The Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World on September 30, 2022 in Orlando, Florida. InternationalIndiaAfricaFlorida Governor Ron DeSantis and Walt Disney World have been fighting tooth and nail for control over the entertainment company’s theme park in Florida, with the Republican signing a Bill in February 2023 to end the self-governing status of the resort. However, Disney seized upon a legal loophole to sabotage the move.Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has been toying with the idea of building a prison or a rival amusement resort in close proximity to Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom Park in the state, as sparks continue to fly in the feud between him and the entertainment giant.
“If you look at this whole special district, Walt Disney Corporation obviously owns a lot of it, but the district owns other land. Now people are like, 'what should we do with this land?' People have said, 'maybe create a state park, maybe try to do more amusement parks'. Someone even said 'maybe you need another state prison'. Who knows?” DeSantis said at a press conference on 17 April.
The Governor assured the media that the GOP-controlled state legislature will press ahead to “formally nullify” Disney’s attempts to dodge having its self-governing district in the state lose its autonomy. According to DeSantis, irrespective of Disney’s legal wrangling and last-ditch maneuvering, lawmakers will advance a Bill to “make sure that people understand that you don’t get to put your own company over the will of the people of Florida”.Regarding the land right next to Disney’s theme park, he added that the newly constituted board could be vested with the power to settle on how it might further be developed.
"I just think that the possibilities are endless. So that is now going to be analyzed to see what would make the most sense. And that wasn’t necessarily even on the radar.”
DeSantis has previously warned that a tax hike on Walt Disney World might also be used as a measure of retaliation over the company’s continuing attempts to thwart the state’s takeover of its Reedy Creek Improvement special taxing district. Other measures in the pipeline could include handing over authority for the inspection of Disney theme park rides and transportation issues to the state of Florida.AmericasRon DeSantis Promises ‘Round Two of Fireworks’ in Feud With DisneyYesterday, 19:05 GMTThe Republican Governor and Disney have been at odds since DeSantis signed the ‘Parents Rights in Education’ Bill in March 2022. The legislation, branded ‘Don’t Say Gay’ by its opponents, effectively bans all discussion of sexual identity in grades pre-K to the third grade (toddlers to eight-year-old children). However, the corporation openly disapproved of the Bill. DeSantis, along with other Republicans, slammed Disney as a purveyor of woke ideology.In February 2023, DeSantis signed a Bill that allowed him to appoint the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, a board consisting of five members that would oversee the government services provided on the Disney district’s properties in the state. However, the outgoing Disney-controlled Reedy Creek Improvement District board attempted to sabotage the move by transferring the developmental power it held in the Reedy Creek tax district (where Disney World is located) to the Disney Corporation.
"This essentially makes Disney the governor, this board loses tactical purposes, that includes the majority of its ability to do anything," Ron Peri, a newly appointed member of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, was cited as saying at the time.
DeSantis denounced the agreement as “defective,” and said that the new board overseeing Disney’s taxing district would meet to “make sure Disney is held accountable”. Purportedly on the agenda was mulling staff culls and assuming control of overseeing the district’s development.AmericasRon DeSantis Promises ‘Round Two of Fireworks’ in Feud With DisneyYesterday, 19:05 GMT