Disney cancels $1bn Florida theme park extension amid war with DeSantis


The Walt Disney Company has pulled the plug on a $1bn office complex in Orlando, following a warning from Disney leadership that billions of dollars in projects were on the line after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis escalated his feud with the company.

The development scheduled for construction in the Orlando area was set to bring 2,000 jobs to the region, with 1,000 employees expected to be relocated from southern California.

In an email to employees on 18 May, Disney’s theme park and consumer products chair Josh D’Amaro pointed to “changing business conditions” for the cancellation of the Lake Nona Town Center project, according to The New York Times, which first reported the move.

“I remain optimistic about the direction of our Walt Disney World business,” he added, noting that the company has still planned $17bn in projects over the next decade its Disney World campus. “I hope we’re able to,” he said.

For years, Florida legislators and the governor’s office enjoyed a close relationship with the company, among the state’s largest employers, wielding enormous political influence while bringing in billions of dollars to the state each year.

Now, the company and DeSantis allies are suing one another, following a years-long feud over opposition to what opponents have called Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law that boiled over into political and legal battles that could shape the company’s business in the state.

This is a developing story