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Disney employees start the process of moving from California to Florida

The theme park giant announced it was picking up and moving 2,000 employees across the country in July.
Credit: Walt Disney World

ORLANDO, Fla. — It appears some of the 2,000 employees the Walt Disney Company is moving from California to Lake Nona are eyeing up the housing market.

Two real estate agents in Central Florida told WKMG-TV they've sold homes to Disney execs who are Sunshine State bound to help get the new campus off the ground.

"They are already trickling in," Deanna Armel, who owns Armel Real Estate, told the outlet. She says her company has placed at least one executive at a local golf and country club.

Sean Faulk with Forever Magic Realty, on the other hand, told WKMG his company is working to place anywhere from 20 to 30 employees who are being relocated to Lake Nona.

"A great deal of Disney employees are contacting me to make the move," Faulk said. "Even as crazy as the housing market is, it is still a lot less expensive than their housing market in California."

According to the Orlando Regional Realtor Association, inventory in Central Florida has dropped by 2,183 homes compared to this time last year. That's a 38.6 percent decline.

The Walt Disney Company first announced it was picking up and moving 2,000 employees across the country from California to Lake Nona in July.

In a letter to cast members, Imagineers and employees, Disney Parks Experiences and Products Chairman Josh D'Amaro said the project has been in various stages of planning since 2019.

"This new project will create a dynamic environment to support our expanding business -- a brand-new regional campus which will be built in the vibrant Lake Nona community of Orlando, Florida," he added.

D'Amaro also said expanding Disney's footprint in Florida "makes sense" given the climate, collaborative efforts, and lack of state income tax.

Documents obtained by 10 Tampa Bay from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity show, over a 20-year period, Disney could also get a tax credit of $578 million from the state for the project.

Most employees making the move will be Southern Californa-based DPEP professional roles, corporate roles and other select "enterprise functions," according to the chairman.

The entire relocation process is slated to occur during an 18-month window to allow employees to prepare for a big change to both their life and their family's lives.