As someone that follows and reports the daily activities of the Walt Disney Company, one of the most common question Ive been asked lately by friends and family is if Disney World could actually move out of Florida and what would it take. An unfathomable question prior to 2023, this inquiry has become mainstream given the struggles the company has had with the State of Florida over the past year.
In this article, I will put all politics aside and do a bit of a deep dive into how monumental a task it would be to move Disney World to another state. I hope you find it helpful!
Please note, this site is in no way associated with with The Walt Disney Company or any of its partners or subsidiaries. This article is one independent observer’s opinion.
The Unthinkable Task: Relocating Walt Disney World Out of Florida
Walt Disney World has been a beacon of joy and wonder for millions of visitors since its inauguration in 1971. The sheer thought of relocating this colossal park out of Florida seems almost inconceivable. However, for the sake of argument, let’s explore the complexities and challenges that such a monumental task would present.
The Scale of Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World is not just a single theme park. It is a massive complex that spans over 25,000 acres, roughly the size of San Francisco. It comprises four theme parks – Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom – two water parks, and over 30 resort hotels. Additionally, it includes golf courses, a camping resort, and the Disney Springs shopping center.
Relocating such a vast complex would be an unprecedented endeavor. It would require a suitable plot of land that could accommodate the existing infrastructure and future expansions. The logistical challenges of such a move would be immense, from transporting the iconic Cinderella Castle to rehousing thousands of animals from the Animal Kingdom.
The infrastructure of Walt Disney World is a marvel in itself. The park has its own power plant, water treatment facilities, waste management systems, and transportation networks, including buses, monorails, and boats. It also boasts a network of underground tunnels for staff to move around without disrupting the guest experience.
Recreating this infrastructure elsewhere would be a colossal task. It would require careful planning and execution to ensure that the new location could support the same level of operations and provide the same magical experience that visitors have come to expect.
The cost of moving Walt Disney World would be astronomical. The original construction of the park cost about $400 million in 1971, which is equivalent to about $2.5 billion today, adjusting for inflation. However, this figure does not account for the numerous expansions and additions made over the years.
The cost of replicating all the existing infrastructure, attractions, and amenities in a new location would likely run into tens of billions of dollars. This figure would also need to account for the cost of acquiring suitable land, obtaining necessary permits, and dealing with potential legal challenges.
The original construction of Walt Disney World took about six years, from the announcement in 1965 to the opening in 1971. Given the much larger scale of the current park, moving it would likely take several decades. This would mean a significant period of downtime, during which the park would not be generating revenue.
The Legal and Environmental Challenges
Moving Walt Disney World would also involve navigating a labyrinth of legal and environmental regulations. The park would need to obtain numerous permits and approvals, and there would likely be significant opposition from environmental groups, especially if the new location involved undeveloped land.
The Impact on Florida’s Economy
Walt Disney World is a major driver of Florida’s economy, employing over 70,000 people and attracting millions of tourists each year. Its departure would have a significant economic impact on the state and the Orlando area in particular.
Walt Disney World is synonymous with Florida. The park’s branding is deeply tied to its location, and moving it would risk diluting this strong brand identity.
In conclusion, moving Walt Disney World out of Florida would be a Herculean task, fraught with financial, logistical, legal, and environmental challenges. It would likely take decades and cost tens of billions of dollars. Moreover, it would risk damaging the park’s strong brand identity and would have a significant economic impact on Florida. While it’s an interesting thought experiment, the reality is that Walt Disney World and Florida are inextricably linked, and it’s hard to imagine one without the other.