Some Disney executives are already making the move to Florida from California

2,000 employees will be looking for housing

LAKE NONA, Fla. – Walt Disney World announced in July its plans to relocate 2,000 of its employees from California to Lake Nona and two realtors in Central Florida say some Disney employees are already moving to the Sunshine State.

In a letter to employees, Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, said the move would allow creative and business teams to be better integrated. The company already has a theme park resort, Walt Disney World, that is the size of the city of San Francisco, located outside Orlando, Florida.

The new Disney campus will be located in Lake Nona about 20 miles to the east of Disney World.

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Deanna Armel is the owner and broker of Armel Real Estate and much of her business is in Lake Nona. Armel said her team has already sold at least one home to a Disney executive at the Lake Nona Golf and Country Club.

“They are already trickling in,” Armel said. “I’m working with a Disney relocation right now buying in the Winter Garden area.”

Armel said 2,000 employees and their families will be looking for housing in Central Florida. Amel said this will be tough as the inventory of available houses for sale is at historic lows in Central Florida.

“It’s not just 2,000 employees, it’s 2,000 employees, their families and extended families,” she said. “I also kind of panicked and was like, ‘Gosh, we don’t have enough inventory as it is,’ more buyers coming in is going to make it more difficult to win bids for these buyers and we’re trying to help.”

According to the latest housing report by the Orlando Regional Realtor’s Association, inventory of available housing in September dropped 39% from last year.

“Orlando area inventory has fallen from 5,972 homes in September 2020 to 3,789 homes in September 2021,” the report read.

The housing report shows the median price of a home in the market is also $318,000. The median price of a home in California is $951,000, according to Zillow.

“It’s cash, it’s all cash,” Armel said.

Sean Faulk is a real estate agent with Forever Magic Realty is working with about 20-30 Disney employees ready to relocate from California.

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

Faulk said Central Florida is a hot seller’s market.

“It does change the scale of things. There are a lot of people from California, even if they don’t pay it off, there is so much equity in their home that they can pay cash for a house here. So, it makes our market even more competitive and drives prices up.” '


About the Author:

Nadeen Yanes joined News 6 as a general assignment reporter in 2016. She grew up in Leesburg and graduated from the University of Florida. Nadeen has won three Associated Press Awards for her reporting on the Pulse Nightclub shooting, the trial of the Pulse gunman's wife and the capture of an accused cop killer, Markeith Loyd.