Disney has called off a $1 billion plan to expand its Orlando, Florida, operations amid its escalating war with Governor Ron DeSantis.
Disney CEO Bob Iger announced the move to the media on Thursday. Last week, during a conference call with analysts, the group’s chief executive had wondered if the state wanted us to invest more, employ more people and pay more taxes.
The 10-figure office complex near Walt Disney World would have created more than 2,000 jobs in the region, according to an estimate by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.
Disney had previously planned to build the Lake Nona Town Center for more than 1,000 employees who would be relocated here from their offices in Southern California. These were mainly employees of the renowned Imagineering team, which works on the development of theme park attractions.
When Disney’s Josh D’Amaro, chairman of theme parks and consumer products, announced the plan to move east in 2021, he referred to the “business-friendly climate in Florida”.
While some employees have even resigned ahead of the planned move, about 200 Disney employees have already relocated from California to Florida.
Disney’s latest move shows how far the company is willing to go in its fight against DeSantis and his anti-LGBTQ agenda.
In March, the company sued DeSantis for attempting to curtail Disney World’s autonomy, calling it “a targeted campaign by the government in retaliation”.