An effort by Disney’s Parks, Experiences, and Products division to consolidate operations in a “business-friendly climate” could result in the transfer of up to 200 Seattle-based tech and administrative positions to Orlando, Fla.
The potential transfers were confirmed to GeekWire by a Disney representative, who said the total number of the Seattle jobs to be impacted won’t be determined until Nov. 1. The spokesperson declined to confirm the exact number of Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products jobs in Seattle.
However, a Disney employee from Seattle said managers warned them last week of the likely transfers and said the initiative could affect up to 200 local jobs in the parks, experiences, and products division. That’s believed to be approximately the number of positions the division has in the area.
“We were told by managers in Glendale (Calif.) that the main reason for the move is to take advantage of corporate tax breaks,” said the employee, who asked to remain anonymous. “And I’d guess they expect to see some attrition as a result of the move.”
In the Seattle area, the Walt Disney Company also has employees in its ESPN and Hulu divisions. Those groups are, in part, a legacy of Disney’s acquisition of the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s Starwave Corp. in the 1990s. There was no indication that any of these jobs figure into this plan.
Disney’s Parks, Experiences, and Products division was previously known as Disney Parks & Resorts. Most of the jobs in Seattle, the employee said, are in e-commerce, gaming, mobile apps, and Disney Vacations.
The potential shift parallels an announced transfer of 2,000 jobs from the Los Angeles area to a new Disney corporate campus in Nona Park, Fla. That move was confirmed last week in an email to employees from Josh D’Amaro, chairman for Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products.
“Expanding our already significant DPEP footprint in Florida makes sense,” D’Amaro wrote in the email. “In addition to Florida’s business-friendly climate, the new regional campus gives us the opportunity to consolidate our teams and be more collaborative and impactful from a creative and operational standpoint.”
Disney already has 60,000 employees in Central Florida, mostly in the greater Orlando area.
“Florida is known for its rich culture of hospitality and active lifestyle as well as a lower cost of living with no state income tax,” D’Amaro said in the employee letter.
Asked if a move to the Sunshine state was a personal possibility, the Seattle employee said, “Orlando? I don’t think so. I like it here. But I also like my job.”
The employee said the Seattle group found out at a staff meeting when someone asked if the Los Angeles announcement meant a similar consolidation for Seattle. “They said, ‘Yes, Washington will be affected.’ ”
The new Nona Park campus will be 20 miles east of Disney World, near Orlando International Airport.