Disney pulling out of $1 billion Florida Campus deal and its impact on the company's $17 billion spending plan for the next decade

May 22, 2023 in "The Walt Disney Company"

Posted: Monday May 22, 2023 10:48am ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products Chairman Josh D'Amaro briefly commented this morning on the company's continuously escalating dispute with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

D'Amaro confirmed that the recent decision to pull out of a $ 1 billion deal to build a new east coast HQ campus in Lake Nona is not part of the often-mentioned $17 billion spending plan for Walt Disney World across the next ten years.

Asked what drove the decision to abandon the plans for the new campus, Josh cited the arrival of a new CEO, and the "changing business conditions in Florida."

Speaking in early April at the Walt Disney Company Annual shareholder meeting, Disney CEO Bob Iger said that Disney plans to spend $17 billion over the next ten years in Walt Disney World, bringing 13,000 new jobs to the area. The $17 billion budget has since been mentioned on numerous occasions as Disney emphasizes its importance to the state of Florida, and the risk to its business and tens of thousands of employees in the area as Governor Ron DeSantis continues to retaliate against Disney for its opposition to his parental rights bill, otherwise known as "don't say gay."

Speaking in a question-and-answer session at the JP Morgan Global Technology, Media & Communications Conference, D'Amaro also said that Disney's theme park operations in Florida had not been impacted in any way as a result of the ongoing dispute. He said that he remains, "excited about what is in store for Florida and where we can take things."

Disney CEO Bob Iger recently added some doubt to the spending plan in Florida by ratcheting up his messaging to the Florida Governor during comments on the last earnings call, where he said, "We have a number of other growth and expansion opportunities at our parks and we are closely evaluating where it makes the most sense to direct future investments."

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flynnibusMay 27, 2023

That choice does not have to do with the park demand trend. It has to do with the aftermath of buying fox and multiple other studios and their dtc strategy.

Vegas Disney FanMay 27, 2023

I agree, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen this and likely won’t be the last either, Disney raises prices and changes policies until attendance suffers, then they offer discounts, then once people have gotten used to the new system they raise prices and change policies again until it affects attendance, then offer discounts, and the cycle repeats. I think the pushback just took longer, and is hitting a little harder, this time because pent up Covid demand kept the parks busy despite the higher prices and crowd management schemes, now that everyone has had 2 years to make their delayed trips the sticker shock is really setting in.

drizgirlMay 27, 2023

I didn’t say they were toast. But this does seem different. When is the last time they laid off 7000 employees?

flynnibusMay 27, 2023

They are behaving like they do every period… adjusting based on demand to either promote or shape it. They have immense powers to adjust … and they do. And those changes can help reduce the severity of a trend. Wait to see how they end up before you consider them toast

drizgirlMay 27, 2023

Disney knows how the summer and fall bookings look. And is behaving like it doesn’t look good.

Jrb1979May 27, 2023

I think that the bad word of mouth and the nickel and diming has caught up to them.

TraumaMay 27, 2023

What do you think ?

Jrb1979May 27, 2023

What is going on that this is happening? It can't be the economy if people are still traveling to Orlando. It can't be the political storm as they aren't avoiding Florida. Why are people avoiding Disney all of a sudden? Has all these changes caught up to them?

Tha RealestMay 27, 2023

The airport data shows people had no problem going to Florida this weekend. These data points show people have no problem going to Orlando theme parks this weekend…but just not WDW.

flynnibusMay 27, 2023

Inmm not saying things aren’t soft - but you are also assuming what it will mean in their results before they do their management of it. They have a far better picture than us and they have a ton of knobs to try to react with. So when they get to the point the floor is dropping in the report lets discuss then.

TraumaMay 27, 2023

Velocicoaster with longer wait times than anything at Disney. UH-OH

TraumaMay 27, 2023

My buddy is at cedar point. I told him he would have to buy express pass but he didn’t believe me.

Jrb1979May 27, 2023

They haven't reported huge drops yet. Judging by reports this weekend the parks a quieter than normal. Compare that to Universal and SeaWorld where they are busier than normal. https://queue-times.com/parks Look for yourself.

flynnibusMay 27, 2023

None of which was on the list provided. But the parks are not reporting huge drops. The starcruiser wasn’t going to be saved by iger in this short time period. It’s sacrifice vs rework is on his watch… but I don’t see an announcement of starcruiser changes making the market pivot on their company outlook. Saving billions will