Disney eyes $17B worth of work in Florida

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Dive Brief:

  • Disney’s plan to build more magic in Florida — $17 billion worth — has taken a step forward. The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District provided initial approval Wednesday for a new development agreement with The Walt Disney Cos. to expand its footprint in the state.
  • The development agreement covers about 17,000 acres of land owned by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts in Orlando, Florida, and is over a 15-year timespan, according to information presented at the CFTOD meeting.
  • The deal includes a “buy local” initiative that requires that a minimum of 50% of construction goods and services related to design, development and construction is with Florida businesses.

Dive Insight:

The deal’s terms could mean Disney is on track to secure approval to build a fifth park at Disney World, according to AP News. The company could also build 13,000 more hotel rooms in Orlando, bringing the total number on its property there to 53,000, and increasing retail and restaurant space by over 20%. 

Disney could also be approved for two water parks, according to AP News. CFTOD has scheduled a second vote for final approval June 12. 

As part of the deal, Disney will donate 100 acres of its 24,000-acre property for the construction of infrastructure projects that the CFTOD would control. Disney also promised to spend $10 million on affordable housing in the region, AP News reported.

As the company wraps up projects, such as renovating Splash Mountain and a new attraction called “Tiana’s Bayou Adventure,” expected to open this year in both Disneyland and Disney World, per theme park news site Mickey Visit, it has eyed broad expansion for months now.

In September 2023, the company announced plans to spend $60 billion on entertainment investments over the next decade. That will likely mean advancements in its global locations, Shanghai and Hong Kong for example, and expanding cruise services to visit new locations such as Australia and New Zealand.

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