped view of free speech means people will actually understand what it really is... But probably not.

I'm sure he counts on being in D.C. by the time any potential self-induced crises emerge, so not his problem. And if he's not in D.C., he'll just blame "the other" for any problems, as usual, and his supporters will go along with him, if history is any guide.

Brandon | Facebook

Jeff's avatar

Our county mayor is piling on.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog

This is a really brilliant move by Disney and nice kick in the nuts to DeSantis. Love that Orange County mayor is jumping on it too.

Speaking of orange, Trump is already fist pumping on this and shoveling it out to the cult.

sirloindude's avatar

I really don’t think DeSantis is the driving factor here. I think that his actions have given Disney cover, and I don’t rule out some impact, but I think that given the current environment at Disney, shelling out almost a billion dollars for this complex was an expense that just didn’t make sense anymore. Besides, DeSantis isn’t going to be running Florida forever. I wouldn’t think that they’d make this decision over something that might not even be nearly the issue in just a few years that it is now.

I’m disappointed that the move didn’t pan out, but I do have to say that not having to contend with that traffic is a small consolation prize, haha.

13 Boomerang, 9 SLC, and 8 B-TR clones


sirloindude is right for the wrong reasons. The biggest issue with Lake Nona was the sheer number of creatives who were a hard “no” about moving to Florida. Yes you plan to lose some talent in a corporate relocation but the numbers (and levels) of the “NFW” contingent were staggering.

This was a win win for Team D. A way to backtrack and retain talent and to smack little Ronny at the same time

Last edited by CreditWh0re,
sirloindude's avatar

I’m happy to be wrong, but I would expect that they could’ve picked Seattle or Portland for the move and still had considerable pushback. This was a move of substantial geographical distance, and I can’t for the life of me imagine that it was blue-state/red-state that was the only, or at least major, factor behind the decision. I buy that it was definitely a factor, but if DeSantis were replaced tomorrow by someone on the opposite end of that political spectrum, there wouldn’t be an announcement from Disney that the Lake Nona project is being reinstated. Petty as his fight is with Disney, it’s only temporary.

13 Boomerang, 9 SLC, and 8 B-TR clones


You must be logged in to post

POP Forums - ©2024, POP World Media, LLC