Ron DeSantis' next move is to tit-fortat Disney.
Florida's governor initially failed in his attempts to control Disney Special District by appointing new board members due to an agreement that was signed by the previous board. This multi-decade agreement left the new committee virtually powerless. DeSantis announced on Monday that he is trying to find a solution to the agreement. The Republican-controlled state legislature announced on April 17 that it would push a law to allow DeSantis' board to assert greater control over Disney's district.
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DeSantis has been considering a variety of options to retaliate against the company. The governor was first scolded by the company for opposing the "Don't Say Gay" bill. DeSantis' latest attack included the possibility of building a state-run park, an amusement park rival to the one owned by the central Florida theme park company, or even a brand new prison. He smirked, "The possibilities are infinite."
Brandon Wolf, a political activist with the group Equality Florida said that this suggestion was "a truly unhinged ego display."
Tomorrow (Apr. The Orlando Business Journal reported last week that the resolution aims to establish "superior control and authority" over land planning, zoning, and other land uses in Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista, which are the two cities surrounding Walt Disney's theme parks. The publication consulted experts who doubted that the resolution will suffice to replace the previous agreement.
Before DeSantis stripped Disney's self-governing status, and replaced it with his choice of board members, the former Reedy Creek Improvement District signed a secret development agreement giving the company the maximum power to develop the 27,000 acres in central Florida that the theme park resort occupies. Disney can build at the highest density, and then sell or assign these development rights to district landowners. This is without the approval of the board.
The agreement also prevents DeSantis board from using Disney’s name, any symbols or images associated with the park and Disney without permission. The company reserves its right to sue for damages if violations occur.
The agreement contained a "royal provision" which made it effective in perpetuity. The new board had to deal with only basic road and infrastructure maintenance.
Stop a carveout which exempted Disney from state inspections of its rides in theme parks. Richard Foglesong is a Rollins College Professor and the author of Married to the Mouse Walt Disney World and Orlando. The book dives deep into Disney's governance. He said that the inspections of rides at Disney went beyond county fairs. "You need inspectors who have the expertise that I believe Disney has."
Monorails should be inspected by state inspectors. It targets Disney and special districts.
Demand the sale of the district’s utility to help pay off the $1 billion in debts.
Disney should never implement a mask requirement in Disney World again, like it did when the pandemic began.
My district is still under water. My constituents want to meet their Governor. Floridians desperately need relief. You can wear your white boot !"--Apr. Hillary Cassel (Florida House Representative) tweeted on 17 April that DeSantis still hasn't visited Ft. Lauderdale following massive flooding. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is the acronym for this agency.
Disney and DeSantis got into a fight over divergent views on LGBTQ+. The company has continued to find new ways to attract LGBTQ+ guests despite the dispute. Disney will host its first After Dark: Pride Nite in June at its Disneyland Resort, California.
1967: Florida’s legislature created the Reedy Creek Improvement District. This private government, controlled by Disney World can run its own fire and police departments and its water and sewer systems, among other functions.
Florida adopts the controversial "Don't Say Gay", or Parental Rights in Education Act, in March 2022. This bill prohibits discussions about gender identity and sexuality in the classroom from kindergarten to third grade. Disney's former CEO Bob Chapek finally speaks out against the bill.
April 2022: Florida passes legislation to dissolve Disney’s special tax district before June 1, 2023. DeSantis does not sign the bill into law, because it would burden local government with debts upwards of $1 Billion.
DeSantis signs into law the infamous "Don't Say Gay Bill" in July 2022.
On February 8, 2023, the outgoing Disney-controlled Board signs the agreement that allows it to retain the majority of its powers for the near future. Florida House votes for the governor to be in charge of Disney’s special district.
DeSantis signss legislation ending Walt Disney World's authority over its special tax districts on February 27, 2023. He replaces Disney's allies on the board with five Republicans that he personally selects.
March 8, 2023 - The first meeting of the new board.
DeSantis proposes that the "Don't Say Gay Bill" be expanded to all grades. Voting is set for the next month.
29 2023: After realizing that Disney had quietly retained control over most development processes, the new board, now called Orange County Tourism Oversight District seeks legal representation. Disney claims that all of its dealings are legal and public.
DeSantis requests that Melina Miguel, Florida's Chief Inspecting General, begin a "thorough investigation and review" of the agreement on April 3, 2023. Bob Iger, Disney's CEO, told shareholders at the Disney annual shareholder meeting that "any action taken to undermine those efforts in retaliation for a position Disney took does not sound just anti-business but anti-Florida."
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