The new Orlando campus set to house 2,000 Disney employees — including the fabled Walt Disney Imagineering division that designs Disney theme parks — is being delayed three years.
The official reason, according to Disney spokeswoman Jacquee Wahler, is construction delays pushing back the completion date for the camps at the Lake Nona development to 2026.
“Therefore, where possible, we are aligning the relocation period with the campus completion,” Wahler said.
Wahler told the Orlando Sentinel that the delay is not because of Disney’s ongoing feud with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. After the company publicly opposed Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law, DeSantis made no secret that he sought to punish Disney, and Republican legislators obliged by quickly passing a law to dissolve the Disney-run governmental district covering Walt Disney World.
Disney Imagineers have reportedly asked Disney CEO Bob Chapek to call the move off entirely due to the “Don’t Say Gay” law and the perceived hostility of DeSantis and Florida legislators to the LGBTQ+ community.
One former Disney Imagineer did not believe the two matters were unrelated.
The delay moving WDI from California to Florida (which I expect to be canceled ‘for reason’) appears to be TWDC sticking it to Governor DeSantos of Florida. Also result of Californians stating they won’t move to Florida. #LakeNona #DeSantos #TWDC
— Jim Shull (@JimShull) June 15, 2022
However, calling off the move would not be as easy as issuing a statement. Employees who have decided to make the move have already been looking for homes. Disney would be giving up $570 million in tax breaks, as well as whatever it has already spent on a planned $864 million investment into building its regional hub at the Lake Nona planned community.
WDW News Today was the first to report on the delay.