Monday, May 22, 2023
The battle between Disney and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ramped up this week with Disney axing plans for a billion-dollar office complex in Orlando and revealing that it will shut down a Star Wars-themed luxury hotel this fall.
In 2021, Disney said it would relocate 2,000 jobs—mostly from its Imagineering division—from Southern California to Florida, where employees would work out of an eight-building, 1.8 million-square-foot complex in Orlando, according to Spectrum News 13.
mTheove came with a $580 million tax break, the Los Angeles Times reported at the time, and it got final approval from the city's Development Review Committee in March. But that approval came amid a public battle between Disney and the governor, who went after the company for publicly criticizing the state's "don't say gay" bill. Both sides are now suing each other.
The spat has led to the demise of the Orlando project, though as the New York Times reports(Opens in a new window), many California-based employees were not excited about having to move to Florida.
Not surprisingly, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, cheered the reversal. "Turns out, bigoted policies have consequences. That's 2,000+ jobs that will be welcomed back with open arms to the Golden State," he tweeted(
A spokesperson for DeSantis took shots at Disney in a statement to the Times: "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."
A new Sunshine State campus isn't the only thing on the chopping block: In an attempt to reduce costs by $5.5 billion, Disney will shutter its Star Wars-themed luxury hotel this fall, less than two years after it opened.
The Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser lodge debuted in March 2022, later coming under fire for its exorbitant pricing: A two-day/two-night booking for two guests (including food and drink and a visit to the theme park's planet Batuu) started at $4,800, Reuters reports.
The 100-cabin Starcruiser experience was "praised by our guests and recognized for setting a new bar for innovation and immersive entertainment," a Disney spokesperson says. "We will take what we've learned to create future experiences that can reach more of our guests and fans."
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