kevin-lively

Former Jungle Cruise Skipper Kevin Lively Leaving Walt Disney Imagineering After 14 Years Due to Lake Nona Relocation

Walt Disney Imagineer and former Jungle Cruise Skipper Kevin Lively has shared that he will be leaving the company after 14 years due to Imagineering being almost entirely relocated from California to Lake Nona, Florida.

Lively shared a thread on Twitter about his decision to leave alongside photos of his Disney memories. Below is a full transcript of his tweets (paragraph breaks added):

After 14 years at Disney I’m going to be hanging up my mouse ears. I never thought I’d be stepping away, but sometimes life throws you a curveball. In June we learned that Imagineering would be relocating to Florida. My wife and I looked long and hard at the possibility, but we just couldn’t make it work with family and finances here in California. I held out hope that something might change that, but about a month ago I received official word that my role would be locating. When someone puts an end date on something you love as much as I love what I do, it can feel like your world is crumbing in around you. I’ve been taking it really hard.

For that reason I’m going to be stepping away to focus on some pretty cool opportunities that can keep us in here in our home state. I’m speechless by the outpouring of love and support from friends, mentors, colleagues and leadership. They’ve made it abundantly clear that this door isn’t shutting and support my stepping away for a while. I’ve been spending the last month or so making sure all my projects are set up for success without me, and I can’t wait for you all to see what we’ve been cooking!

Disney has literally made my dreams come true. They sent me to Japan to represent the original Jungle Cruise. I got to write for and play an X-Wing pilot for Hyperspace Mountain. I’ve been blessed enough to vocal direct some amazing talent – people I grew up idolizing! I was on stage infront of some crazy awesome audiences to celebrate Jungle Cruise and Haunted Mansion with you all. I helped launch a major motion picture with the biggest star in the world. And I got to work with the Muppets! That’s just scratching the surface. But most importantly I’ve been able to follow in the footsteps of certified legends and was honored to carry on Walt’s legacy. I had a pretty good run. In the end, I’m still going to be Imagineering’s biggest fan. We have some of the world’s best creative talent that I had the pleasure to call my friends.

In closing, we’re in a pandemic. Please, whatever you do, in addition to taking care of your physical health, please be sure you’re taking care of your mental/emotional health.

Kungaloosh!

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Chris
Chris
14 days ago

Newsworthy…?

Tom Corless
Admin
14 days ago
Reply to  Chris

Yes, the Lake Nona move for Imagineering is very significant

Lady Bee
Lady Bee
13 days ago
Reply to  Chris

“Newsworthy?” Uhhhh…especially on a site that’s all things Disney, yeah I’d say so!

M Schindler
M Schindler
14 days ago

Kungaloosh to you as well fellow Adventurer! Happy trails. I relocated to FL to be a cast member here and was for 17 years…never dreamed I’d be “separated” due to a pandemic. Still living here 3 miles from WDW…not working nor playing there. Miss my home in San Diego…miss DL…I try not to think about it.

Earitch
Earitch
14 days ago

While I understand the move to Florida, for tax and regulatory purposes, Et al; I’m concerned with the loss of talent as well as the loss of WDI culture created here in California, where the original Disneyland was dreamt and realized. Already, some of the recent WDI output has been questionable. I don’t necessarily place this on WDI, as the non-creative upper management/leadership likely had a big hand (cough, Chapek, cough).

Joe Meck
Joe Meck
13 days ago
Reply to  Earitch

AGREED—-MECK

Goophy
Goophy
14 days ago

I like the idea of having talent near every park, so they themselves can hop in and see what’s going on. Disneyland will rarely see imagineers. I think that is very tragic, and the loss of some talent, as this article highlights, is in my opinion, very sad.

Zdog
Zdog
14 days ago

Take the opportunity and leave California for a much cheaper and better run state like Florida.

Luke
Luke
14 days ago

Is it me or does it seem that now with new leadership things just aren’t feeling the same? I mean, the happiest place on earth is now feeling more like a decades long love story coming to a tragic end revolved around money. I’ve been a huge Disney fan for as long as I can remember, have had a manual passport for ever as well, I also remember the times when there use to be tickets to get on rides. Now, wIth this move, and everything else going on, it just doesn’t feel the same. Tramless entry, rediculous like for… Read more »

BrianK
BrianK
14 days ago

Whenever Disney management makes decisions that lead well rounded talent to depart makes Disney a little less magical for the rest of us.

Ryan C
Ryan C
14 days ago

I’m sorry but I agree if this is news worthy. It’s a shame the the move is forcing people that love there jobs to have to make difficult decisions, but that happens in a lot of lines of work. To focus on one individual if the move itself is the story is a bit to short sighted. Personally I would rather see more detail on the move and reasons why and the fallout more of a footnote and support the negative of the move if it is the case. Seems like the article is backwards on importance of getting what… Read more »

Nicole
Nicole
13 days ago

Hope Disney is ready to see Universal out tank them when it comes to parks. How many imagineers are going to go to them all because Chapek is an idiot and never should have been allowed to sniff a position in authority.

Mike iachetta
Mike iachetta
13 days ago

It’s a great move. Staying 8n CA is a dead end for all companies.