2,000 CA jobs headed to Florida’s Walt Disney World

The Happiest Place on Earth might not be in Southern California

By Brandon Ristoff
July 20, 2021

Disney’s most recent business announcement will be a fairy tale ending for the company’s bottom line. According to an internal staff letter published by Deadline, the Walt Disney Company will move over 2,000 employees from Southern California to Orlando, Florida over the next eighteen months.

On the surface, this seems like just another business move by Disney. It would not be surprising that some employees might move from California – home to Disneyland – to Florida – home to Walt Disney World. But, according to the internal letter announcing the move, it turns out it is a subtle insult to Mickey’s home state of California.

In his letter to employees, Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Division said “Florida’s business-friendly climate” was one of the main contributors to the move. Florida is ranked fourth overall in the Tax Foundation’s 2021 State Business Tax Climate Index. California? California was in 49th place. Florida also has no state income tax. It probably also didn’t help that California lawmakers refused to allow Disneyland to reopen until April 2021, while Florida’s Walt Disney World has been open since July 2020.

The 2,000+ employees moving from Southern California to Florida are part of the Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products division of The Walt Disney Company, which is in charge of each of the six Disney parks across the globe, as well as Disney Cruise Lines, the Disney Stores, and more. A notable part of this division is Walt Disney Imagineering, who are the experts who create the rides and the magical experiences in those parks. 

As part of the move, Disney is creating their own campus for the relocated employees in the Lake Nona part of Orlando, Florida. D’Amaro said the goal is to create “a dynamic environment to support our expanding business” and that the move to Florida, “gives [Disney] the opportunity to consolidate [its] teams and be more collaborative and impactful both from a creative and operational point of view.” 

Of course, Disney isn’t alone in heading for greener, business-friendly pastures. CPC’s Book of Exoduses has documented the numerous other companies and job creators who’ve packed up and moved east. Mickey Mouse may be a Californian by birth, but if the state continues to crush businesses and residents through its onerous policies, he might just be the next Californian to become a Floridian. 

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