DeSantis’ Board says Disney stripped its power. Check out the details and see what you think of this bold action.
DeSantis vs Disney Conflict
The past several months has been turbulent between the state of Florida and The Walt Disney Company. Florida passed the Parental Rights in Education Law in 2022. 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.
The company has even gone so far to say that they would actively work to get the bill repealed. This caused DeSantis to retaliate in his own public speakings.
Reedy Creek Act Repealed
The tension between the company and the state continued worsen as state Republicans repealed the Reedy Creek Improvement Act of 1967.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. The law passed recently.
You can read Jeff Vahle’s, the President of Disney World, statement HERE. Then, on February 27, DeSantis shared how this takeover is in response to Disney opposing the Parental Rights in Education bill. He emphasized there’s “a new sheriff in town.” You can read all about his shocking responses HERE.
The bill repealing the Reedy Creek Improvement district allows a transitional period of no longer than 2 years from the date of this act. The district may continue doing business as usual to provide sufficient time for these changes. However, the Reedy Creek Improvement District will be officially dissolved on June 1, 2023.
The Reedy Creek Improvement District will be officially dissolved on June 1, 2023.
Another significant detail is that the governor will appoint all 5 board members serving this district once the current board members terms expire. The bill also states that “members may not serve more than 3 consecutive terms.
On a February 8, 2023 meeting, the current Reedy Creek Improvement Council passed a “King Charles Clause.” This clause severely limited the new board’s power until 21 years after the last currently living descendant of King Charles III passes away.
In addition, the current RCID board passed a declaration stating that the Disney will control property within 10 miles of the RCID properties.
The new district is also prohibited from using any Disney name, copyright, symbol, or intellectual property owned or created by Disney. Finally, this declaration states that Disney is the only beneficiary to this district.
All agreements signed between Disney and the District were appropriate, and were discussed and approved in open, noticed public forums in compliance with Florida’s government and the Sunshine law.-Disney
The New Board’s Reaction
As you can imagine, this did not sit well with the new board set to control the Central Florida Tourism Oversight Committee (replacing the Reedy Creek Improvement District). These board members said that the Disney controlled predecessors pulled a fast one on them by passing these very restrictive covenants.
We’re going to have to deal with it and correct it. It’s a subversion of the will of the voters and the legislature and the governor. It completely circumvents the authority of this board to govern.Brian Aungst, new Board member
Who do you think will win this battle? Do you think this will be tied up in the courts or will they reach an agreement? Please share your thoughts in the comments below and share this post with a friend.
Disney does not have as much movement as you might think … what are they going to do … move WDW , I do not think so. They are running their business like a monopoly. Disney is no longer affordable for working class families and is catering to the wrong crowd , they need to think long and hard for Walt’s vision of Disney is , was and should be or their market share will shrink. People want to escape and be entertained , not preached to.
What ever happened to the “Wonderful World Of Disney”?
Walt would be so disappointed!
Disney outsmarted the haters (for now). De Santis played politics to help his expected presidential run, had no problem hurting Florida’s economy to do it, and thought Disney had no choice. Disney tried to work quietly behind the scenes to settle this, but De Santis insisted on keeping things ugly and public. He forced Disney to do this. Disney is still holding back. He may want to think twice before picking another fight. I’d hate to see what happens when Disney stops holding back.
I have found DeSantis to be a vindictive bully in his governing style and as with all bullies he is cruel and weak and fell for the quick cave by Disney. He then, acting in bad faith, chose to appoint a bunch of nutty and unqualified political backers to the board and the board made it clear that they intended to act in bad faith.
In my opinion, Disney had every right to protect itself and its employees, guests and shareholders by minimizing the damage the board could cause. One of their first actions, they said, would be to ban all Disney imposed Covid protocols…not sure if they even have any anymore but that is far beyond the powers of the board would have so what would they threaten Disney with to try to gain compliance….a ban on all new rides? Another member of the Board stated she intended to use her position to influence Disney content. That is the worst kind of bad faith..Disney content is not her nor the board’s business. What was she going to do? Extort Disney into making movies and casting characters of her liking and if they didn’t the board would allow Universal and Sea World (who both are ‘woke’ but they wouldn’t care if it punished Disney) to put up billboards all over the Reedy Creek property. Neither the governor nor the board have clean hands so calling Disney’s action bad faith is duplicitous.
Except every business has to comply with building codes and regulations. Disney has been exempt for decades, but it’s now over. And trust me, they will lose in court.
If Disney stuck to the core values that Walt believed in , the company wouldn’t have to be reigned in. Not one company should have enough power to do what they want when they want. My wife and I were married at WDW 27 years ago and when we returned to celebrate our 25th anniversary our first since our 15th , WDW wasn’t recognizable. This was not the place we were married and the place to enjoy with family. It has been turned into a money making machine , that is not what Walt intended for “The Most Magical Place On Earth”.
Disney should stick to entertainment and vacation destinations and not weigh in to personal beliefs and opinions – those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.
I feel bad for the Disney Reedy Creek firefighters and first responders. They were THRILLED that FL was taking over and they would FINALLY get the equipment and money they so desperately needed.
Originally Disney was FOR the Parental Rights in Education bill and even donated to the sponsors of the bill. Disney then bowed to the woke California Disneyland workers who opposed the Parental Rights bill, causing this whole fiasco.
Slick move by Disney. Government shouldn’t dictate how private enterprise manages it’s business much like private enterprise shouldn’t dictate how government functions. Central Florida wouldn’t be what it is today without Disney. Their economic impact has been immeasurable over the years. As a resident of Orange County for over 20 years I’m happy the new board was neutered. Let’s hope cooler heads prevail in the years to come.
I knew Disney would not let that tyrant that runs the state win !