Will the Legislature kill Disney’s self-governing ability over ‘parental rights’ law opposition?
Image via WDWInfo.com

WDWfirestation02
Spencer Roach said lawmakers have met about repealing the Reedy Creek Improvement Act.

Florida lawmakers have held multiple meetings discussing changes to a self-governing arrangement Disney has enjoyed with the state for decades.

The potential aggressive move against one of Florida’s most prominent employers comes as Republicans and Disney leadership publicly spar over a controversial statute critics have dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

Rep. Spencer Roach, a North Fort Myers Republican, revealed in a social media post that lawmakers met as recently as Tuesday to discuss potentially changing the community development district regulations around Walt Disney World.

“Yesterday was the second meeting in a week with fellow legislators to discuss a repeal of the 1967 Reedy Creek Improvement Act, which allows Disney to act as its own government,” Roach tweeted. “If Disney wants to embrace ‘woke’ ideology, it seems fitting that they should be regulated by Orange County.”

The Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID) was created by a 1967 law signed by Republican Gov. Claude Kirk. It effectively created two municipal-like governments, Bay Creek and Reedy Creek, to regulate the Lake Buena Vista land where the Walt Disney World Resort operates.

The law created by the Florida Legislature in concert with Walt Disney World effectively laid the blueprint for community development districts, a form of self-government where boards are elected based on the preference of property owners.

The RCID operates its own fire protection, security services, utilities and planning. Its Board of Supervisors is selected by landowners, effectively meaning the Disney corporation installs the government regulating the 38.5-square-mile property. The district effectively taxes the land and operates government services with that revenue, allowing self-government.

Should the law creating the RCID be repealed, that would leave the Disney property under the complete authority of Orange and Osceola counties.

Tensions have risen between Disney and Florida lawmakers. On Tuesday, Disney issued a statement vowing to fight to repeal the law prohibiting classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through third grade.

“Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the Legislature or struck down in the courts, and we remain committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to achieve that,” read a corporate statement first released to Variety. “We are dedicated to standing up for the rights and safety of LGBTQ+ members of the Disney family, as well as the LGBTQ+ community in Florida and across the country.”

While the bill was debated in the Legislature, the company controversially stayed publicly silent on the issue, prompting protests and employee walkouts.

But after the company came out vocally against the legislation, Gov. Ron DeSantis has criticized Disney as a “woke corporation” and said workers protesting the law are “injecting sexual instruction” on young children.

Rep. Joe Harding, an Ocala Republican who sponsored the bill, returned all his previous political donations from Disney.

“I’m disappointed to see Disney speak out against this legislation, which is now Florida law,” he said.

At the same time, California Gov. Gavin Newsom has openly wooed Disney to cancel its plan to relocate more than 2,000 theme park-related jobs to Florida.

“Disney, the door is open to bring those jobs back to California — the state that actually represents the values of your workers,” Newsom tweeted earlier this month.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]


43 comments

  • No Washingtons

    March 30, 2022 at 1:00 pm

    Sounds like he Said “our goal is to get Disney to lay off our workers and go somewhere else so our state will have no money” lol

  • Spartan ovi

    March 30, 2022 at 1:20 pm

    Disney has almost singlehandedly kept copyright law from changing all because they don’t want Mickey Mouse IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN. I don’t think they care what what some state who they could probably bankrupt if they left thinks or worse if they put effort into it

  • seymore

    March 30, 2022 at 2:23 pm

    Let’s play poker. We call disney’s bluff. Where are they going to go? No way will they pack up and leave. They need to know their roll; shut their mouth and continue to play in the land of make believe.

    • Already lost

      March 30, 2022 at 3:53 pm

      “Were are they going to go”

      They don’t even have to go anywhere. Disney owns major brands. Florida not gonna get rid of a kids love of spider man It’s not happening.

      • Lew

        March 31, 2022 at 10:06 am

        Parents control the purse strings, parents can un-woke disney. disney needs Florida far more than Florida needs disney. They are not going to pack up their 38 square miles of park and move to commifornification. As long as the market puts up with disney’s woke BS, they will continue. As soon as it becomes unprofitable, they will normalize, or go broke.

        • He’s just not

          March 31, 2022 at 8:54 pm

          “Parents control the purse strings”

          Those parents probably work for Disney since they employ 70 percent of Florida.

          Your boss does not care lol

          • Chip

            April 6, 2022 at 10:52 pm

            As a disclaimer, I’m not from Florida.

            First, polls are starting to show that the majority of Floridians, both dems and republicans, support this bill. (https://gen.medium.com/too-many-democrats-in-florida-support-the-dont-say-gay-bill-520a350cf62 and https://www.yahoo.com/news/poll-only-52-of-democrats-oppose-floridas-dont-say-gay-policy-214144683.html). I’m not a pollster, but what if these polls accurately represent the opinions of the people?

            Second, according to NYT, Disney employs roughly 80,000 Floridians. A very small percentage. (I’m from CA, where Disneyland park is pretty well-known to underpay and poorly treat the bulk of their employees.) Obviously, Disney’s influence is much larger on a national and international level. And obviously their economic impact on Florida business is not limited to how many employees they have in Florida. But still, we’re not not talking about a company that is employing the majority of Floridians, as one poster claimed.

            But given those two stats above, if I were a Floridian, I would be terribly upset that Disney was using its massive national influence to over-rule the will of the people of Florida. They’re coming across like a bully. I’d be happy to see them put in their place a little bit.

            Hopefully they can work things out for Disney to continue to provide a “happy place” for many tourists coming to Florida and employ a lot of Floridians AND for Floridians to feel like their voice is not minimized or silenced by a company using its massive influence to effect change in the political process and schools of the local people.

    • Pm

      April 1, 2022 at 1:29 pm

      They can play the open for 6 months and close for 6. Hire all part time workers for those 6. Move attractions to GA and California. 75 billion dollar economy is nothing to sneeze at.

    • Sean Williams

      April 2, 2022 at 12:40 pm

      You do realize that if they do disband Ready Creek, that burden for all of those services fall to the tax payers of Orange & Osceola counties which Disney will be part of to pay for all of those expenses.

      • No it can t

        April 3, 2022 at 2:45 am

        Orange County does not have Mickeys lawyers and it’s a poor white 4 finger town otherwise

        It can’t do anything Lol

  • Tib

    March 30, 2022 at 2:39 pm

    So if DeSantis gets his way, will DeSantis screw the newly lay off and unemployed Disney workers with his unfair and inadequate unemployment system. Our DOE is one of the worst in the USA. I am afraid that DeSantis really doesn’t care for the hard working Floridian. It is all about winning his next campaign at the expense of the common man.

  • JM

    March 30, 2022 at 2:47 pm

    I’d love to see how the legislature can do it without revoking other special districts in the state. Would be a bit of a 1st amendment and equal protection violation against speech if it is only aimed at RCID.

  • Max

    March 30, 2022 at 7:11 pm

    The law keeps some rando kindergarten teacher (prob a kid too) from “teaching” your kid about sexual and gender orientation. It does not single out any group and kids can talk about gay stuff or whatever. Do dem’s want some far right conservative teacher explaining this stuff to their kids? It protects us ALL. That is all, any other talk about it is a lie. For leadership at a company like Disney not to undersstand a basic and sound concept as this is mystifying, I live here in FL, I hope they pull the trigger and rein Disney in to the Orange County way of doing things.

    • Uh oh

      March 30, 2022 at 10:20 pm

      Oh that reminds me

      No reason why under the law you cant do the same to the other side. can’t play favorites lol

    • Drew T

      March 31, 2022 at 1:54 am

      Disney is the one of the highest employers of Floridians and its biggest tourism draw. Go for it. Enjoy your wal Mart job like the other red states

      • William H.

        April 1, 2022 at 4:11 pm

        Walmart pays more than Disney’s paltry $11 to 14 per hour. Disney employees wages are below the poverty level, especially working six months out of a year. Can they afford a home in Florida, or even a car to live in? Nope. Disney drove the average standard of living down over the years. They rely on an intern program. Florida was doing fine before disney and will do fine after, especially if Walmart buys them out.

        • Oh yes

          April 3, 2022 at 2:36 am

          Yeah you can’t all bag my stuff and say “welcome to wal mart”

  • Daniel

    March 31, 2022 at 9:10 am

    Gee we got the people that voted for Biden giving advice DUH.

  • just sayin

    March 31, 2022 at 9:27 am

    In these comments, “liberals” defend corporate tax breaks.

    • tjb

      March 31, 2022 at 10:29 am

      NO. Just don’t thousands of workers losing their job and livelihood because of Disney’s decision not to agree with the bill.

    • Employee relations.

      March 31, 2022 at 9:05 pm

      All I see is Disney employees angry the boss said something

  • Patrick

    March 31, 2022 at 9:50 am

    Are they going to revoke tax exemptions churches that speak out on politics?

  • Stephen P Johnson

    March 31, 2022 at 10:11 am

    Read all the replies of narrow minded hatefulness in and others. Then you will see the reason DeSantis and the right keep pushing this one issue against a small minority of citizens whose sexual identity is not like the majority. Taking the sight off of major issues not being dealt with. Fear and hate is a power tool used by authoritarians.

    • Mouse over man

      April 3, 2022 at 2:49 am

      Does not matter what Ron thinks.

      Mickey gives his boys jobs

      And they make sure he stays fed with tax’s and visitors lol

  • stue potts

    March 31, 2022 at 10:24 am

    Typical Retardlican “free dumb of speech” attitude.

  • Bernard Fensterwald

    March 31, 2022 at 11:56 am

    Clearly, the Governor feels emboldened since he received the GOP nomination in 2018 without the financial support of the business community. So now he feels that he can safely threaten Disney. It is yet to be seen whether pandering to the 20% of voters who represent the far right will be enough to win in November. Business support for Charlie Crist, for example, might result in a different result. Stay tuned.

    • William H.

      April 1, 2022 at 4:15 pm

      Exactly when did the governor “threaten Disney”? He slammed them back, but he did not threaten anything. The state legislature that passed the law did. typical of liberals to lie, and do it so often they don’t even know they are lying.

  • Illurion

    March 31, 2022 at 12:29 pm

    Desantis is doing the correct thing.

    Florida was here before Disney, and , IF Disney left, Florida would STILL be here.

    But,

    DISNEY isn’t going anywhere.

    Disney couldn’t move DISNEY WORLD even if it wanted to.

    The end result of this is that THE STOCKHOLDERS OF DISNEY ARE GOING TO STEP IN AND REMOVE DISNEY MANAGEMENT.

    Then the NEW Disney Management will apologize, and stop being WOKE.

    I worked for Disney back in the 1970’s, and even then, a large number of employees were homosexuals, which Disney encouraged because those employee “CAST MEMBERS” had that “PIXIEDUST” look that Disney wanted.

    Today, the vast majority of Disney employees are Homosexual or Lesbian, as Disney HR goes out of its way to hire them.

    Heterosexual employees are the MINORITY at Disney today, and are continually harassed by the company, and other employees.

    It is a real shame, Walt Disney is rolling over in his grave right now about what has been done to HIS company, and to HIS NAME.

    • Stella McAutry

      April 1, 2022 at 12:13 pm

      “”Heterosexual employees are the MINORITY at Disney today, and are continually harassed by the company, and other employees.”

      Yes, yes, heterosexuals make up approximately 95 percent of the population at large but somehow are the majority of Disney employees. What an obviously real statistic and not at all made up to sound even more unhinged than you already were.

      I mean, I guess if you are gonna lie, go big or go home. Because that is one of the most ridiculous claims one could ever make . If that was the case don’t you think that would have been news YEARS ago? It’s just so dumb for you to say that. So incredibly, unbelievably dumb.

      Which is par for the course for you I imagine.

      • Illurion

        April 2, 2022 at 2:48 pm

        Facts are Facts .

        Obviously you have never worked at Disney.

        You are uninformed, or just lying.

        – First of all, in quoting me, you TYPO’d, and wrote “MAJORITY of Disney employees”, when you should have written “MINORITY”, as your sentence doesn’t make sense.

        – Second, i am not sure that your statistic that “95%” of people are heterosexual” is accurate . It is probably lower.

        – There is immense harassment against heterosexuals at Disney.

        The way it works is that heterosexuals rarely complain about the harassment against them.

        BUT, the homosexuals and lesbians regularly complain against heterosexuals for rediculous things.

        IT IS THE CONTINUAL COMPLAINTS AGAINST HETEROSEXUALS THAT IS THE MAJOR “HARASSMENT.”

        The complaint system is used as a “tool” against heterosexuals.

        Often the complaints are invalid, but Disney acts on them anyway, and almost always decides against the heterosexuals.

        In other words, Disney HR is part of what is commonly called the “gay mafia” and the process is biased and corrupt.

        As for statement that “IF THAT WAS THE CASE, DON’T YOU THINK THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN NEWS YEARS AGO?”

        It is the case, and it HAS been news, and an “open secret” about Disney for DECADES.

        The dumb person here is you.

        • illurion

          April 2, 2022 at 2:52 pm

          sorry – typo: ridiculous. not rediculous

    • A good laugh

      April 3, 2022 at 2:57 am

      You worked at Disney back when they were a decent sized amusement park.

      Today they own marvel espn Star Wars and more things then even Disney himself would have gotten into.

      The boards not gonna do anything with that much cash flowing in. Lol

  • Jimmy Cee

    March 31, 2022 at 2:28 pm

    Read the bill. The law simply says teachers are prohibited from discussing sexual orientation with students in K-3 grades. The bill doesn’t go far enough. Woke, crybaby liberals and the lying media ( Hunter’s laptop is fake) dishonestly called it a “Don’t Say Gay Bill,” deliberately distorting the legislation in a corrupt and perverted way. Substance doesn’t matter anymore, it’s simply how can the woke liberals incite their far left lunatic base of crazies by lying and demonizing normal mainstream behavior.

  • CHRISTOPHER J WEBB

    March 31, 2022 at 5:38 pm

    Disney really shot themselves in the foot. If the two special districts are removed then Disney would have to go through the same process to build or tear down in Orange County and Osceola County. Disney does what it wants now without any hearing or local approval. Disney big mistake taking on the most power Governor in the US. K-3 graders and your main goal is to repeal the law. Main goal should be making money

  • J. Burke

    March 31, 2022 at 6:46 pm

    How come Disney has a problem with the political leadership of US state but stays silent on political leadership in China where it has 2 parks? Nor does Disney care about govt censorship on its content in other countries. But somehow, in Florida they claim to take the moral high road?

  • John Davis

    March 31, 2022 at 7:37 pm

    Seems kinda government controlling business attitude. And a I don’t like what you say or do I will change the law and penalize you …something Putin would do. Republicans themselves said “We believe political freedom and economic freedom are indivisible.” Yet then this business speaks with political freedom and GOP threatens to punish/remove its economic freedom? So does the GOP only believe in those freedoms when they are in complete agreement with the GOP?
    And GOP talks about taking away this business ability to self regulating because of its political talk. But that also goes against the party platform of “relieving the burden and expense of punishing government regulations.” I can not reconcile how my GOP says freedom freedom but every time some business or some individual says they disagree even in their own party suddenly those folks are bad and evil and need regulation. Thats completely against the party platform. So now we are overregulating schools and libraries under the guise of parental rights but not guns lol cause yeah books kill but guns dont. over regulating peoples bodies except with regard to the vaccine, over regulating a business who speaks out against GOP thought process. Granpa who fought inWW2 to protect our freedoms is not a GOP anymore cause he says you remind him of lying communists. Government sneakily taking control thru the guise of “protecting its citizens” and not liking “woke” Just substitute the word Jew in place of woke to see if you are behaving wrong. Woke is just another group of living people and if you get angry at them cause hey are different than you but they arent harming you and your family-which they are not cause we all know woke folk dont like guns. Then why every one so dang angry at them? Live and let live. Shoot you dont want you child gay dont worry you can not flip a switch and make them gay and sex ed, and gender meds wont affect your kid or you unless you choose to get pissed off: Heck even Jesus says dont used a wicked tongue and behavior to others even if they are sinners: All the time Jesus says do not use harmful words and those who do will be punished.Matthew 15, James 1:26 and throughout proverbs yet this GOP uses defiling words all the time and no one says anything. And that leader this GOP chose from all the possible respectable Republicans? Hes exactly the opposite of what the bible says in Timothy 3: 1-16. Refers to goodness, one man one wife; not a love of money! Same GOP who we all part of who say abortion is wrong and then passes laws Laws Regulating! a persons body cause of Christian belief then says those same Christian beliefs and bible statements dont apply. This is not the GOP we all grew up with. This Gop goes breaking their own 2016 Platform all for what not liking the woke? So now the party of not regulating trying to regulate wokeness and be antiwoke? Like thats the worse thing out there? Not the starving, not the lack education, not war, not inflation nopers GOP all fussy about wokeness. Dang we are becoming more like Russia every day: Dont like gays, dont like the trans, ask Putin for help, punish folks and businesses who speak out and are different. We dont like what you say we will ransack the capital, change the laws to suit our thoughts, remove laws and regulate regulate regulate to keep a business in line thoughts. So disappointed in GOP and Santis. So many other things he could be focused on to improve the quality and goodness of life.

    • Illurion

      April 2, 2022 at 4:15 pm

      You are flying under false colors.

      You complain and act as if you are a conservative, BUT, all of your talking points are straight out of the LIBERAL, WOKE, DEMOCRAT playbook.

      • Inmates are Running the Asylum

        April 2, 2022 at 4:38 pm

        And you’re throwing strawmen while assuming Liberal, Woke, Democrat are mutually inclusive unto themselves.

        The culture war is nothing more than the same cancel culture being railed against.

        This legislation wasn’t needed – it was a waste of time and taxpayer money. It is just opened a can of worms for political points. Show me how it benefits the floridians as a whole, next to the issues it created?

        And judging from your screen name being from WoW and the comments, is telling of the potential demographics.

        This whole transgen backlash is the same backlash Gen-X did against affirmative action. You comments sound like you’re mad becuase you feel you were excluded from an opportunity or acceptence – which is exactly what these peopel are saying.

        • Inmates are Running the Asylum

          April 2, 2022 at 4:51 pm

          Correction: “Your comments sound like you’re mad because”

        • Illurion

          April 2, 2022 at 8:26 pm

          Dear Inmate:

          The damage done to our young school-children is self-evident, and documented.

          If you want to look it up, then look it up.

          Who do YOU think you are ?

          No-one has to SHOW you anything.

          The damage already done is the reason that the FREELY ELECTED Florida Legislature passed the law.

          As for my “screen name.”

          It isn’t a screen name.

          It is MY first name.

          My first name is an old Russian name that means “shadow leader.” I am the 3rd in my family to be named it.

          Yet idiot YOU thinks it is made up.

          INMATE… it is YOUR screen name that is “fake.”

          I had to use google to find out what “WoW” meant.

          YOU stupidly cut down “my first name” because YOU “ASSUMED” THAT IT WAS A FAKE “SCREEN NAME.”

          Actually “INMATE”, it is YOUR SCREEN NAME THAT IS STUPID.

          Isn’t it funny that YOU appear to have a bad opinion of “WoW”, and you try to “CUT ME DOWN” because of it, yet, it is “YOU” that KNOWS WHAT “WoW” IS, AND I DON’T….!!!!!! LOL

          GOOFY.

          Especially since IT IS “YOU” THAT THINKS THAT “WoW” SOMEHOW HAS SOMETHING TO DO WITH “DEMOGRAPHICS.”

          Your statement using the word “DEMOGRAPHICS” tells me that you are a “BIGOT.”

          As part of your ASSUMPTION and BIGOTRY, you then RAMBLED OFF ALL KINDS OF COMPLAINTS ABOUT “TRANSGEN”, and “GEN-X”, and “AFFIRMATIVE ACTION”, and NOT BEING ACCEPTED”, etc….

          As if that has anything to do with the great law that was just passed by the Florida Legislature.

          So INMATE, please return to your ASYLUM, and stop posting opinions about things that you know nothing about.

          • Inmates are Running the Asylum

            April 2, 2022 at 8:41 pm

            The legislature does have to answer to me and everyone else, and show me WHY this LAW was passed. As you said they were duly elected by the people of Florida.

            Again, more strawmen, I rambled zero complaints, I made comparisons aptly.

            As for it being your first name, who gives a shit or that your Russian? Nobody. Again, you’re actiing like you or others are butt hurt about being excluded from the “gay mafia” as a Disney castmember. Get a life. You’d be up in arms if law said you couldn’t teach heterosexual leanings to K-3.

            So go on posting opinions like it is fact.

            Illurian, the shadow leader of WoW.

          • Inmates are Running the Asylum

            April 2, 2022 at 8:46 pm

            Oh I forgot to add, look, I can “QUOTE AND TYPE IN CAPS” too.

  • William H

    April 1, 2022 at 4:26 pm

    Just goes to show you that business and politics don’t mix. Discrimating against individuals (hetrosexuals in this case) based on religion, race, creed, age, and sexual orientation is against federal law, yet Disney, just like China, is doing EXACTLY THAT. They are violating civil rights. They also operate in tyranical communist China – to grub money. Disney is hypoctical and is on the wrong side of right. The bill (law) has nothing to race or gay, and anyone carrying a sign that says ‘don’t say gay’ or references to hetrosexual white people is showing their ignorance as well as being racist. Some idiots can bring race and gender into any topic.

Comments are closed.


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