We are in the midst of an unprecedented period of change within the Disney company. Just in the past year alone, we witnessed a dramatic CEO shakeup, the closure of a popular Magic Kingdom attraction, and currently we are preparing for the beginning of the official 100th Anniversary celebrations for the Walt Disney Company.
Disney is certainly sticking to their motto to “keep moving forward!” The Lake Nona project that started gaining traction in 2021 has just hit some important milestones, so we’re going to take a look at what’s in store for both the region and the Disney employees impacted by the relocation.
In early 2021, Disney hinted at plans to create a commercial and residential community in Lake Nona, an Orlando, Florida, neighborhood, for certain divisions of employees. The same summer, a press release stated Disney had purchased land for what they are calling a “regional campus” for their Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products team members. Since then we hadn’t heard much regarding the project, but recent developments have given us a clearer picture of what exactly the Lake Nona project will look like for both Disney employees and current Orlando residents.
The Orlando Business Journal reported that City of Orlando records show Disney is searching for a specific parcel master plan “for the development of an approximately 1.8 million-square-foot office complex with office and flex space within the Lake Nona PD, Parcel 20A.” It appears that the original timeline for the project has been lengthened; back in July of 2021, Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, estimated the move would take place within the following 18 months. Later, a Disney spokesperson stated their new anticipated completion date is sometime in 2026.
Disney is hoping this new timeline will accommodate their employees as they relocate from California to central Florida. Plus, it will give them ample time to complete all of their construction projects, which are pretty ambitious. Plans filed with the city call for 1.8 million square feet of office space. On the north side of Lake Nona Boulevard will be six office buildings, two flex buildings, three parking garages, and a central plant. They are aiming to stick to a “strong open space element” according to a memo on the plans, and site plans reveal a network of walkways as well as open areas for employees and visitors.
When finished, the plan is for all of the buildings to face a central park with pedestrian walkways between each of the buildings. These plans also revealed the project team and firms that will be creating the new Lake Nona Campus. Orlando-based Harris Civil Engineers LLC will be working alongside Langan Engineering, Inc. and HOK, an architect firm known for its innovative and collaboration-focused office designs. They’ve created campuses for companies like LG and Honeywell and are known for their sustainable designs, so we are eager to see what they have planned for Lake Nona.
Construction and opening will be phased to allow for Disney employees to relocate on their own timeline. The company anticipates adding 2,000 employees to this new Florida campus. With these recent plans we are anticipating more updates on the Lake Nona campus, and you can always count on DFB for bringing you the latest!
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What do you think of Disney’s plans to relocate their workers from California to Florida? Comment your thoughts below!
Ugh: “strong open space element”. You’d think they’d have figured out this actually makes employees isolate even more due to all the noise and absolute lack of privacy, especially when working on confidential projects.
Was really hoping the open concept office space died out with the early 2000’s.
Walt knew best when he built the Disney headquarters anew. He kept the building tight and close like a community, (Celebration). Spacing things out disturbs the interactive creative process, adds to costs and slows down forward movement. To bad, this could have been a really productive workspace, but now it is destine to bing a country club.
Mike Certain says
I don’t believe Disney will move forward until the current issues with DeSantis are resolved. Why would you move your business into a state hostile to your interests?