I might be a die-hard Disney Fanatic and allow myself to be so deeply invested in this Company that I dedicate the majority of my professional and personal time to covering it. But, as a Floridian and someone who is friend and family to scores of Floridians beyond just the reach of Kissimmee and the Orlando Metro Area, I and may others are in complete support of Governor DeSantis and the elected members of the State Congress’ decision to end The Walt Disney Company’s free reign over its Central Florida sanctuary.
Don’t get me wrong, the fact that Walt Disney was a man who came from nothing in the Midwest and went on to not only create the greatest animation studio the world has ever known but also establish the Theme Park blueprint as we know it today, and manifest everything about the patch of earth that would hold the Walt Disney World Resort is one of the core reasons I hold him and his company in such high regard.
While most of my peers in this industry–and it IS an industry at this point–talk about hidden mickeys and other details “on stage” and fall in love with Disney for its stories and romantic messages, I have always been inspired by the business end first, especially with “Project X” or “The Florida Project” and the fact Walt could make it happen!
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I belive that anyone who admries a good old fashioned American success story should respect and admire how Walt and his brother Roy were able to create the “Theme Park Vatican City” in the Sunshine State. There was so much promise.
But it is not Walt’s company anymore, and the State of Florida is taking care of it in a way that could set a precedent for corporate landowning across the country.
Now, for all of you reading this who are not living in Florida, let alone lifelong residents like myself, here are a few things to keep in mind about this issue.
Florida Residents Want This Legislation
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Despite what the Twittersphere would have everybody believe, this legislation is not Governor Ron DeSantis’ personal vendetta against The Walt Disney Company. The district’s reorganization bill that was filed in the House of Representatives was debated and voted on by arguably the most democratically unified State Government in the entire United States of America at this point.
If the last round of elections proved anything, it is that the majority of Floridians across the State and across demographics have made it clear that we want to essentially become the anti-California, and we want to put that outside “woke” influence in check. As long as The Walt Disney Company rightfully retains the obligation to pay off the nearly $1 billion bond debt that its puppet government accumulated over the decades, we are okay with this.
As the Governor states in his new book, “Behind the scenes, I was not, as a father of children ages five, four, and two, comfortable with the continuation of Disney’s special arrangement… While the Walt Disney Company and its executives had a right to indulge in woke activism, Florida did not have to place the company on a pedestal while they do so—especially when the company’s activism impacted the rights of parents and the well-being of children.”
We Floridians Still Love Disney
But I really don’t think it is a stretch to say that every Floridian has gone to the Walt Disney World Resort at least one point in his or her life. From family vacations to school-sponsored trips, residents from Pensacola to Key West have made the drive to the Most Magical Place On Earth at least once and hold that in a special place in their hearts. We grew up on Disney, and we loved what it used to stand for. It was animation, entertainment, and general Americana at its finest. And many a proud Floridian still takes pride in saying that we have Disney World and we’re home to the original homeports for Disney Cruise Line.
Our Governor had a magical Disney World wedding, for crying out loud!
But many of us believe that the America-centric family-focused studio that Walt Disney and his brother Roy started and Michael Eisner arguably solidified with the help of Frank Wells, Roy E. Disney, and Jeffrey Katzenberg has lost its way. Entertaining the American nuclear family is no longer its priority. We want to make sure Disney World remains a place we can bring our children and our children’s children.
Nothing Will Change for the Worse at the Walt Disney World Resort
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I’m not worried about any of the day-to-day activities changing at the Walt Disney World Resort. If anything, this restructuring will ensure that things don’t change for the worse.
Many speculate that Disney’s famous innovations will be slowed down due to increased government interference, but honestly, what innovations have really come about at Walt Disney World recently? It took Walt Disney Imagineers seven years to replicate something they created in 2016 (TRON: Lightcycle/Run), and sure, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is cool, but there is nothing in the bill that suggests the creation of a new ride would be interfered with in a debilitating way. Or should I say, there is nothing in Disney’s publically-released future plans that appears to be in jeopardy.
The new law will also ensure most likely ensure that all Florida Law, including the “Stop WOKE” Law, which protects employees from forced indoctrination of Critical Race Theory, and other matters which teach that “an individual, by virtue of his or her race, color, sex, or national origin, should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment to achieve diversity, equity, or inclusion” will be enforceable in the district.
“What we will not allow is to be taught that members of one race, color, national origin, or sex are somehow morally superior,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said, according to WFTS. “We are not gonna allow teaching that a person simply by virtue of his/her race, color, national origin or sex is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, that’s wrong.”
This is Better for All of Florida
When the news of ReedyCreek’ss termination was first released, a fear of huge tax increases spread like wildfire. But the new bill is set to ensure the contrary. Since its inception in 1967, the Reedy Creek Improvement District has utilized taxpayer funds for certain infrastructure projects, such as the public roadways that connect drivers from all parts of the Sunshine State to the Theme Parks and Resorts.
While Disney will most likely still take advantage of several tax breaks, the new legislation will ensure that less responsibility for its structure relies on the taxpaying residents of Orange County and Osceola County.
“My signature will also end Disney’s exemption from the Florida Building Code and Florida Fire Prevention Code,” the Governor stated just before signing the bill on Disney World property. “It will end Disney’s exemption from State regulatory reviews and approval. It will end Disney’s secrecy by finally ensuring transparency about what goes on in this area. It will ensure Disney pays its fair share of taxes. It will prevent local governments dominated by leftist politicians from using this situation to raise local taxes.”
“There will be no additional tax burden on any Floridian in Central Florida or otherwise,” he added. “I’m confident that this is going to vindicate the best interests of the State of Florida.”
I should mention that I have not let politics make me a Disney hater, and there are other attacks happening to the Company that I am against. For example, I am completely against the Public Domain and the thought that Disney will lose Mickey Mouse and that so many other characters and stories will lose what can only be described as Disney’s quality protection.
I really am saddened to see such a historical marvel of American Business come to an end. But as I mourn privately, I still see a future that will be better for both The Free State of Florida and The Walt Disney Company.
As the Sherman Brothers wrote, “There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow shining at the end of every day” We’re all going to be okay!
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s and may not reflect the sentiments of Disney Fanatic as a whole.