Disney Pulled the Plug on Florida: $1 Billion Complex Where 2,000 employees were supposed to Work

Disney vs. DeSantis: Clash Between Politician and Disney as $1 Billion Project Crumbles

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Disney vs. DeSantis: Clash Between Politician and Disney as $1 Billion Project Crumbles

The Walt Disney Co. has escalated its conflict with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis by canceling plans for a new $1 billion campus in Orlando. The abandoned project, which would have brought 2,000 jobs to the state, marks the culmination of a series of disputes between Disney and the governor, ranging from legislative battles to legal confrontations.

The decision comes amidst reports that Governor DeSantis intends to formally announce his anticipated presidential campaign. As he faces criticism from former President Donald Trump, Disney’s move adds fuel to the ongoing feud.

The scrapped campus would have served as a digital technology, finance, and product development hub, with an average salary of $120,000. Politicians would typically tout such a significant investment as evidence of their influence and commitment to home-state development.

Citing “changing business conditions,” Disney Chairman of Parks, Experiences, and Products Division, Josh D’Amaro, explained in a memo to employees that new leadership and evolving circumstances led to the abandonment of the project. However, he expressed optimism about the future of Walt Disney World, highlighting plans to invest $17 billion and create 13,000 jobs over the next decade.

Governor DeSantis’s office has yet to comment on Disney’s announcement, but the company’s legal battles with the governor have been ongoing. Disney filed a First Amendment lawsuit against DeSantis and other officials last month, alleging infringement on free speech rights and interference with its business operations. The feud escalated further when the state legislature nullified a 30-year development agreement around Orlando, prompting Disney to expand its lawsuit.

DeSantis argues that no company should receive special treatment, using the clashes with Disney to underscore his stance on culture war issues. The governor has also faced criticism for targeting Disney’s monorail system, subjecting it to state inspections.

This latest chapter in the Disney-DeSantis clash occurs against the backdrop of newspaper profiles highlighting longtime Disney CEO Bob Iger’s role in the conflict. As tensions persist, the fallout between the entertainment giant and the governor is likely to have broader implications for their respective interests and political ambitions.


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