Chief of Disney Parks Praises The “Hospitable Business Environment”…Of Central Florida

Bob Chapek, chairman of Parks, Experiences and Consumer Products for the Walt Disney Company, gave the keynote this year’s International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) expo in Orlando. While talking the company’s investments in new attractions around the world, he highlighted the pivotal role of the local business climate to those investment decisions:

Bob Chapek

“In fact, over the last several years, we’ve invested billions of dollars toward the development of attractions, transportation systems, hotels and more. And we’re only able to do that because Central Florida has been one of the most hospitable business environments in the country. At Disney we have many choices as to where we invest around the world, and it certainly makes these choices easier when your partners are like-minded. As a result of our relationship with the local government, we’ve been able to deploy capital in ways that not only enhance the visitor experience, but benefit the community through construction jobs, permanent positions, increased revenue through visitation and more.

In fact, last month’s announcement of an all-new major themed resort coming to Bay Lake, we now have four major hotel projects under construction here in Orlando.”

Disney is building projects in Orlando and cancelling them in Anaheim. Orlando provides a hospitable business environment, while Anaheim for the last two years has been governed by an adversarial majority continuously searching for opportunities to stick it to its largest employer and taxpayer.

Connection?

Providing a friendly business climate can be as simple as ensuring some stability and communicating, through word and deed, that investment is welcome. Unlike the Central Florida region, for the last few years, Anaheim has done neither.

The Tait-Moreno majority was intent purging those seen as “too loyal” to the old majority. The result was the creation of “Unstableheim” as the chaos spurred the departure of experienced staff. At one point this year, Anaheim had an Interim City Manager, an Acting Police Chief, an Acting City Attorney, an Acting City Clerk, an Acting Human Resources Director and an Interim Deputy Planning Director.

This has somewhat worked itself over the last few months with the hiring of a new City Manager, City Attorney and Police Chief. But the chaos and instability tarnished Anaheim’s reputation, which needs mending.

It’s on the rhetorical side is where the real damage has been done. The tone and posture of Tait-Moreno majority has been antagonistic toward Disney and Resort businesses – attacking multi-billion dollar investments that would create thousands of good jobs as being exploitative, poverty- generating schemes that exacerbate social ills. The core of the outgoing majority’s leadership, Tom Tait and Jose Moreno, were hostile to the Resort. They made statements like “Anaheim would be better off without the new Disney Hotel” and “Disney and the Resort pay poverty wage jobs that place a huge burden on City services.” The Mayor actively conspired with a group of small hoteliers on Harbor Blvd to throw roadblocks in the way of Disney’s shelved Eastern Gateway expansion. He viewed a technical modification of the location of Disney’s 4th Anaheim hotel as an opportunity to pounce, not a problem to collaboratively solve.

Looking for opportunities to break good-faith contracts and demonizing the the city’s principal job creators and tax payers is hardly a stance that tells the world, “Come invest in Anaheim!”

Is it any wonder Disney cancelled the Eastern Gateway and their 4th hotel?

Disney has said that they cancelled their economic incentive agreements because they had become a source of controversy in the City, and that they would not seek new ones regardless of the Council elections. With this on the table, and a new majority in charge which seeks to use investment in the Resort to pay dividends in the neighborhoods, maybe we’ll see Bob Chapek praising the hospitable business environment in Anaheim.

14 comments

  1. Can you believe how Tait and Moreno ruined our Anaheim?

  2. This is a disgrace. Tait and Moreno have ruining investment in Anaheim. They treat business terribly. Tait has zero legacy. His candidates were beat (with the exception of the self-righteous Moreno). He’s done. 8 years of hell. GOODBYE and don’t let your surfboard at your laguna beach house hit your butt on the way out. Let’s pray this remains a lesson and a message to Mayor-elect Sidhu…that he right the ship. Change the narrative….beg Disney and others to invest and allow our community to heal.

  3. Yes! Listen up, Anaheim!I know you all think Disney isn’t going anywhere and it is OK to treat them like crap..WAKE UP! They will and ARE investing elsewhere. You have a choice….encourage growth so taxes are low or you raise taxes! Which one will it be? How Tait and Moreno will explain the $100M LOSS TO ANAHEIM for the hotel is beyond me. SO GLAD TAIT IS GONE! This city needs to move forward. It’s been too many years of hell

  4. DING DONG TAIT IS DEAD! All hail Mayor Sidhu.

  5. What is the plan for the city to re-engage Disney and show them that they appreciate all they bring to the community. I am sick of tired of people trying to vilify Disney. They do a lot for our community- more than any company. Residents need to be grateful, not entitled. Disney- I hope you know that Anaheim (Tait) messed up and we are ready with open arms to welcome your development back.

  6. Disney- come back to Anaheim. We need your money here!

  7. David Michael Klawe

    How DUMB of Tait/Moreno to block the Eastern Gateway project. It was designed to get Disneyland Guests cars off our city streets, and Pedestrians and Shuttles/Buses off of Harbor, benefitting the Locals that commute in the area.

    All it consisted of was a Parking Garage, 100% paid for by Disney, a new Bus/Shuttle drop off area, a new Security Check, and a Pedestrian Bridge over Harbor, once again, 100% paid for by Disney.

    It would have taken advantage of road infrastructure built in the 1990’s to handle cars to/from the freeway in a very efficient manner.

    I truly hope the new council will partner with the Walt Disney Company to do what is best for the city, and for Disney. There are ways to create win-win projects with give and take from both sides.

    The city staff worked on the original Eastern Gateway project to get things the city wanted (basically better traffic flow), but as we know, the Mayor stopped it, and that just showed how vindictive Mayor Tait was.

  8. Rumor has it Tait can’t let go and is going to run for the Supervisors seat. We got a poll all about him tonight. Geez this guy won’t go away! God help us if we get 8 more years of his idiocy on the Board of County Supervisors!

  9. Is it okay to give extra credit to students for campaigning? How about using school resources to host a candidate in order to campaign to students parents on school property during the school day?

    Also who oversees the spending of the school board and the schools?

    This control of the schools and District 3 does not feel right as schools are failing and D3 is a mess.

    Hopefully Harry Sidhu will bring change in with him.

  10. Wait till your new governor imposed his draconian property taxes on businesses., that should be fun for California.

  11. The Shills Are Hard At Work

    All these “people” hailing the new mayor/council and begging Disney back with open arms come off as fakes paid for by Disney as does this sophomoric article trying to create urgency and spread fear so that the new Mayor/Council can more easily facilitate a favorable deal for Disney aka rob the taxpayers AGAIN. Like with that Mickey and Friends Parking Structure… paid for with tax dollars and yet Disney pockets all the money. Disney isn’t going anywhere, they have to continue their projects in the city and the city wants them here but they need to be FAIR. Not everyone in this town is brainwashed and believing your nonsense. We want REAL investment in our neighborhoods and help for our homeless! Go fix your bedbug problem before you go trying to rob the taxpayers for another hotel Mickey.

  12. No Shills here. The new majority understands you do not negotiate this way. Publicly calling out are largest employer, trying to shame them into acting the way you want is not favorable it creates a hostile business environment. No one is forcing anyone to work at Disney. If they are not paying a required wage then go get a job elsewhere.

    What is should be discussed is the state of our schools. Our tax dollars being used to support failing schools that do not properly prepare our youth and produce failing scores.

    • I believe you and agree but let's avoid naivety

      You speak for yourself of course and not any of the other commenters who may or may not also be actual concerned citizens. My biggest concern is that this “new majority” is just going to bend the taxpayers over backwards again like in the past. I voted NO on L because I agree that there are ways to voice this concern but unfair legislation attempting to Target Disney isn’t one of them so I agree with your point about workers and only want to perceive FAIRNESS in Disney’s dealings with our city. At the moment I personally don’t see any other way to bring attention to Disney’s unfair deals with the city and am open to any suggestions you may have. It is clear to me that simply waiting until the next election won’t be enough.

      You know it’s funny and quite ironic that the best elementary school in District 2 is Walt Disney Elementary. It also happens to be the most dilapidated and underfunded. I agree there are better options for our children and if I could put my kids in private school I would so again, suggestions are welcome.

  13. If people were ready to vote YES on measures K and J, then voting YES on L was the right thing to do. This mega corporations using taxpayers money to subsidize their projects should pay an above minimum wage to their hard working employees. I’m a long time Anaheim resident and the rent has gone through the roof, but the living standard has not.

    Measure L makes sure that those subsidized by the city are also fair to those who they employ.

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