Disney has announced they are not moving forward with the plans to build a new employee campus in Lake Nona, Florida. In addition to cancelling the construction plans in Lake Nona, Disney is no longer requiring select employees to move to Florida.
Josh D’Amaro, Chairman of Disney’s Parks, Experiences and Products division, announced the change in direction in an internal memo. D’Amaro cited “changing business conditions” as one of the catalysts behind the change. He stated the decision wasn’t an easy one, but one they believe is the right one.
Disney had originally announced moving Imagineering to Lake Nona back in 2021 under former Disney CEO Bob Chapek. Many Disney employees disagreed with the decision, with some electing to depart from the company rather than move across the country. The original plan called for the campus to open in 2022 to 2023, but that was later postponed to 2026.
Now, the idea is being scrapped for what appears to be a couple key factors. For starters, Disney’s relationship with the current Florida government isn’t exactly a pleasant one. There’s also been a change in leadership with Bob Iger disagreeing with many of the decisions made by Chapek.
Beyond those obvious points, Disney has also been tightening their budget over the past several months. Cancelling the construction of a new employee campus – a move many felt was unnecessary – was likely an easy target.
Some Disney employees had already completed the move to Florida. Disney is apparently talking to those about the possibility of moving them back.
In the email, D’Amaro says “they will no longer be asking our employees to relocate.” For those who already moved,” the company will talk to impacted employees about the possibility of “moving you back.”
— Scott Gustin (@ScottGustin) May 18, 2023
We can’t help but lament the loss of talent at Disney that left the company ahead of the expected move to Florida. Many sought different positions, some with competing companies, and that’s a loss of talent that Disney may struggle to recoup.