Another day, another punch thrown in the fight between The Walt Disney Company and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. The two sides have been battling for more than a year. In February, DeSantis signed a bill that took away Disney’s right to self-govern. A new board — handpicked by the governor — took over control of what used to be the Reedy Creek Improvement District. However, not long after the takeover, the new board — now called the Central Florida Tourism Oversight Committee — noticed a BIG problem. Before the Reedy Creek board was dissolved, it had made a deal with Disney.
The deal ultimately gave Disney the final say over everything that happened in the area formerly controlled by the board. Disney would maintain control until it either abandoned the property, or until 21 years after the death of the youngest living descendant of King Charles III. The legal language in the land deal states that the agreement cannot be overturned by any future board.
Both the Central Tourism Oversight Committee and Governor DeSantis were both flabbergasted and angry. The board quickly said that it was preparing to sue the House of Mouse. Something they would use Disney’s money to do. For his part, Governor DeSantis said that he was launching an investigation into the deal. He said that he would beat Disney, no matter what it took. The investigation determined that no laws were broken and nothing “unethical” took place.
Now, the controversial governor has announced new legislation to undo the deal. The deal, mind you, was approved and signed into law by both the Florida legislature and the governor. According to Forbes:
The Florida legislature will introduce a new bill to overturn a controversial development agreement between Walt Disney World and the special district that oversees it under the state’s growth laws, DeSantis said at a press conference Monday, after the governor replaced the special district’s board with his own appointees.
The outgoing board—made up of Disney-elected members—enacted an agreement with Disney that the governor’s appointees said “essentially makes Disney the government” and strips the DeSantis board of “the majority of its ability to do anything beyond … maintain basic infrastructure.”
The new legislation would also require the Walt Disney World Resort monorail system to be subject to state safety inspections. All Walt Disney World rides and attractions would also be required to submit to state inspections. This, ultimately, could allow the state to keep rides closed for as long as they wanted to.
The Central Tourism Oversight Committee will also be introducing Resolution 639, giving them “superior authority” over the former Reedy Creek District. It should be noted that, according to law experts, the Resolution is more like a statement. It does not carry any legal weight.