Governor DeSantis Responds to Canceled Lake Nona Project

Disney's Lake Nona Cancelation Has a Ripple Effect in the Surrounding Area

May 18 was a BIG day for Disney and the fans that love it. Sort of unsurprisingly, Disney announced that it would be ending the Galactic Starcruiser experience at Walt Disney World Resort. The too-pricey excursion had been struggling since it opened in March 2022. However, that was not the only huge news that broke. In a more shocking move, Disney Parks Chairman, Josh D’Amaro, announced that the company’s controversial Imagineering move to Lake Nona, Florida was canceled. Ex-Disney CEO Bob Chapek announced the move back in 2021, and it never sat well with those who worked for the House of Mouse.

The Walt Disney Company

Credit: Disney

The move to Lake Nona would have brought thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in tax revenue to the Sunshine State. However, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis doesn’t seem to care that the state is losing out. DeSantis has been locked in a bitter battle with Disney, and this is just the latest move on the chessboard.

Not long after the Lake Nona announcement was made, DeSantis’ office released a statement. DeSantis primarily blamed the cancellation on Disney’s “failing” business. The company made just about $22 billion in revenue in the second quarter of 2023.

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.”

When D’Amaro announced that Disney would no longer be moving its Imagineers to Florida, he cited “changing business conditions”, which was one of the nicest ways he could say it. Since ex-CEO Bob Chapek spoke out against Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill, Governor DeSantis has been gunning for the company. DeSantis and the Florida legislature quickly passed a bill that would dissolve the long-standing Reedy Creek Improvement Act. That stripped Walt Disney World of its right to self-govern.

Reedy Creek Improvement District

Credit: Orlando Business Journal

However, that is not the only thing the governor has done. DeSantis has threatened to build a state prison next to The Most Magical Place on Earth. A bill was also passed that now puts the Disney World monorail under state inspection control. DeSantis has said that he wants all Disney rides and attractions to fall under state control.

At this time, state law allows theme parks with more than 1,000 employees to have their own inspectors. Those inspectors then have to file paperwork with the state to confirm they followed all protocols in their inspections and that all rides meet the required standards. DeSantis has said that the new law would ONLY apply to Disney and not Universal Orlando or SeaWorld. However, it does not look like that will happen, as the state legislature adjourned without addressing the rides bill.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Credit: Disney

On April 26, Disney World officially filed a lawsuit against the governor. Disney claims that Governor DeSantis is targeting them with the new legislation he is passing and the threats he is making. Disney CEO Bob Iger doubled down on those beliefs during the earnings call, saying that everything the governor was doing was simple retaliation.

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!

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