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Disney Cancels Orlando Campus, Democrats Blame DeSantis

Disney’s announcement to cancel its Lake Nona campus in Orlando has Democrats unhinged. But would the project really “create” 2,000 jobs?

BURBANK, CALIFORNIA — On Thursday, the Walt Disney Company officially canceled plans to develop a $1 billion Lake Nona complex in Orlando.

Immediately following the announcement, mainstream media and state Democrats blamed the move on Governor DeSantis, citing 2,000 high-paying jobs that Florida will never see.

“DeSantis is a job killing moron who cares more about his own political ambitions and culture wars than Florida and our future,” state Rep. Anna Eskamani (D-Orlando) said in a statement. “This is not who you want for President – ever.”

“2,000 jobs. Gone. All for bigotry,” Florida Democratic Party Chair Nikki Fried tweeted.


But the 2,000 “Florida jobs” were intended to be transfers from the entertainment giant’s California headquarters. There was also massive pushback from Disney’s creatives, who did not want to move to Florida. As a result, the project was suspended when Bob Iger took back the reins as CEO last November.

The Florida campus, a brainchild of former CEO Bob Chapek, was initially suspended, then delayed, and finally canceled due to Disney’s financial troubles. Disney announced last year it would cut 7,000 jobs by the end of the summer – and just a few weeks ago, confirmed they would lay off another 4,000 employees.

There was no mention of DeSantis or Disney’s ongoing feud with the state when they announced the decision. Instead, employees were told that “new leadership and changing business conditions” were behind the massive plan shift.

“Disney announced the possibility of a Lake Nona campus nearly two years ago,” said DeSantis’ press secretary Jeremy Redfern. “Nothing ever came of the project, and the state was unsure whether it would come to fruition.”

“Given the company’s financial straits, falling market cap and declining stock price, it is unsurprising that they would restructure their business operations and cancel unsuccessful ventures,” Redfern added.

Despite scrapping the Lake Nona campus, Iger told shareholders in April they still plan to invest $17 billion in Florida over the next decade, creating 13,000 jobs. For now, the company said employees who already transitioned to Florida ahead of the Lake Nona project may move back to California.