Fact Check

Is Disney World Moving to Georgia?

A fictional story claimed the theme park was relocating from Orlando, Florida, to Atlanta, with an opening date of August 2023.

Published April 25, 2023

 (Getty Images)
Image courtesy of Getty Images
Claim:
In April 2023, the Walt Disney Company announced its theme parks in Orlando, Florida, would be relocating to Atlanta.

On April 8, 2023, a story published on Medium claiming that the Walt Disney Company had announced plans to move its theme parks in Orlando, Florida, to Atlanta, Georgia. The claim spread amid Florida Gov. Ron Desantis' public feud with Disney, fueling speculation about the massive tourist attraction's future in the state.

The Medium post began:

Disney World Leaves Florida For Georgia

In a stunning move, the Walt Disney Company has announced that it will be relocating Disney World from Orlando, Florida to a new 1000-acre parcel of land outside Atlanta, Georgia. The groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for August 2023.

While some Disney fans are excited about the change, others are expressing concern over the move. Many are speculating that the decision was made in reaction to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis' recent frustration with Disney's policies, particularly its mask mandates and vaccine requirements. However, Disney executives have declined to comment on these rumors.

The new park in Atlanta will reportedly feature many of the same beloved attractions and characters as the current Disney World, but with a few new additions tailored to the Atlanta area. For example, visitors can look forward to a new "Gone with the Wind" ride, a "Coca-Cola World" exhibit, and an "Atlanta Braves" baseball experience.

We found the story attached to posts on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook.

The story was a work of fiction. There was no announcement by Disney to relocate its theme parks to Georgia.

A "parody" tag was attached to the bottom of the Medium post, an indication that its author intended its contents to be read as such. In addition, no reputable news publications reported about the alleged announcement. If Disney World theme parks were really moving out of Florida to another state, that move would be widely reported and analyzed.

The post claimed to be written by Matt R. Allen, a screenwriter who co-wrote the 2008 movie "Four Christmases." We reached out to his management to learn more about the Medium post, and we will update this fact check if we hear back.

It was true that high-profile people outside of Florida expressed interest in Disney World changing states. In April, North Carolina state Sen. Michael Garrett, a Democrat, introduced "Mickey's Freedom Restoration Act," a bill that would set aside $750,000 to create an 11-member commission to examine whether it would be worthwhile to "encourage family amusement parks" to expand in North Carolina with incentives, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

For background, here is why we sometimes write about satire/humor.

Sources

"Disney World Leaves Florida For Georgia." Medium. 25 Apr. 2023, http://web.archive.org/web/20230425131233/https://medium.com/@matt.ryanallen/disney-world-leaves-florida-for-georgia-859df0213cba.

Ibrahim, Nur. "Did Fla. Gov. Ron DeSantis Get Married at Disney World?" Snopes, 18 Apr. 2023, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/ron-desantis-married-disney-world/.

Senate Bill 594 (2023-2024 Session) - North Carolina General Assembly. https://www.ncleg.gov/BillLookUp/2023/S594. Accessed 25 Apr. 2023.

Izz Scott LaMagdeleine is a fact-checker for Snopes.

Article Tags