ORLANDO, Fla. — Central Florida might need to make room for what could be Disney's expanding footprint.
Fox Business reports the theme park giant may be considering a move of some of its operations from California to Florida as the state that currently holds its headquarters is still seeing strict COVID-19 restrictions.
Disneyland shut its gates in March when the coronavirus pandemic began and has yet to reopen. In the aftermath, the park in Anaheim, California has begun issuing pro-rated refunds to annual passholders while it awaits a reopening date.
The theme park's inability to operate is something Disney CEO, Bob Chapek took a jab at during a late 2020 earnings call.
"Unfortunately we are extremely disappointed that the state of California continues to keep Disneyland closed despite our proven track record. Our health and safety protocols are all science-based and have the support of labor unions representing 99% of our hourly cast members," he said at the time.
Chapek added that he and other civic leaders think state leadership should look objectively at the matter as opposed to "setting an arbitrary standard."
The national outlet adds that, at this time, there are no concrete plans for moving operations clear across the country but says Disney did not dismiss the idea in its entirety.
"As the largest employer in central Florida, we are always exploring opportunities for additional locations within the vicinity of our theme park but there is nothing concrete," the company said in a statement to FOX Business.
It's the same statement the Orlando Business Journal reports was released to its staff. The OBJ adds that operations from out west would be headed for Lake Nova if talks become a reality.
Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis welcomes the idea of the state housing more of Disney's operations and told Fox & Friends earlier this week that he isn't surprised by the rumblings.
"Look, Florida is for winners. Bob Chapek will do the exact same Tom Brady did and move to the state of Florida," Patronis said.
He also used the opportunity to take a shot a California Gov. Gavin Newsome, saying companies have been fleeing his state since he took office.
"Disney already has a proven track record here. We'd just like to allow them to grow and expand their business," Patronis added.
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