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Disney CEO Bob Iger Kills Lake Nona Project He Always Hated, Media Blames DeSantis

Disney CEO Bob Iger Kills Lake Nona Project He Always Hated, Media Blames DeSantis

The media headlines ignore that Disney simultaneously announced it still plans to invest $17 Billion and create 13,000 new jobs In Florida

I bet you didn’t realize that Disney just announced that it was planning to invest $17 billion and create 13,000 new jobs in Florida.

That’s because you read the misleading headlines, which focus on Disney cancelling a $1 billion project:

But if you read the details, the reality is that Disney cancelled one small part of its Florida plans for less than $1 billion, and kept almost all its other plans. And even that $1 billion was not such a sweet deal for Florida, since it was subsidized by over $500 million in tax incentives, and there were doubts that the job growth, which was by transferring employees from southern California, even could happen.

The New York Times told that complete story, but it’s headline was as misleading as the rest, Disney Pulls Plug on $1 Billion Development in Florida (emphasis added):

The project, known as Lake Nona Town Center, was supposed to cost $864 million, but recent price estimates have been closer to $1.3 billion. Disney had planned to relocate as many as 2,000 employees from Southern California, including most of a department known as Imagineering, which works with Disney’s movie studios to develop theme park attractions.

Most of the affected employees complained bitterly about having to move — some quit — but Disney held firm, partly because of a Florida tax credit that would have allowed the company to recoup as much as $570 million over 20 years for building and occupying the complex.

He cited “changing business conditions” as a reason for canceling the Lake Nona project. “I remain optimistic about the direction of our Walt Disney World business,” Mr. D’Amaro said in the memo. He noted that $17 billion was still earmarked for construction at Disney World over the next decade — growth that would create an estimated 13,000 jobs. “I hope we’re able to,” he said.

The memo, which was viewed by The New York Times, did not mention Mr. DeSantis. But the company’s battle with the governor and his allies in the Florida Legislature figured prominently into Disney’s decision to cancel the Lake Nona project, according to two people briefed on the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private deliberations….

A spokesman for Mr. DeSantis said in an email: “Disney announced the possibility of a Lake Nona campus nearly two years ago. 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.” ….

The Lake Nona project had initially been scheduled to open next year. Last July, Disney pushed back the move-in date to 2026, citing pandemic-related construction delays.

It also appeared that the project was just part of a list of prior Disney projects pulled back by returning CEO Bob Iger (emphasis added):

Mr. Iger, who came out of retirement to retake Disney’s reins, was much less enthusiastic about the project — even before the company became mired in its battle with Mr. DeSantis. As soon as he returned to Disney, Mr. Iger began telling lieutenants, for instance, that it made little sense to move Imagineering so far away from Disney’s movie studios. As he is fond of saying, “Creative teams need to be together.”

Mr. Iger has been systematically reversing Mr. Chapek’s decisions.”

So this was a project that appeared dead in the water unrelated to DeSantis, would not create new jobs for Floridians (instead importing 2,000 Californians), and would cost Florida almost $600 million in tax incentives to Disney. Sounds like Disney scrapping the deal was both unrelated to DeSantis and best for all involved.

But maybe the money is besides the point. IF Disney was trying to blackmail Florida by witholding growth in Florida if Florida didn’t restore Disney’s state-within-a-state, then perhaps it’s a fight worth having:


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They would rather quit than move to florida


    Crawford in reply to gonzotx. | May 18, 2023 at 9:17 pm

    The Imagineering staff isn’t young; it’s likely they’d have been uprooting their families or moving away from their kids and grandkids.

    Ironclaw in reply to gonzotx. | May 18, 2023 at 10:15 pm

    Let them, no loss there.

    mailman in reply to gonzotx. | May 19, 2023 at 2:06 am

    And he keeps doing all the right things we want to see not only from a Guvna, but also from. President.

    Danny in reply to gonzotx. | May 19, 2023 at 11:43 pm

    People have families and lives in their towns and cities, including Californians.

    How would you like it if you had been forced to decide between your income and your family life?

Of course they blame DeSantis. It’s the game being played. They play to an audience they have cultivated. Look at how they treated Durham and the FBI Whistleblowers. Until dupes get tired of it, and others become less prone to the manipulation, they will continued to be played, as seen time and again. Expecting media advocates to inform and not mislead is wishful, and a prescription for ignorance, Fortunately, it looks like the woke totalitarians with their excesses are starting to reveal how surreal it has become and how much closer to the edge they have brought us.


    He’s a super disgusting disappointment, deep state

      He was hampered by covid. Irrespective, the point is that he is attacked no matter what by the same media people that go after whistleblowers, DeSantis, Trump, and who distort virtually every story to further their narrative.

        He wasn’t hampered by millions of dollars he got paid, on taxpayers hard baxk for a dissertation paper and a free pass, join the very long line, of those who have been paid off or threatened

          Perhaps not, but he was hampered by covid and the ability to gather info from witnesses. It’s unlikely any of the wrongdoers could get convicted in DC, as was seen with the trials, but other prosecutors are free to find the crimes. The information in the “dissertation” paper gives us the truth, that Trump was framed based on nothing, while Clinton skated despite credible allegations. It should predicate investigations, greater transparency, and civil recourse against the bad actors.

          All that said, it diverts from the point that even when they know it’s false, the media slanders anyone that does not support the narrative, notwithstanding how Durham performed. It will be interesting to see his coming testimony where he may get it from both sides.

        You give Durham way to many excuses

        He and it is what it is

Why wouldn’t they build a project within all the land they own within the old Reedy Creek district. Shall I guess corporate welfare? So the state can find someone else to develop the land or god forbid, leave it in it’s natural state.

    Crawford in reply to buck61. | May 18, 2023 at 9:22 pm

    Disney intentionally leaves 1/3rd of their property undeveloped. It’s mainly to keep “clean” views from the various parks and hotels, but other than mosquito and gator control, they leave it alone.

      gonzotx in reply to Crawford. | May 18, 2023 at 11:12 pm

      Apparently not very good gator control

      And like all the pedos they have working for them, they don’t clean them out

      Just ask the parents of the 2 year old the gator murdered on the so called beach, same one I was on and in with my 2 kids , racing mini boats, not a sign to beware anywhere

        buck61 in reply to gonzotx. | May 18, 2023 at 11:31 pm

        You are in Florida, there is no such thing as a gator free zone anywhere, almost like people who are shocked that there actually sharks swimming in the water, near the shorelines

          gonzotx in reply to buck61. | May 19, 2023 at 1:05 am

          No one, and I mean no one of sound mind would think Disneys man made lake that toddlers played in, would be full of gators and NO Fu$king danger or information signs

          No.fu$king person of sound mind!?!

          CommoChief in reply to buck61. | May 19, 2023 at 7:32 am

          Gators shift around in search of food. The mature but smaller, younger males get out of dodge during breeding time. The dominant males get very territorial and will kill them if they hang around and seem like they want to breed.

          We have gators in south Alabama and in the breeding season the younger males come to my man made multi acre ponds to escape the wrath of the dominant males. They hang out 6-8 weeks then go back to their normal area.

          gibbie in reply to buck61. | May 19, 2023 at 3:44 pm

          There are danger and information signs everywhere.

I worked with Imagineering developing the Cars ride, I did the Mater section. They offered me a job, I turned it down because their business model at the time at this level was to only hire engineers as 1099s for a 3 year at a time contract with no guarantees and no benefits… Keep in mind,,, This was a 6 figure position. My understanding is they have contracted almost all that work overseas now.

    Crawford in reply to starride. | May 18, 2023 at 9:19 pm

    Yeah, when they were still a relatively sane company I looked at some of their jobs — then they had their Florida IT staff train their off-shore replacements, and I pretty much wrote off the company as an option. I even saw a listing from them using a technology I’d LOVE to work with, but for some stupid reason the work was in New York City.

JackinSilverSpring | May 18, 2023 at 11:23 pm

Why does anyone with half a brain take seriously anything printed in Izvestia on the Hudson? How man times must that POS be wrong before what appears in it is simply disbelieved?

inspectorudy | May 19, 2023 at 12:26 am

Disney is in a fight for survival at this point and they will never give up on FL. That is their best investment yet and even with the loss of autonomy, they will stay in FL. I’ve been to both states a thousand times and lived in FL. They have their good and bad points but without a doubt, God made CA a special place but the inmates are running it now. It used to be the leader in anything about America. All of the other states would catch up with CA in about ten years. And then the left took over and that was the end of paradise. Homelessness, crime, education, taxes, insane spending, and illegals, all are out of control there.

    natdj in reply to inspectorudy. | May 19, 2023 at 10:23 am

    What Disney and the media do not take into account is that most of us here in the Sunshine State are not advocating for more Corporate welfare at our expense. It is time for Disney to “live by the same” rules as every other business let alone theme park. Notice how Disney is getting ZERO support from any other corporation in the sane type of business. Disney is doubling down here in Florida for self destruction. If they choose it, so be it.

Trump and the Lincoln Project on the same side attacking DeSantis…. weird? not wierd?

Reedy Creek was really Greedy Creek. Chickens now coming home to roost.

Halcyon Daze | May 19, 2023 at 9:00 am

The Media™ have their marching orders. They will not deviate from their goal.

Steven Brizel | May 19, 2023 at 9:30 am

This was a strictly business decision

We in Florida don’t care what the media says. We pretty much ignore them and you should as well Bill. Disney will not get its “Corporate Welfare” deals back. This is not 1967.

Just a question, but how in the world did Jacksonville go blue and elect a democrat mayor?

    natdj in reply to gonzotx. | May 19, 2023 at 10:31 am

    Jacksonville is majority Democrat to begin with. Also, too many Mitt Romney Republicans endorsed the Democrat for mayor and thus enough Republicans crossed over. Also, Jacksonville voters elected three tv personalities to office. One for mayor, one for Property Appraiser and one for city four council. I don’t get how an anchor on tv has qualifications to be mayor let alone Property Appraiser? Not the brightest voters overall. Especially amongst Republicans in Duval County.

E Howard Hunt | May 19, 2023 at 10:12 am

Corporations will not go against the prevailing spirit of the times. There are too many interlocking factors for them to act otherwise. The fight must be political.