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DeSantis Says He’ll “Win On Every Single Issue” Involving Disney

Florida governor and potential 2024 Presidential candidate, Ron DeSantis, has been at war with Disney for well over a year now. Still an ongoing issue, DeSantis vows that he will not lose this battle with Walt Disney World. 

In March of 2022, DeSantis passed a “don’t say gay” law banning teaching sexual orientation and gender identity in the classroom. This highly controversial move by DeSantis made more than just LGBTQ activists angry. President Joe Biden even spoke publicly about this law, claiming it to be “hateful.” 

Disney’s former chief executive Bob Chapek spoke out about the company’s feelings towards this new law. Being such a staple landmark for Florida, Disney World employees were very frustrated with this law being put into place in their state. Chapek called DeSantis and expressed his disapproval. He also vowed to suspend all political donations in Florida.

This reaction from the staff at Walt Disney World prompted DeSantis and other Florida republicans to attempt to revoke privileges the theme park has had for decades. Conducting a special legislative session and inviting the republican controlled legislature, DeSantis was determined to get rid of Disney’s self governing district. 

When construction began on the park in 1867, the Reedy Creek Independent District was created. This special tax district sitting on two different counties in Florida granted Disney the right to have its own administrative body allowing the park to make the decisions a local government would, like approving zoning for the construction of new attractions. The idea was that instead of relying on its neighbors to provide essential services to Disney World, tax revenue generated in the district stayed there and funded a fire department, emergency medical response, wastewater management and road maintenance. 

Amid the beginning of the showdown between DeSantis and Disney, the governor signed off on eliminating the special district last April. In this attempt to dissolve Reedy Creek, the district was set to be revoked on June 1, 2023. Further legislation was passed and signed by DeSantis this past February, bringing Reedy Creek under the state’s control. It has been renamed the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District. The government appointed five board of supervisors to manage Walt’s Disney World’s municipal affairs.

DeSantis also said that his team will be looking at other actions to take against Disney, such as taxes on Disney World hotels, tolls on roads leading to the theme park and developing district property near the company’s resorts.  

As this legal fight between DeSantis and Disney seems far from over, both sides are continuing to fight for what they believe is right. DeSantis is not backing down though by any means and he is pushing harder and harder to win this battle.


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