Recent controversy surrounding a Florida bill is causing issues between The Walt Disney Company and the state. Here is what you need to know about it and how it may affect your future travel plans.
Before we dig in, I (Monica) want to be very clear that this post will only be looking at the facts of the situation and no commentary/opinions will be provided. Likewise, any comments on this post or on social media that are inappropriate will be removed.
Florida recently passed House Bill 1557 into law, which is also called the Parental Rights in Education. According to flgov.com, “the bill prohibits classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through 3rd grade and prohibits instruction that is not age appropriate for students and requires school districts to adopt procedures for notifying parents if there is a change in services from the school regarding a child’s mental, emotional or physical health or well-being.”
The Walt Disney Company originally remained quiet surrounding this bill despite pleas from employees and fans for them to take an official stance. Tension built until CEO Bob Chapek denounced the bill, but many believed it was too little, too late.
He went on to say that the company would be pulling back resources from all political donations. In addition, he stated in a shareholder meeting that he and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis were in talks. DeSantis denied any talks occurred.
The company has even gone so far to say that they would actively work to get the bill repealed, which caused DeSantis to retaliate in his own public speakings.
Repeal of the Reedy Creek Improvement Act
The tension between the company and the state continue to get worse as state Republicans look to repeal the Reedy Creek Improvement Act of 1967. Essentially, the law states that Disney is its own governing body in the two cities and land within Orange and Osceola counties.
They can make their own laws, zone their own land, and essentially do whatever they want within those limits. By stripping the company of those abilities, Disney would be regulated by Orange County.
What does this mean for the future?
The legislative season is on break until next year unless a special session is called to address the possible repeal.
If the state “wins” this battle and takes away all of Disney’s self governing rights in Florida that would be catastrophic for the company and may even lead to the end of Bob Chapek as CEO. Diehard fans and followers of Disney know Chapek has a bad reputation.
It could mean a restructuring of the company and many protocols currently in place. These could trickle down and affect your stay at Disney resorts and parks. We would probably see an increase in pricing across the board (more than we have seen in the last two years if you can believe it). Projects may be put on hold and locals would have to take on Disney’s tax burden.
If the act does not get repealed, it seems the relationship between the state and Disney is still tarnished. If Disney bends to the state, that does not look good for the company or the CEO. It will be interesting to see what happens in the future.
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