Analysis: Disney Departure Has Little To Do With DeSantis

While the traditional media has cited Disney’s recent cancelation of a major Florida project as the fault of Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), a closer look at the company’s recent past shows that it could have more to do with a number of recent business failures.

Disney announced in 2021 that it would move its Imagineering division from California to the Sunshine State. The effort was a major undertaking, which would find about 2,000 employees moving from coast to coast. 

However, earlier this month the entertainment giant reversed course and announced that it was no longer proceeding. Josh D’Amaro, the company’s parks chairman, wrote to employees that it was canceled given the “considerable changes that have occurred since the announcement of this project, including new leadership and changing business conditions.” 

Much of the press identified Disney’s spat with DeSantis as the cause of the cancelation. 

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) wrote on Twitter that “bigoted policies have consequences.” Newsom added that the project’s jobs “will be welcomed back with open arms” and said that Disney did the “right thing.”

However, it appears that the decision made by current (and former) Disney CEO Bob Iger was made independently of DeSantis’ decision.

Furthermore, the House of Mouse has suffered a number of financial setbacks over the last year.

Even its large franchises, such as Star Wars and Indiana Jones have not panned out the way that Disney must have expected in its 2012 acquisition of LucasFilm.

Disney recently announced that it was closing the Galactic Starcruiser, a hotel based around an immersive Star Wars experience. hotel also featured in Florida, opened just last March. 

Price could have been a reason. The average cost per family for a two-day trip ran about $6,000. 

The loss of the Star Wars-themed hotel appears to be a big loss for the company. The exact cost of the Galactic Starcruiser is not clear, as Disney reportedly spent about $2 billion total on recent Star Wars ventures in Florida and California.

Furthermore, Disney’s first foray into Indiana Jones appears to be going poorly. The company’s release of the franchise’s fifth film, “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” has so far met with poor reviews.

One review in the British Daily Telegraph said that it felt like a “counterfeit of priceless treasure.”