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Despite her battle with Governor Ron DeSantis, Disney He remains committed to Florida.

The media and entertainment giant is set to invest $17 billion in Central Florida’s Walt Disney World center over the next decade, which includes the potential to create 13,000 jobs.

Those numbers have been reiterated by CEO Bob Iger and Parks President Josh D’Amaro over the past few months, as tensions between Disney and Florida lawmakers continue to escalate. The fight has taken on even more significance now that DeSantis is officially running for president.

In April, the company filed a lawsuit accusing DeSantis and the new board members of its district of carrying out a campaign of political retaliation against the entertainment giant.

DeSantis took aim at Disney’s own district, formerly called the Reedy Creek Improvement District, after the company publicly criticized a controversial bill in Florida — dubbed “Don’t Say Gay” by critics — that limits discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in classes. tuition.

“We never wanted, and certainly never expected, to be in a position where we have to defend our business interests in federal court, especially a wonderful relationship with the state as we have for over 50 years,” Iger said. during the company’s earnings call earlier this month.

Disney recently canceled plans to open a new campus for employees in Lake Nona, Florida, citing “changing working conditions.” This means that the company will no longer require its more than 2,000 employees in California to move to Florida. This site was not part of Disney’s $17 billion investment plan.

D’Amaro, who runs Disney’s Parks, Experiences and Consumer Products division, reiterated Iger’s sentiment earlier this week during the JP Morgan 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.”

“This includes things like the Epcot makeover,” he explained. “It includes things like there’s a new Star Tours attraction coming, we’ve got a new Tiana attraction coming. So, we’re thinking pretty aggressively about where we can take things in Florida.”

Epcot already opened Ratatouille Rémy’s adventure in France Pavilion in late October, and last year also revealed Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, a roller coaster at Wonders of Xandar Pavilion, based on the fictional planet from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The park also has a new restaurant called Space 220.

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

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At Disney World’s Hollywood Studios, as well as at California-based Disneyland and Disneyland Paris, the company is preparing to add more stories and characters to its Star Tours tours. In addition, she is updating Splash Mountain at each of the local resorts with a “Princess and the Frog” theme.

The company also updates several Florida hotel and resort websites.

D’Amaro added that the $17 billion figure for Florida also includes some of the “blue sky” ideas the company presented last year during the D23 Show in Anaheim, California. These projects are still in early development and may never see the light of day.

During that presentation last September, D’Amaro talked about the possibility of revamping Dino Land at Animal Kingdom in Orlando. Initial ideas for the space include the possibility of bringing a “Zootopia” to the park, including a diversity of provinces and animal species, or even a “Moana”.

In Magic Kingdom, Disney asks the question: “What’s behind Big Thunder Mountain?” The company said a coco-based area could be in that location or in Encanto. Maybe both.

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

The price points for these projects will vary, if they come to fruition, but for reference, the Star Wars: Galaxy Edge lands at Disneyland and Disney World are estimated to cost $1 billion each.

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

About $5.5 billion of that revenue came from theme park sites. The company said that guests spent more time and money during the quarter visiting theme parks, hotels and cruises, both domestically and internationally. The cruise business, in particular, has seen an increase in passenger cruise days.

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


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