Disney Nixes Plans for a $1 Billion Complex Bringing Thousands of Jobs to Florida

Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Disney this week officially nixed plans for a massive $1 billion complex to be constructed in Orlando, Florida, amid its ongoing battle with the DeSantis administration.

Disney’s theme park and consumer products chairman Josh D’Amaro announced the Lake Nona Town Center project in 2021, prior to the battle between the DeSantis administration and Disney heating up. According to the New York Times, this project would have ushered in 2,000 jobs — including those within Disney’s “Imagineering” department–  with an average salary of $120,000.

However, the battle between Disney and Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) now appears to go far beyond the original tiff over the Parental Rights in Education law, which Disney adamantly vowed to fight against, going full groomer at the time. The DeSantis administration ultimately dismantled Disney’s self-governing status, replacing the Disney-controlled board with the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, containing members approved by the governor.

After an ongoing battle over Disney sneaking in a 30-year development agreement in early February prior to the DeSantis-approved board taking control, Disney escalated the war in April, filing a lawsuit against DeSantis, in which it claimed to be a victim of the governor’s “targeted campaign of government retaliation.”

As Breitbart reported:

Disney’s suit  alleges DeSantis has waged a “relentless campaign to weaponize government power” against the company amid the ongoing fight over the law. It also claims the Republican governor “orchestrated at every step” a campaign to punish Disney in ways that threaten the company’s business.

The lawsuit was filed the same day as DeSantis’ latest countermove against Disney that sought to undo a development deal Disney struck to maintain its power over the district.

Disney’s CEO Robert Iger has since deemed DeSantis “anti-business” as the battle continues to heat up, with Disney leaders nixing the $1 billion project — which could serve as an economic boon to Florida — citing “changing business conditions.”
According to the New York Times, the decision to cancel the project was, indeed, connected to the company’s continued battle with the DeSantis administration. [Emphasis added]:
Mr. D’Amaro’s tone in an email to employees on Thursday was notably different. He cited “changing business conditions” as a reason for canceling the Lake Nona project. “I remain optimistic about the direction of our Walt Disney World business,” Mr. D’Amaro said in the memo. He noted that $17 billion was still earmarked for construction at Disney World over the next decade — growth that would create an estimated 13,000 jobs. “I hope we’re able to,” he said.
But the company’s battle with Mr. DeSantis and his allies in the Florida Legislature figured prominently into Disney’s decision to cancel the Lake Nona project, according to two people briefed on the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private deliberations. A spokeswoman for Mr. Iger said he was not available for an interview.

All the while, the DeSantis administration has stood firm. After news of the lawsuit broke, his administration maintained that Disney is trying to “undermine the will” of Florida voters” and has no right to “corporate welfare.”

Meanwhile, the governor this month signed legislation expanding the original Parental Rights in Education law — which largely sparked the war with Disney last year — prohibiting classroom discussions on gender identity and sexual orientation for children up to eighth grade.

Upon the original passage of the law, Disney stated its newfound goal of the company: Getting rid of the anti-groomer law.

“Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts, and we remain committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to achieve that,” Disney said at the time.

“We are dedicated to standing up for the rights and safety of LGBTQ+ members of the Disney family, as well as the LGBTQ+ community in Florida and across the country,” it added:

RELATED: Vivek Ramaswamy: I Disagree with DeSantis’ Disney Tactics


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.