Proposed Bill Would Allow Florida Authorities to Take Children From Parents at Disney World

Magic Kingdom Disney World
Mickey Mouse and Friends at Magic Kingdom Park, Walt Disney World Resort / Credit: Disney

If you are a news watcher, then you probably know that Florida is quickly becoming one of the most polarizing states in the country. The Sunshine State is run by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis — a Republican — and both the Florida State House of Representatives and the State Senate are also run by Republicans. While many people may not have paid much attention to the goings-on in Florida in the past, it’s been hard to avoid, especially since the state got into a major battle with The Walt Disney Company.

Disney World District

Credit: Governor Ron DeSantis

The fight started when Disney spoke out against the state’s Parental Rights in Education bill, and culminated with Walt Disney World Resort being stripped of its self-governing status. With a board appointed by Governor DeSantis now running the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (formerly known as Reedy Creek), many are worried about how DeSantis and the board will try to exert power over the House of Mouse. DeSantis has already indicated that, should Disney continue to produce “woke” content, the board may not approve of certain projects needed at Walt Disney World.

Walt Disney World Railroad

Credit: Disney

In the past month or so, more controversial bills have been proposed by Florida Republicans — including one wanting to target bloggers who talk about DeSantis and another one wanting to dissolve the Democratic Party in the State — but one bill, in particular, has some parents vowing not to take their children to The Most Magical Place On Earth.

On Friday, March 10, State Senator Clay Yarborough proposed a bill that would allow the state to take children into emergency custody if the child’s parents are planning on giving the child gender-affirming care. The legislation would put gender-affirming care into the same category as child abuse, so emergency custody powers would be granted.

Dining services

Credit: Luxury Disney Vacations

Now, some may be thinking, “Well, why would that affect people who want to vacation at Walt Disney World?” Should the bill pass as is, it would apply not only to residents of Florida, but also those visiting the state. And gender-affirming care would include not only potential surgery, but any prescriptions the child is taking while on their journey.

Here is more on the bill, courtesy of Business Insider:

Senate Bill 254, introduced Friday by State Senator Clay Yarborough, would grant a petitioning parent authority to take emergency custody of their kids under the same statute that protects them from domestic violence and abuse.

The disapproving parent could take temporary custody of children if “it is necessary in an emergency to protect the child because the child, or a sibling or parent of the child” is “at risk of or is being subjected to the provision of sex reassignment prescriptions or procedures,” according to the proposed bill text.

Children Eating

Credit: Disney

This would mean that, technically, a parent taking their transgender child on a vacation to Walt Disney World Resort, could have their child taken away from them. Even if they are visiting Florida from out of state. The bill is also so vague that experts worry transgender parents receiving gender care could be considered a danger to their children, and the kids could be taken away for that reason as well.

You can read the bill’s full text by clicking here.

disney's hollywood studios

Credit: Disney

New York Times Benjamin Ryan shared some of the text from the bill, that shows the state could indeed use its power in Disney World against parents of transgender children.

Note that this Florida bill promising to seize kids from their parents for receiving or “at risk of receiving”treatment for gender dysphoria would apply to anyone “present” in the state, not just residents. So kids could be snatched at a trip Disney World.

It is important to remember, that this legislation has just been proposed. There has been no vote on it, and Governor DeSantis has not said one way or another whether he supports it or if he would sign the bill into law should it pass. Disney has also not commented on the potential bill, but it is expected they would fight it tooth and nail, should it stand a chance of passing.

Governor DeSantis is most likely aware of the impact this legislation could have on the state. The Walt Disney Company is one of the largest employers in the state, and visitors pour millions of dollars into Florida when they come to visit the theme parks. Such an extreme piece of legislation could absolutely see tourism numbers and tourism dollars take a big dip.

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!

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