Op-Ed: Is Disney Announcing Its Exodus From Florida?

in Disneyland Paris, Op-Ed, Walt Disney World

Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort

Credit: Cesira Alvarado via Unsplash

As Walt Disney World Resort falls behind other Disney Parks again, thinking that the Orlando Resort is becoming the company’s least favorite location is nearly inevitable.

Walt Disney World Resort has been embroiled in multiple problems since last year, forcing the Orlando-based Disney Resort to fence against hot-headed politicians, racist and homophobic protests, increasingly disruptive Guests, and harsh scrutiny. And with surprisingly decreasing crowds, alleged misinformation, and coarse reception of new projects, it’s hard to shake off the idea that Walt Disney World is becoming Disney’s least favorite location.

Cinderella Castle Partners statue at Walt Disney World
Credit: Disney

Related: Disney Employees Say Park Is the Most Miserable Place on Earth

Of course, Gov. Ron DeSantis has put a strain on Disney’s public image — and on his own — with his ongoing legal battle against the company, forcing it to shut down a multi-million-dollar project planned for the Lake Nona area and partly causing the permanent closure of one of the most immersive and exclusive experiences in the Orlando-based Disney Resort. Not to mention that Walt Disney World Resort has become the meeting point for white supremacist protests against the company and its values.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on stage
Credit: Gage Skidmore, Flickr

Related: Op-Ed: Disney’s Massive New Project Is a Swing and a Miss

Walt Disney World Resort is the Most Magical Place on Earth. That remains undeniable. But with major projects under development at Disney Parks worldwide and not a lot of news coming out of Orlando, it’s hard to ignore a possible disfavor against the Orlando-based Disney Resort.

Be fair to Florida

“Be fair to Florida,” or a phrase along those lines comes afloat on social media with every new announcement The Walt Disney Company makes for a Disney Park other than Walt Disney World, reigniting the age-old debate of which Park is best with the “competition” mostly being debated between Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, and Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

Even the Disney100 celebrations — which are kicking off in Orlando nearly eight months after they did in California — have fans underwhelmed. 

EPCOT Disney100 celebration
Credit: Walt Disney World Resort – EPCOT Disney100 celebration

Last year, the debate was reignited by the debut of several new characters at Disney California Adventure’s Oogie Boogie Bash — which will likely be the case again this year as the highly-demanded event has caused chaos online. And earlier this year, the debut of an exclusive event promoting the LGBTQIA+ community stirred debate again, with many commenting that California Governor Gavin Newsom was “the anti-DeSantis,” referring to Disney’s better political relationship in California. And let’s not get started on the multi-million-dollar project Disneyland wants to set in motion.

Disneyland After Dark: Pride Nite character concept art
Credit: Disney

Related: DeSantis No More, Disney Pitches New Project Outside Florida

However, Disneyland Paris’ upcoming restaurant inspired by Disney and Pixar’s award-winning movie Coco (2017) and the Parisian Disney Resort’s ongoing transformation reignites this debate “as old as time.” While Disney World is currently working on bringing new experiences inspired by Princess and the Frog and Moana to its Parks, it is inevitable to feel like all the best things are going to other Parks.

Not all Disney Parks are created equal

It is true that while some iconic Disney rides can be found at almost every Park around the world, the little — or not-so-little — variations are what make each Disney Park a unique and magical experience. What would be the fun of traveling to a different Disney Park if they were all the same?

Phantom Manor in Disneyland Park at Disneyland Paris
Credit: Disneyland Paris

Related: Disneyland Paris “Absolutely Ruins” Disney Parks Experience For Guest

For example, Disneyland Paris is home to exclusive rides like Phantom Manor, an extended version of Big Thunder Mountain, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril, and Crush’s Coaster. Additionally, the Parisian Disney Resort is currently developing its own immersive land inspired by Disney’s hit movie Frozen (2013).

Meanwhile, Walt Disney World Resort is home to four massive theme parks, Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and EPCOT. Each with their own magical experiences.

Is this enough to think Disney is withdrawing from Florida?

While many of us feel like Disney World in Orlando, Florida, is falling behind, with some projects taking much longer than anticipated to come to fruition and apparently fewer plans for the Park’s future, Disney is unlikely to withdraw from the Sunshine State — even when several states have publicly invited the company to move.

Mickey and contest winners on stage
Credit: Walt Disney Imagineering

Surely Walt Disney Imagineering teams are coming up with new rides, locations, and experiences to bring to life at Disney World. However, with Walt Disney World Resort being the largest Disney Parks location in the world — added to the latest obstacles the company has faced in Orlando — going full steam ahead into new developments in Orlando must be complicated regardless of much the company pushes through.

Stay tuned to Inside the Magic for the latest Walt Disney World Resort news.

Is Disney World falling behind other Disney Parks? How could the company put the Orlando-based Resort back in the spotlight? Share your thoughts with Inside the Magic in the comments below!

View Comments (27)