by Joe Kleiman, Senior Correspondent of InPark Magazine
In an internal letter sent July 16, 2021 to cast members, Josh D’Amaro, president of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products (DPEP), announced that 2,000 division employees would be relocated to a new campus in the community. planned from Lake Nona. , approximately sixteen miles east of Team Disney’s headquarters at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.
According to D’Amaro, âWith over 60,000 Cast Members, Imagineers and employees, Central Florida has a long history of being home to many of our businesses, including the Walt Disney World Resort and most of our Disney Signature Experiences team. This is also where members of other DPEP companies reside, including Consumer Products, Games and Publishing and Walt Disney Imagineering, and serves as a hub for many support functions that help our segment and the whole company …. Initially, our new campus will be home to more than 2,000 Cast, Imagineers and employees, which stimulates collaboration and creativity and allows us to better integrate our business and functional teams.
InPark has contacted Disney to find out how many Imagineers will remain in California after the move and whether the move will involve the executive leadership of Walt Disney Imagineering, including co-chairs Bob Weis and Barbara Bouza. According to a spokesperson for DPEP, the company is currently determining which cast members are suitable for relocation. The spokesperson added that existing Disney offices in Burbank and Glendale, such as the Grand Central Creative Campus, which includes Imagineering’s historic headquarters at 1401 Flower Street, will continue to be operated by the company.
There is a priority for such a move from Los Angeles County to Central Florida. Just as this move follows layoffs at Disney in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Universal Creative, following the layoffs following the completion of its park in Osaka, Japan, moved its headquarters and the remaining staff. from the Hollywood studio to his Orlando. recourse. At the time, the Universal Orlando Resort was only two years old, but space was limited to compete on a scope with Disney. With that in mind, Universal Parks purchased an 1,800-acre parcel of land from Lockheed Martin in 1998 to expand it. This plot, since sold and bought back, is now the future home of the resort’s fourth park, Universal’s Epic Universe.
Across the theme park industry, consolidation and offshoring of company operations has been commonplace recently – Six Flags has moved its offices to the former Arlington Stadium offices of the Texas Rangers Baseball Club. , much of Cedar Fair’s operations are managed from a satellite office. in Charlotte, NC, Palace Entertainment announced a satellite operations office in Pittsburgh, and SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment has moved from leased space to a wholly owned building on the park property.
In addition to tax credits, this move allows for better consolidation between the consumer goods and parks divisions and positions Imagineering to focus on the future growth of Walt Disney World Resort with the goal of remaining competitive with Universal and to its upcoming expansion. Meanwhile, it will take a long time to DisneylandForward Concept, presented in March of this year, for government approval, limiting the California resort’s current expansion options.
According to D’Amaro, “Most Southern California-based DPEP professional roles that are not fully dedicated to Disneyland roles, or in some cases, international park activities, will be invited to relocate to the new Florida campus. “.
The company structures the move over an 18-month period to better meet the needs of employees during the transition period.
IMAGE: Downtown Lake Nona. Courtesy of Lake Nona.