Bob Iger has only been the CEO of The Walt Disney Company (again) since Sunday evening, but already he’s made one significant change in the company. Kareem Daniel, the man seen as former CEO Bob Chapek’s right-hand man, and the head of the Disney Media & Entertainment Division, a new part of the company created by Chapek, is gone. It also looks like DMED will be undone and things will go back to the way they were. Now Iger needs to undo another major Chapek decision and cancel Walt Disney Imagineering’s move to Florida.
In July of last year it was announced that Walt Disney Imagineering would be moving from its longtime home in Glendale, CA to a new location in Lake Nona, FL, bringing it much closer to the company’s flagship resort at Walt Disney World. Initially, the plan was to have the move completed by 2023, but in June of this year due to construction delays, Disney pushed the deadline back to 2026.
Bob Iger Needs To Cancel The WDI Move To Florida
Now it’s time to just end the move entirely. There’s simply no reason to make the move. The people who work at Walt Disney Imagineering have built lives in California and asking them to move to Florida has already resulted in a lot of talented people leaving the company. Others will do the same if the move goes forward.
That loss of talent will damage Imagineering for years. And if the move is cancelled, there’s still the possibility that those that already left might be able to come back. It’s also a significant PR move for Bob Iger that would show Cast Members all over Disney that he cares about them as people, something that most people already believe to be true, at least when compared to Bob Chapek, but some action to prove it wouldn’t hurt.
Many saw the move of Imagineering as the first step in its destruction. It was well known and in fact part of the plan, that people would quit rather than move. The idea was to shrink Imagineering significantly, and possibly move to use outside contractors more often, which would be cheaper than running Imagineering in-house. Whether the goal was to close WDI or not, that idea should end now, and ending the perception that WDI is expendable is necessary.
Imagineering Is, And Always Has Been, A Key Part Of Disney
The company founded by Walt Disney in order to create the original attractions for Disneyland is one of the elements of The Walt Disney Company that truly sets it apart from its competitors. There are other movie studios and there are other theme park companies, but nothing in the world quite like WDI.
There are probably some who would like to move to Florida, and since Disney likely has the office space now anyway, having an Imagineering office in Florida isn’t on its face a terrible idea. Having a staff that’s dedicated to Walt Disney World in Florida would be good. Having those that are dedicated to Disneyland Paris several hours closer also wouldn’t hurt, but nobody should be forced to go.
And moving Imagineers away from Disneyland Resort, the place where it all started, as well as further away from the parks in Asia, makes zero sense. These people should stay in California.
Disney and Florida have had their issues. Disney's public comments, eventually, on the state's "Don't Say Gay" law got the company in hot water leading to the still currently scheduled dissolving of the Reedy Creek Improvement District that governs Walt Disney World. But the fact is that Bob Iger is already on record that he doesn't like the law either, so its unlikely that playing nice with Florida here is going to get Disney anything. All that matters now is what's best for the people, and what's best for them is leaving everybody at 1401 Flower Street alone to do their jobs.
CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.
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