The Walt Disney Co. said Thursday that it would move roughly 2,000 consumer products and theme park-related jobs out of California over the next 18 months. The beneficiary will be Florida, where Disney already employs 60,000 theme park and consumer products workers in the Orlando area.
“In addition to Florida’s business-friendly climate, this new regional campus gives us the opportunity to consolidate our teams and be more collaborative and impactful both from a creative and operational standpoint,” Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, said in a memo to employees that was viewed by The New York Times.
The 2,000 jobs represent less than 5% of Disney’s workforce in California. Disney’s corporate headquarters will remain in Burbank, where the company operates from a complex that includes soundstages and the headquarters for ABC, the Disney-owned television network. D’Amaro said Disney “remains committed” to its presence in California, where an expansion of the Disneyland Resort is underway.
Hewlett-Packard, Oracle and Tesla, among other California companies, have recently moved their headquarters to more tax-friendly states. Disney’s comparatively modest move has been in the works since 2019 and was delayed by the pandemic, a spokeswoman said.
Most of the affected Disney employees currently work in Glendale, a city near Burbank where Disney has had operations since 1961 — notably Imagineering, the company’s secretive research and design division. About 20 years ago, Disney created an office complex in Glendale called the Grand Central Creative Campus (GC3, in Disney shorthand) to house employees who handle consumer products licensing and merchandise design.
Once moved, the 2,000 Disney employees will work at offices in Lake Nona, a fast-growing area about 20 miles east of Walt Disney World where property developers like Tavistock have benefited from state tax breaks.
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