Disney V DeSantis

Brooks Huber, Breaking News Manager

 In March, the newly appointed committee of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District  convened for the first time. The governor created this committee to regulate Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District and to retaliate against the companies opposition to his ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.

   The Reedy Creek Improvement District was created in 1967 as part of Walt Disney’s plan to build an experimental prototype community of tomorrow and is the local government for the Disney property. The District managed sectors like infrastructure and the fire department while also creating special construction agreements that allow Disney to do things a district wouldn’t normally allow, like building tall attractions or regularly using fireworks. 

   DeDantis created a state committee that has now taken over, turning Reedy Creek into the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District. This would allow the state to regulate Disney’s local government and the exceptions it granted the company. However, during their first meeting, the committee found that just before the bill instating their authority was passed, Reedy Creek and the Walt Disney Company entered and pushed through the Pact of Restrictive Covenants which gave all “Intensities and densities” of development over to Disney. This effectively left the DeSantis board powerless.

   Disney further protected this power by invoking the ‘King Charles Clause’, an obscure but legitimate law which states “this Declaration shall continue in effect until 21 years after the death of the last survivor of the descendants of King Charles III.” Disney CEO Bob Iger also pushed back against DeSantis, calling his intended legislation “anti-business” and “anti-florida”.

   Governor DeSantis condemned the actions of Disney, started a legal case against their agreement, and is working to void the agreement under state law. DeSantis also proposed regulating Disney beyond Reedy Creek with methods like taxing hotels and putting tolls on the roads on Disney property.

   With pending lawsuits and threats of further legislation, the political feud between The Walt Disney Company and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is likely to continue, especially if DeSantis is aiming for a 2024 presidential run.