UPDATED, 5:10 PM: Just about a year ago, the Walt Disney Co. announced 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.
What a difference a year makes.
Today, after months of less-than-ideal relations with the state of Florida, a company spokesperson announced that Disney wants “to continue to provide flexibility to those relocating, especially given the anticipated completion date of the campus is now in 2026.”
The statement continued, “Therefore, where possible, we are aligning the relocation period with the campus completion.”
Last year’s announcement specified an 18-month time frame. Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Division Josh D’Amaro also said the move had been “in various stages of planning since 2019.”
So today’s news will push back the mandated move by approximately three years, depending on when in 2026 the campus is expected to be completed.
Here is today’s full statement from Disney:
While a growing number of our employees, who will ultimately work at the campus, have already made the move to Central Florida, we also want to continue to provide flexibility to those relocating, especially given the anticipated completion date of the campus is now in 2026. Therefore, where possible, we are aligning the relocation period with the campus completion.
One of the original reasons D’Amaro cited for the move was “Florida’s business-friendly climate.” In the interim, Disney and its CEO Bob Chapek have sparred with Florida officials — specifically Gov. Ron DeSantis, who in April signed legislation that strips Disney of the ability to oversee its own special district that covers Walt Disney World — after the company came out publicly against the state’s parental rights law.
DeSantis, for his part, is reportedly considering a run for the presidency. In the meantime, he has declared his candidacy for a second term as governor. If elected again, he would serve in Florida through 2026.
PREVIOUSLY on July 15, 2021: 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.
“I want to share news about an exciting project that has been in various stages of planning since 2019,” wrote Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Division, in a letter to staff that was obtained by Deadline. “This new project will create a dynamic environment to support our expanding business – a brand-new regional campus which will be built in the vibrant Lake Nona community of Orlando, Florida.”
“In addition to Florida’s business-friendly climate, this new regional campus gives us the opportunity to consolidate our teams and be more collaborative and impactful both from a creative and operational standpoint,” he wrote.
Initially, the new campus will be home to “more than 2,000 Cast, Imagineers and employees,” according to D’Amaro’s letter – “driving further collaboration and creativity and allowing us to better integrate our business and functional teams.”
The new facility in Florida will be located near Orlando International Airport, about 20 miles southeast of the Walt Disney World resort. While the California-based company is still determining which employees to relocate D’Amaro wrote, “we expect most Southern California-based DPEP (Disney’s Parks, Experiences and Products) professional roles that are not fully dedicated to Disneyland or, in some cases, the international parks businesses will be asked to relocate to this new Florida campus.”
The move is expected to take 18 months and affected employees will be offered moving assistance, according to D’Amaro. He also emphasized that Disney remains committed to California, “including continued investment in Disneyland Resort.”
The decision comes after the company announced last winter that it was terminating approximately 32,000 employees primarily at Parks, Experiences and Products, “Due to the current climate, including COVID-19 impacts, and changing environment.”
City News Service contributed to this report.