One Florida realtor says that Disney employees have taken a liking to the state — even as their corporate bosses shelve investment there.
Disney announced the cancellation of a billion-dollar plan to develop a Lake Nona corporate facility on Thursday, according to CNBC.
The cancellation is thought to be connected to the company’s feud with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
DeSantis revoked several of Disney’s legal privileges in Florida after the company campaigned against his education reform plan, including shelving its self-governing development district.
However, Disney might have problems getting its employees to leave the Orlando metropolitan area, where it had planned the Lake Nona park.
The Disney employees who have arrived there don’t want to move, according to an area realtor who spoke to WOFL.
“It’s been actually overwhelming the amount of people who have said, no we love Orlando and as long as they don’t force us to go back, we plan on staying,” realtor Ken Pozek said of the Disney employees he’d helped move.
Many of the Disney employees who moved to Florida were spurred to do so by the company, having moved from California.
Should Disney abandon its fight against DeSantis?
Pozek is surprised by the development — knowing that many of the former Californians Disney moved to Florida hadn’t planned on relocating.
“It was a slower pace of life, great weather, more stuff to do, more affordable.”
Disney executive Josh D’Amaro indicated that employees who were made to move to Florida may be authorized to move back to California, according to CNBC.
However, it’s unclear how the company will handle employees that have since taken a liking to Florida, and don’t intend on returning to Disney’s Burbank, California headquarters.
A representative for DeSantis criticized Disney after the cancellation of the Lake Nona project — taking aim at the company’s commitment to political partisanship over the interests of its employees.
NEW: Press office for @GovRonDeSantis responds to Disney canceling Lake Nona:
“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.” pic.twitter.com/Pf15IB8tfT
— Scott Gustin (@ScottGustin) May 18, 2023
Conversely, Florida was the fastest-growing state in the nation in 2022, according to the Census Bureau.