Disney World loses its place in Florida after 55 years. Conservative Governor Ron DeSantis on Friday signed a bill that would raise the special status the park received when it opened in 1967, in June 2023. The park has championed some progressive themes unpopular with elected Republicans.
For example, DeSantis was unhappy that Disney CEO Bob Chapek had spoken out against a new law banning the teaching of sexual orientation and gender identity in elementary schools. Opponents have described the law as “Don’t say gay”-Law.
Disney gained special independent status within Florida, called the Reedy Creek Improvement District, when the Disney World Resort was built in the 1960s. The entertainment giant granted a great deal of local autonomy and exempted the park from most government regulations. Among other things, the change could have huge tax implications for Disney, which has turned its collection of theme parks Orlando into one of the world’s most popular tourist spots.
Last month, Disney announced that it would suspend political donations to the state and would support organizations that openly oppose the new law. Then DeSantis and his fellow Republicans attacked Disney, defending the new law.
“Disney doesn’t say a word about dictatorship in China, because it would cost billions of dollars. But there’s no problem with using corporate power to lie about laws that have been democratically passed,” Republican Senator Marco Rubio recently responded to the group’s criticism.
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