Disney still has plans to spend billions in Florida despite its battle with DeSantis

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Ron DeSantis, despite his battles with the government disney Committed to Florida State.

The media and theme park juggernaut is set to invest $17 billion in the Walt Disney World hub in central Florida over the next decade, including the potential creation of 13,000 jobs.

Those figures have been reiterated by CEO Bob Iger and parks chief Josh D’Amaro over the past few months, as tensions between Disney and Florida lawmakers continue to escalate. This fight becomes even more important now that DeSantis is officially running for president,

in April, The company filed a lawsuit accusing DeSantis and new board members of its special district for waging a campaign of political vendetta against the entertainment giant.

DeSantis targeted Disney’s special district, formerly called the Reedy Creek Improvement District, after the company publicly criticized a controversial Florida bill—dubbed “Don’t Say Gay” by critics—that would have banned classrooms. limits discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity.

“We never wanted, and we certainly never expected, to be in a position to defend our business interests in federal court, especially with a state in such a fraught relationship as the one we’ve had for 50 years.” Has been for more than a year,” Iger said during the company’s earnings call earlier this month.

disney recently Canceled plans to open a new employee campus in Lake Nona, Florida, citing “changing business conditions”. This means the company will no longer be asking more than 2,000 California-based employees to relocate to Florida. That location was not part of Disney’s $17 billion investment plan.

D’Amaro, who runs Disney’s Parks, Experiences and Consumer Products division, echoed Iger’s sentiments earlier this week during the JPMorgan Global Technology, Media and Communications Conference. He told audience members that the $17 billion investment “gives you a sense of how aggressive we are at Walt Disney World.”

“And it includes things Epcot’s Transformation, ” he explained. “It includes things like a new Star Tours attraction coming, we have a new Tiana attraction coming. So, we’re thinking pretty aggressively about where we can take things in Florida.”

Already Epcot opened Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure in the France Pavilion in late October and last year also unveiled Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, a roller coaster at the Wonders of Xander Pavilion based on the fictional planet of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Coaster is. The park also features a new restaurant called Space 220.

Still to visit in the park is the “Moana”-themed park area called The Journey of Water, a self-guided outdoor trail where guests can play and interact with the water. It is set to open in late 2023.

At Disney World’s Hollywood Studios as well as Disneyland in California and Disneyland Paris, the company is set to add more stories and characters to its Star Tours attraction. In addition, it is Updating Splash Mountain at both Home resorts with a “The Princess and the Frog” theme.

The company is also updating several of its hotel and resort locations in Florida.

D’Amaro said that in the $17 billion figure for Florida, some “The idea for “Blue Sky” was introduced by the company during its D23 Expo last year. in Anaheim, California. These projects are still in early development and may not see the light of day.

During that presentation last September, D’Amaro talked about the possibility of reviving Dino Land at Animal Kingdom in Orlando. Early ideas for the space included the possibility of bringing “Zootopia” to the park, with its various districts and animal species, or even “Moana”.

At the Magic Kingdom, Disney is asking the question: “What’s behind Big Thunder Mountain?” The company teased that an area based on “Cocoa” may be in that location or “Encanto”. Maybe both.

D’Amaro also hinted at the possibility of bringing to life an area of ​​the Magic Kingdom run by Disney villains.

Price points for these projects will vary if they come to fruition, but for context, the two Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge lands at Disneyland and Disney World cost $1 billion each.

Disney’s theme parks have been a bright spot for the company, as there has been a significant increase in guest visits in the months following the pandemic shutdown. The Parks, Experiences and Products division saw revenue increase 17% year-over-year to $7.7 billion during the most recent quarter.

Its theme park locations generated approximately $5.5 billion in revenue. The company said guests spent more time and money at its parks, hotels and cruises both domestically and internationally during the quarter. Its cruise business, in particular, saw an increase in passenger cruise days.

“We view this business as a key growth driver for the company,” Iger said during Disney’s recent earnings call.