As relationships continue to sour between The Walt Disney Company and Florida’s State Government, Disney CEO Bob Iger has mentioned that he would be “glad” to have an opportunity to speak with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. But considering Iger’s latest track record with State governors, how successful could that conversation be?
It was Fall 2020. As businesses across America struggled to reopen, news broke that Disney CEO Bob Iger quit the special reopening task force set up by California Governor Gavin Newsom. While it is unclear exactly why Iger decided to leave the leadership team, it is easy to speculate that a suitable arrangement between Disney and State officials could not be met.
The same day of Iger’s departure, the California Attractions and Parks Association released a statement, saying, “We ask the Governor not to finalize guidance for amusement parks before engaging the industry in a more earnest manner, listening to park operators’ expertise, and collaborating with the industry on a plan that will allow for amusement parks to reopen responsibly while still keeping the health and safety of park employees and guests a top priority.”
By that time, the entire Sunshine State had been open for months, including the Theme Parks and Resort Hotels of The Walt Disney World Resort, thanks to Gov. DeSantis’ pro-business and anti-lockdown policies.
Now it is Spring 2023, and things have changed. Instead of the state of operations at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, worry turns to Central Florida and the Reedy Creek Improvement District (now dubbed the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District). While DeSantis may stand on the opposite side of the political spectrum as his California peer, he and both chambers of the Florida Legislature stand against Disney’s free reign, taking a stance that Iger has described as “Anti-Business” and “Anti-Florida.”
Regardless of each leader’s reasoning for the crackdowns, Iger finds himself once again in the predicament of having to negotiate Disney Resort operations out of unique forms of restrictive government oversight with a very headstrong politician backed by a strongly one-sided legislature and not noticeably willing to give concessions. One of the major differences now, though, is that Florida lawmakers instilled a new board of district supervisors that needs to be dealt with as well.
He failed once. Newsom had his way, and Disneyland remained forcibly shuttered until April 30, 2021. Will he fail again in Florida? Or will respectful conversation and billions of investment dollars win out, bringing an end to culture war advancements on both sides and convincing Florida’s governor that the business partnership that has lasted over 50 years can continue to flourish? Only time will tell.
It should be noted that this is strictly a matter of speculation, and there is no meeting currently arranged between Iger and DeSantis at this time. We at Disney Fanatic will continue to update our readers on this story as more developments come to light.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s and may not reflect the sentiments of Disney Fanatic as a whole.