Following the announcement that The Walt Disney Company has abandoned plans to relocate its theme park division headquarters to a hostile business environment in Florida, Disney Parks Chairman Josh D’Amaro said that he is hopeful that Disney will be able to continue to invest in Walt Disney World:
…I remain optimistic about the direction of our Walt Disney World business. We have plans to invest $17 billion and create 13,000 jobs over the next ten years. I hope we’re able to do so...
The announcement came in the same email where D’Amaro said that they were canceling plans to build a sprawling Disney Parks campus in Lake Nona, Florida.
A comment from Walt Disney World President Jeff Vahle offered a similar outlook on what increasingly appears to be an unstable business environment for Disney in Florida:
Regarding our world-class destination, our desire is to continue investing in our core business in an effort to attract and welcome millions of visitors to Walt Disney World and Central Florida each year so they can enjoy the kind of hospitality our region is known for around the world. Our plans currently call for us to invest $17 billion in Walt Disney World over the next 10 years and create 13,000 new jobs to continue doing our part as a leading employer in the hospitality and themed entertainment industry. We hope those plans will become a future reality.
The comments from D’Amaro and Vahle come after Disney CEO Bob Iger made similar comments earlier this month. In an earnings call on May 10th, Iger was asked about the hostile State government in Florida and finished a long answer by asking “Does the state want us to invest more, employ more people and pay more taxes or not?”.
Disney World doesn’t have a lot on its plate right now in terms of future investments. A long-term project to reimagine half of EPCOT is drawing to a close this fall, and a retheming of Splash Mountain will be completed next year. Disney is also building a new timeshare property at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. Beyond that, D’Amaro has presented Blue Sky concepts of what could be in the works for Disney World, but nothing has been given the green light yet. With nothing of great substance in the works now at Disney World, and literally nothing announced past late 2024, it’s becoming increasingly easy for Disney to pause new announcements while they let the DeSantis drama play out.
Of course, the caveat here is that the theme parks business is such a cash cow for Disney that they need to keep investing. That said, investment doesn’t have to be in Florida when the state is so hostile towards the Company. The spotlight could very much shift from “What’s beyond Big Thunder Mountain?” to “What’s across Disneyland Drive?“.
In our opinion, Destination D23 in September becomes the canary in the coal mine for Disney World.
As always, keep checking back with us here at BlogMickey.com as we continue to bring you the latest news, photos, and info from around the Disney Parks!