Lake Nona businesses react to Disney postponing move of employee from California to Florida

The Walt Disney Company is postponing a move to relocate 2,000 employees from California to Orlando's Lake Nona community. That's taking many Lake Nona business owners in by surprise.

At the Barknona Dog Hotel owner Michael Green said news of Disney postponing the opening of their new regional campus was rough. 

"I was surprised at first, it was a little bit of a bummer because we’re counting on those families." Over at Marco’s Pizza, Kendra Ritchie said, "It was a little unexpected as we were gearing up for the extra business and gearing up for it."

Real estate broker and agent Ray Lopez of Keller Williams says he has helped Disney employees relocate from California to Florida.

"You had to move, or you were gonna lose your job. That’s the way they put it to the people that were relocated here," said Lopez. "I did have a couple of people that I was talking to about moving here, that didn’t make the move, that actually left Disney because they were making them move. If they liked working for Disney they’re probably in a bad way now."

According to WDW News Today, Disney was supposed to relocate 2,000 "Imagineers" and other employees by 2023, but that’s been pushed to 2026. 

"Unfortunately, with a lot of the things going on between the State of Florida and Gov. Ron DeSantis, a lot of people are trying to figure out if that’s the issue, or if it's actually Disney just trying to move it back three years." 

He said increased interest rates could convince a family to stay where they are. 

"I think the people that were on the fence about coming, may not come now because they might have been locked in at a 3% rate in California."

Green said this could be a positive move if the time is used to finish road construction before Disney employees arrive.

"I think waiting a couple of years is going to help not only the traffic but also the community to settle."