Disney Officials announced on Thursday that 2,000 jobs will be relocated from California to Lake Nona in Orlando.
According to the Orlando Business Journal, all 2,000 jobs being moved will come from Disney’s headquarters in Burbank and will be slowly moved to Orlando over the next 18 months. The Lake Nona campus, which is currently being built, will specifically draw in non-Disneyland related personnel in the Parks, Experiences and Products division.
“The Walt Disney Company has always been a strong community partner and leader, and it’s exciting to see Disney Parks, Experiences and Products significantly expanding the number of professional positions based in the Orlando region, with their plans for a regional campus in Orlando’s Lake Nona, one of our region’s premier centers for innovation,” said Orlando Economic Partnership President and CEO Tim Giuliani on Thursday.
While the Walt Disney Company headquarters is to remain in Burbank, with the 2,000 relocated jobs constituting less than 5% of the current number of Disney jobs in California, many within the company and in Southern California areas that depend on Disney theme park jobs remain worried that Disney could wind up following a trend of Californian companies moving their headquarters to other states.
During the pandemic, several companies in California moved their headquarters to other states, such as Oracle moving from Redwood City to Austin and HP Enterprise moving from the Bay Area to Houston. Companies that moved gave several reason for their departure, ranging from better business opportunities back East, lower tax rates, a desire for more employees to work remotely, and more flexible work policies post-COVID.
“I wouldn’t say the move of all these jobs is solely because of California policies,” noted Los Angeles business relocation specialist Vanessa O’Donnell to the Globe on Thursday. “There’s a lot of talk about jobs moving out, but California has also been bringing in a bunch of new jobs too, like GM building a new campus in Pasadena and the film industry bringing in more and more jobs after the pandemic scattered them out. So it’s not just that.”
“Disney is building a big campus there because there is open land. In SoCal, there’s not exactly a lot of it left. Plus with Disney having a bigger theme park presence in Florida, it makes sense that jobs have gone out there. Notice no executive or admin jobs are really going out there.”
“It’s still not great California lost this many jobs, but it’s obvious that they still want to be headquartered in California. They just don’t want all their park people in a place that kept theme parks shut down for months longer than Florida and cost them a lot more theme park revenue too. Disney was furious at California over that, and it might be showing through now with this move.”
Burbank residents were also concerned over the move.
“That’s 2,000 good-paying jobs gone,” said Rick Moreno, who owns a cafe in Burbank near Disney offices, to the Globe. “They always come out during lunch time. That’s a lot of people to lose, and we’re all going to feel that pinch, especially during lunch hours.”