Disney pulls the plug on its $1B Lake Nona campus in Orlando

ORLANDO, Fla. — The Walt Disney Company said Thursday that it will no longer be moving forward with its plans to open a $1 billion campus in Orlando’s Lake Nona development.


The campus was supposed to open in 2026.

“Given the considerable changes that have occurred since the announcement of this project, including new leadership and changing business conditions, we have decided not to move forward with construction of the campus,” said Josh D’Amaro, the chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, in a letter to employees Thursday.

D’Amaro said that the decision was not easy to make but “the right one.”

“As a result, we will no longer be asking our employees to relocate,” he said of employees who were asked to relocate to Florida from California. “For those who have already moved, we will talk to you individually about your situation, including the possibility of moving you back.”

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D’Amaro said that Disney is committed to handling the change “with care and compassion.”

He said the company still plans to invest $17 billion in Florida and create 13,000 during the next 10 years.

“I hope we’re able to do so,” D’Amaro said in the letter.

Tavistock Group, Lake Nona’s owner, declined to comment on the decision.

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The city of Orlando told Channel 9 that it learned of Disney’s decision Thursday.

“As a city, we’re disappointed whenever a business chooses not to expand or locate in Orlando,” Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “That’s no different here with today’s news related to Disney.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office provided Channel 9 with the following statement on the company’s decision:

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“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.”

Check back for live updates to this developing story and watch a live report on Channel 9 Eyewitness News.

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Jason Kelly

Jason Kelly, WFTV.com

Jason Kelly joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2014. He serves as the station's Digital Executive Producer.