Disney’s “corporate kingdom” in Central Florida has officially come to an end.
On Monday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 9-B (HB 9-B) into law. The bill ends the “self-governing status and special privileges provided to Walt Disney World through the Reedy Creek Improvement District.”
In place of Disney’s “self-governing status,” the bill establishes a five-member state control board to govern the district. Each board member is appointed by the Florida governor and subject to confirmation by the Florida Senate.
The Florida Legislature established the Reedy Creek Improvement District in 1967 while Walt Disney World was being planned. It afforded the Walt Disney Co. certain privileges, in effect granting Disney its own land to govern.
According to a press release, HB 9-B:
- Ends Disney’s self-governing status.
- Ends Disney’s exemption from the Florida Building Code and Florida Fire Prevention Code.
- Ends Disney’s exemption from state regulatory reviews and approvals.
- Ends Disney’s secrecy by ensuring transparency.
- Ensures that Disney will pay its fair share of taxes.
- Prevents leftist local governments from using the situation to raise local taxes.
- Imposes Florida law so that Disney is no longer given preferential treatment.
- Ensures that Disney’s municipal debt will be paid by Disney, not Florida taxpayers.
“Allowing a corporation to control its own government is bad policy, especially when the corporation makes decisions that impact an entire region,” said Governor Ron DeSantis in a press release.
“This legislation ends Disney’s self-governing status, makes Disney live under the same laws as everybody else, and ensures that Disney pays its debts and fair share of taxes,” he added.
The Florida legislature first pushed to amend the Reedy Creek Improvement District after the Walt Disney Co., and former Disney CEO Bob Chapek, spoke out forcefully against Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law.
The bill – signed into law in March 2022 – reinforced the “fundamental rights of parents to make decisions regarding the upbringing of their children,” and prohibited school districts from withholding information from about students from their parents. It also prohibited the teaching of gender ideology to students in Kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Falsely dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by corrupt and misleading media outlets, Chapek said at the time that the legislation would be used to “target gay, lesbian, non-binary, and transgender kids and their families.”
The legislation did no such thing.
After Disney’s vocal opposition to the bill, the Florida legislature moved to ensure that Disney would be treated like every other business in the state of Florida. Now, that has become a reality.
Many parents are rightly concerned that Disney has become overtly political, hostile to parental rights and highly focused on producing propaganda, rather than family-friendly content.
According to a May 2022 poll, a shocking 60% of Americans had either a neutral or negative view of the company – a dismal showing for a company that prides itself for creating the “most magical place on earth.”
Will the Walt Disney Co. learn from its mistakes?
As the saying goes, “The proof of the pudding is in the eating.”
If you want to learn more about the entertainment content your family is viewing, check out Focus on the Family’s free service Plugged In. The Plugged In team reviews movies, television shows, music, games, books and more. You can learn more about Plugged In here.
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