ORLANDO, Fla. — Cows are currently grazing on a plot of land in Lake Nona where Disney had planned to build a 1.8 million-square-foot regional campus.
The company announced it was canceling those plans Thursday, but whether or not Disney decides to build there now, or let someone else do it, Lake Nona Realtors say they expect residential real estate in the area to continue to boom.
In 2021, local Realtor Kevin Kendrick got a call about helping some of the expected 2,000 families preparing to relocate to Central Florida to work at the planned Lake Nona campus.
“Out of the blue I got a call from Quest Relocation Services, which is part of the Disney relocation team,” said Kendrick, who owns Kendrick Team EXP Realty. “We went through a multiple layer interview process, and we were selected to help families coming from California and other parts of the country.”
Kendrick said his real estate team is one of about 15 that have been helping to find forever homes for Disney families. He said that Disney's plan in Lake Nona didn't necessarily mean employees planned to live there.
“Everyone thought Disney was moving to Lake Nona, that didn't happen,” Kendrick said. “A lot of families went to Winter Garden, Windermere, downtown (Orlando), St. Cloud.”
Disney Historian Rick Fogelsong says the impact of Disney's decision to scrap plans for the Lake Nona campus will be felt across the region.
“It’s not just the number of jobs that are lost and high paying jobs that they are, they are not ticket taker jobs," said Fogelsong, author of “Married To The Mouse.” “They are imagineering jobs, and that contributes to the high tech aspect of our growing economy.”
And despite the Lake Nona news Thursday, Disney officials say they still plan to invest $17 billion in to Walt Disney World and add 13,000 news jobs over the next 10 years.