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The Day of Two Bombshells
Today is an interesting day for Disney Parks fans, with two major unexpected stories dropping within an hour of each other.
First, it was announced that Disney's $1 billion Lake Nona relocation of Walt Disney Imagineering and other Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products divisions had been nixed due to the "unfavorable business climate" in Florida, read: Ron DeSantis. This move will cost the state billions in lost tax revenue and at least 2,000 potential jobs and pour even more cold water on Ron DeSantis' bedeviled presidential campaign that hasn't even officially started yet.
Then, Disney announced that September 30th would be the last day of operation for Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, Walt Disney World's immersive 2-night Star Wars LARPing experience. This is doubly unfortunate because the Starcruiser is perhaps the most phenomenal experience to come out of Walt Disney Imagineering in 20+ years.
Beyond the guest perspective, both announcements are devastating for the Cast Members they affect; hundreds of front line Cast Members and equity actors that make up the crew of the Halycon will be thrown into limbo, and although Disney will relocate the majority (if not all) to other roles at Walt Disney World, it's still crushing to see something you put blood, sweat, and tears into evaporate like Kylo Ren on Exegol, and over at Imagineering many giants of theme park design retired early rather than sign onto a move that isn't actually going to end up happening not to mention the Imagineering leaders who have already relocated and who will now need to move back to California (although Disney will assist them with moving costs).
These are decisions that weren't easy to make. However, it was likely necessary to right the ship and position the company for the future in a changed business landscape, one of the focuses of Bob Iger's second tenure as CEO.
It should be said, however, the Starcruiser was not a creative failure but rather the result of a misjudgment of the market, and the decision to nix the relocation plans at Lake Nona is the result of Ron DeSantis' quest to silence Disney and other entities who show even the slightest hint of disagreement with his agenda, even if it comes at the expense of Floridians and the state as whole.