Disney made headlines when they announced a new Imagineering campus in Lake Nona, Florida last year. Imagineering has been located in California since its inception and this was a huge decision for the company. The project was originally going to move over 2,000 cast members to Florida with many having to leave family and a stable life behind in order to complete the move. However, with angst within the company over Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill, more questions arose. Would Disney really move to a state that didn’t even want them?
According to Disney, the Lake Nona Campus completion date has been pushed back to 2026. This means that Disney is no longer expecting all cast members to relocate until 2026 as well. This report comes directly from Disney but has been shared by Scott Gustin on Twitter as seen below.
There could be multiple reasons for this delay. Taking Disney’s statement at face value, the campus may legitimately not be ready until 2026. However, this could also be PR speak, as Disney may have other reasons to delay the move. They could be considering employee feedback, especially after the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill was passed. Many cast members don’t want to move to a state where they may not feel included. Disney could also be receiving less of a tax break now than they were before. However, Disney does claim that the dispute with Governor DeSantis is not the reason for the delay according to the Orlando Sentinel.
The move to Lake Nona would bring Imagineering closer to Walt Disney World however, it would also move it further from the rest of the company. In person meetings with Disney Animation and Pixar staff over attractions would be less frequent. However, being closer to Walt Disney World would allow for better access to the company’s largest resort. Though, no matter where you stand on the issue, hopefully Disney will offer affected Cast Members enough resources and time to make the transition as smooth as possible.