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Walt Disney World President Jeff Vahle addresses local leaders about cancelled Lake Nona project

As Disney's decision to pull the plug on its plans to relocate Walt Disney Imagineering from California to Lake Nona causes shock in Orlando, Disney issues statement to local community leaders.


Walt Disney World President Jeff Vahle addresses local leaders about cancelled Lake Nona project

Walt Disney World President Jeff Vahle has issued a statement to local community leaders here in Orlando where many are in shock that the project that would have brought thousands of jobs to the area has been cancelled.


In the statement Vahle acknowledged the canceled Lake Nona project by saying "several dynamics have changed, including a change in company leadership and evolving economic and business conditions."


He also goes on to reiterate the past, present, and future investments that Disney have made in the local community here in Central Florida.


Here is the full statement from Vahle:


Dear Community Leaders,

Today, you may have heard the news that Disney is no longer moving forward on the construction of a new campus in the thriving and growing community of Lake Nona in Orlando. Since we first announced this project, several dynamics have changed, including a change in company leadership and evolving economic and business conditions.

Regarding our world-class destination, our desire is to continue investing in our core business in an effort to attract and welcome millions of visitors to Walt Disney World and Central Florida each year so they can enjoy the kind of hospitality our region is known for around the world. Our plans currently call for us to invest $17 billion in Walt Disney World over the next 10 years and create 13,000 new jobs to continue doing our part as a leading employer in the hospitality and themed entertainment industry. We hope those plans will become a future reality.

For decades, we have operated our business responsibly and being the region's largest taxpayer, we paid and collected over $1.1 billion in state and local taxes during last year alone.

As the largest single-site employer in Central Florida, we are deeply rooted in this community, and we continue to make investments for the betterment of our region such as our contribution of 80 acres of land to create affordable and attainable housing for our community, which we announced last year.

Groundbreaking on this development is targeted for next year, with the first of 1,400 units anticipated to be completed in 2026.

We also continue to invest in our community through our broad array of philanthropic and citizenship efforts. Over the last 20 months, we've provided $6.5 million in grants to locally based, non-profit organizations such as Give Kids The World, Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, Conservation Florida, Heart of Florida United Way, Hope Partnership, The Nature Conservancy and more. This is on top of the donation of millions of hours of time that our Cast Members have contributed to deserving organizations over the decades.

Of course, none of this would be possible without the amazing dedication of the 75,000 Cast Members who call Central Florida their home. To them, we offer the best overall benefits package in the Central Florida hospitality industry, including an $18 minimum wage by the end of the year-which is well above the state's minimum wage - affordable medical coverage, subsidized childcare, access to free higher education through Disney Aspire our 100% paid tuition programs, and pathways to help Cast at every step of their career.

While today's decision was not easy, we remain committed to our Cast Members as well as you and our wonderful community.

Sincerely,

Jeff Vahle

President

Walt Disney World Resort


Walt Disney World President Jeff Vahle addresses local leaders about cancelled Lake Nona project

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