DeSantis Takes Aim at Disney

DeSantis Takes Aim at Disney

( – Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis continues to exert state authority over the Disney corporation in an attempt to wrest away the theme park’s self-governance privileges.

Earlier this year, he signed a bill taking away self-governance from the Reedy Creek Improvement District, the land area over which Walt Disney World had political and jurisdictional control as if it were a city government. DeSantis also said the statehouse will invalidate a land development deal Disney made that he says is an attempt by Disney to take back control of the land from the state.

The popular governor said, “Disney’s corporate kingdom is over,” and claims their “repeated and futile attempts” to bypass the legislature’s control won’t work. Of the development deal, DeSantis stated it was “designed to usurp the authority” of the state.

DeSantis appointed the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District Board to replace the Reedy Creek board previously controlled by Disney. But Disney’s development deal happened right before the legislation gave back control to the state. This deal gave Disney legal control over the land.

DeSantis announced these moves at a press conference at the Reedy Creek Administration building. Among the reforms that Disney will not like is an end to the company’s ability to “self-inspect” their amusement rides and give Florida the power to inspect any attraction if a guest is seriously injured.

Disney is not “superior to the laws that are enacted” by the state, DeSantis said, and efforts to get around state control with development deals will not succeed.

The governor listed a number of possibilities for the changes in how Disney and the land it sits on will be governed. These included more rigid building safety inspections, higher pay for emergency responders, and an end to what he called “medical authoritarian policies,” such as forcing park guests to wear facial masks. He even suggested building a new prison on the land.

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