Disney Delays Imagineering Campus Move to Florida Amid Tension With Governor DeSantis

Last year, the Walt Disney Company announced that nearly 2,000 positions within Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products (largely Walt Disney Imagineering) would be moving from their current campus in California to a new facility located in Lake Nona, Florida. With mixed feelings among those Cast Members who would need to decide whether or not to make the move, as well as fans experiencing the change as onlookers, the timeline for the new campus opening in Central Florida has now been delayed.

A Disney spokesperson confirmed to the Orlando Sentinel that the move would be delayed from its planned timeline in 2023 to 2026 to give those Cast Members more time to plan and to allow for the complete construction of new office spaces, however, the timing is certainly something to consider as Disney continues its ongoing feud with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.


Credit: Disney

Disney has not confirmed that tensions with Florida’s state government are to blame for the delay, but it is worth noting that the timing of the announcement to move and its subsequent delay comes in the middle of discussions over DeSantis’ attempts to dissolve Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District, and controversies surrounding Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill.

Earlier this year, the Walt Disney Company’s lack of stance on Florida’s Parental Rights in Education (“Don’t Say Gay”) bill caused backlash by Disney fans, Guests, and Cast Members, who had hoped for a support from the company in opposition to the bill.


Credit: Disney

When Disney CEO Bob Chapek did eventually release a statement in opposition of the bill and an apology to the company’s LGBQTIA+ Cast Members and Guests, following much social media discourse and a Cast Member walkout, those in support of the bill reaffirmed their position to boycott the company.

The DeSantis administration then looked to the 1967 Reedy Creek Improvement District Act and began working toward a way to dissolve it, thereby limiting Disney’s ability to operate in a unique tax situation much like other functioning cities.


Credit: Disney

During all of the above instances, some Cast Members in positions that would require the move to Florida have already stated their refusal to do so,  while others have begun to resign in anticipation of the move.

The original timeline for the move would have had thousands of Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products moved to Lake Nona by next year, with new employees accepting positions with the company agreeing to be moved to the area by 2024.

We will keep you updated here on Disney Tips as we learn more about the division’s move to Lake Nona, FL.

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a New England-based writer focused on the history of the Walt Disney World Resort. She is the author of "Red, White, and Disney: The Myths and Reality of American History at the Walt Disney World Resort," and "Brittany Earns Her Ears."