Disney has postponed shifting 2,000 California jobs to Central Florida until at least 2026 amid the company’s fight over Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
“While a growing number of our employees, who will ultimately work at the campus, have already made the move to Central Florida, we also want to continue to provide flexibility to those relocating, especially given the anticipated completion date of the campus is now in 2026. Therefore, where possible, we are aligning the relocation period with the campus completion,” a Disney spokesperson said in a statement provided to .
The move, which had been expected to conclude by the end of 2022 or early 2023, had been vigorously opposed by staffers, including the legendary Imagineers team behind theme parks, attractions, cruise ships and retail outposts. In March, that team had asked embattled CEO Bob Chapek to reverse a decision, calling the move unreasonable given what they called the state’s “hateful legislation.”
The 2,000 employees were expected to join over 60,000 Disney employees already in central Florida as the company built a new campus in the planned community of Lake Nona, Florida — a location approximately 20 miles from the Disney World Resort in Orlando.
In an open letter to Disney leadership in March, LGBTQ+ activists inside the company announced plans for a number of walk-outs and also demanded that the company stand down from the planned move after the state passed legislation barring schools from discussing “sexual orientation or gender identity.” The letter demanded that Disney cease “any efforts to move employees to Florida office locations… Guaranteeing no employee will be terminated when denying relocation to Florida.”
The requirement to move, retire or quit decimated the ranks of Disney’s storied creatives. Several told that the Imagineers team — which they said numbered as many as 1,800 before the pandemic — had been reduced by more than half since last fall as a result of the relocation decision.
Chapek has drawn considerable heat for his bungled response to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” legislation — first drawing fire from LGBTQ groups and his own staff for not speaking out against the bill, and then receiving blowback from Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and other prominent conservatives for advocating a so-called “woke” ideology.
WDW News Today first reported the news.