Disney moving 2,000 jobs from SoCal to Central Florida

Posted | Contributed by Jeff

The Walt Disney Co. plans to move most Southern California-based jobs not fully dedicated to Disneyland in its Parks, Experiences and Products Division to a new regional facility in central Florida, it announced on Thursday.

Read more from Deadline.

Part of my initial reaction to this was wondering how much of it had to to with cost of living. Los Angeles is one of the top 10 most expensive cities in the US to live in. Disney could pay the employees less dollars per year to work in Orlando, and the employees could have an equivalent or better lifestyle then in Los Angeles.

It may not be in the contract. Disney doubtless has an employee handbook and other materials that spell out rights and obligations. One of these may be a separation policy.

Presumably, their employment agreements, like the one I have from my Disney-scaled employer, say this and other policies can be changed by management at any time. If they change our separation pay policy, or eliminate severance entirely, my recourse is to decide to walk, or threaten to walk unless they change it back. They are not bound to it.

However, what they probably can't do without exposing themselves to litigation (or, more likely, arbitration) is to leave the policy in place, but ignore it for one or more specific employees. Again, not a lawyer, consult your own legal counsel, etc.

Interesting, they're moving "big" imagineering to Orlando here.

On-site supported project management at World but all the crazy blue sky dev globally was out of Flower Street in Burbank.

Beyond the obvious here that FL is more business friendly then CA, the between the lines is also that the brain of the industry and best talent pool/consulting infrastructure is all O-town now: UC, Seas corp. Iaapa and now WDI.

Last edited by Kstr 737,

…and I think THAT is the real news here.

Didn’t Disney say last year that they were finding California an increasingly hostile place to do business and were considering moving some of their operations away? No, they’re not going to move Disneyland. But they can move everything else!

—Dave Althoff, Jr.

    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
/XXX\ /X\ /X\_ _ /X\__ _ _ _____

Jeff's avatar

California is weird. It's expensive as hell, but it's a coastal state, and quite lovely in places. I can't explain Silicon Valley and why people still insist on headquartering there. Still, film production has moved to Georgia and Ontario, Tesla is building in Texas and internationally, tech companies can literally be anywhere. HP and Oracle left.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

99er's avatar

Kstr 737 said:

Interesting, they're moving "big" imagineering to Orlando here.

You're still going to see blue sky stuff and R&D in Glendale. Moving the rest makes sense since, again, more is happening with the Florida parks, cruise line is HQ'd here, and worldwide resort operations work out of Orlando. No more need to scheduling meetings around California time because of the 3 guys on the project living in Burbank. So long to 24 flights a month back and forth across the country because your boss is in California but your project is in Orlando.


Many if not most of the affected positions are centered in a variety of office spaces along Flower Street in Glendale. They have a huge "Creative Campus" that housesf business units including licensing and design, along with 1401 Flower Street (Imagineering's main office) and quite a few other random office buildings up and down the street where various Imagineering teams are housed. In addition to these spaces that Disney owns they lease a huge footprint of offices elsewhere in Burbank and Glendale where a lot of TV production people work. My hunch is that they're going to consolidate TV production into the Creative Campus which will save them a huge amount of money on office space. TV animation positions have to stay in LA because they are largely staffed by members of the animation union.
I think the other elephant in the room is that Imagineering is on the back slope of many extremely high-end projects. Hollywood Studios has just undergone the biggest park transformation since they rebuilt DCA, Galaxy's Edge is open bicoastally, including what is likely to be the most ambitious ride Disney will ever build. Ratatouille at EPCOT is basically finished, Guardians coaster and TRON are well on their way. Fantasy Springs in TDS is designed and under construction. Frozenland at HKDL is designed and under construction, its clone in Paris will be started soon. Many projects that hadn't broken ground yet appear to be cancelled, and most of the Imagineers who were furloughed were never brought back. It seems to me that the idea is that Imagineering as we know it is no longer needed, and it will be significantly downsized and gutted of its history. The move to Orlando will help hasten and cheapen the transition, and the word from inside is that people who turn down the relo will not receive severance.

"I've been born again my whole life." -SAVED
Jeff's avatar

I don't buy the cancellation stories mostly fostered by fan sites. Delayed, sure, but it's not like Universal is going to stop being competitive (similarly though, their ramp to rehire creative people has been slow). The idea that they'll finish the Epcot reboot and everything will be static for a half-decade is not plausible. They'll ride a year or two of pent up demand, sure, but then what?

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

Half a billion dollars is a pretty powerful motivator.


(And I agree, the idea that Imagineering is no longer needed seems doubtful - as does the idea that anything existing is "the most ambitious ride Disney will ever build" - barring societal collapse due to climate change, etc.)

Jeff's avatar

Ugh, that paywall is annoying. From what I can see, the tax break is contingent on capital investment, but I wonder what that means. Do they have to develop a bunch of office space? Does the stuff in the parks that they're going to build anyway count? So many questions. I always wonder how these deals work out for the taxing authorities in the long run, and I've never cared for how they often treat it as, "Well, without the incentive and development, we'd get zero." Yeah, but it doesn't mean you don't have favorable geography and access to a work force.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

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