Chris Sprowls defends plan to nix Disney district
Chris Sprowls' fatherhood initiative gets seeded.

Sprowls took issue with Disney's opposition to the Parental Rights in Education bill.

House Speaker Chris Sprowls on Tuesday defended Gov. Ron DeSantis’ plan to strip Walt Disney World of its self-governance status, saying the entertainment giant has long misused its “public benefit” to impact political policy.

Sprowls’ remarks come as lawmakers return to Tallahassee and take up legislation seeking to strip the theme park of its independence. Since 1967, the company has enjoyed its state-ordained status as a self-governing body — known as Reedy Creek. Those privileges, though, may end after the latest dustup between Disney and DeSantis.

Championed by Republican leadership, the proposal (HB 3C) would repeal all special districts implemented before 1968. Only six of Florida’s 1,844 special districts would fall under the measure, according to a staff analysis. Among them: Reedy Creek.

Sprowls denies characterizations suggesting the proposal is targeted at Disney, saying lawmakers have long discussed such a proposal. He did, though, lament the corporation’s activism and political opposition against Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill. Disney in March pledged to cease all donations to political campaigns amid the fallout.

“They’re trying to control everything that happens in society and that’s wildly inappropriate,” Sprowls said.

The bill, which DeSantis signed in late March, specifically bans instruction on “sexual orientation or gender identity” in grades kindergarten through third. Critics, including Disney, referred to the legislation as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, a term supporters of the law decry as inaccurate. Speaking to reporters, Sprowls lamented the characterization.

“What’s most troubling about Disney is not they had a disagreement with what we did with the policy,” Sprowls said. “A lot of people have a disagreement on policy. They used their platform to perpetuate what we believe to be a lie.”

Reedy Creek provides utilities and other services to the more than 25,000 acres of southwestern Orange County on Disney property. The cities of Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista encompass nearly all of the 38-square-mile Walt Disney World within their municipal boundaries. Orange and Osceola counties also host the company.

If dissolved, the four house governments would absorb Reedy Creek’s responsibilities, assets and debts.

“It would be a complicated affair,” conceded the bill sponsor, Republican Sen. Jennifer Bradley.

If signed into law, Reedy Creek would be dissolved in June 2023.

Jason Delgado

Jason Delgado covers news out of the Florida State Capitol. After a go with the U.S. Army, the Orlando-native attended the University of Central Florida and earned a degree in American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. He'd love to hear from you. You can reach Jason by email ([email protected]) or on Twitter at @byJasonDelgado.


  • Oh Florida

    April 19, 2022 at 3:47 pm

    I hope you Floridians enjoy watching your taxes go up as much as I will watching you have to pay them!

    Since Disney already pays for permits the rest comes out of local government. Enjoy having less money in your Pocket

  • The Grievance State

    April 19, 2022 at 4:17 pm

    This government is totally out of control!
    It is all retaliation and grievance at this point.
    This is NOT what Florida is about.

  • Remsen

    April 19, 2022 at 4:21 pm

    You are unnecessarily exposing your children to propaganda, propaganda that will be re-enforced by their exposure to social media, peer pressure, teachers, television, and politicians long after you are gone. Disney knows full well exposing children at a young age to propaganda will shape how they see the world, and they will remember their grandparents and their parents having no objection to it! You are participating in brainwashing our young generation!
    Disney isn’t going to do a darned thing about it. Sure they will stomp their feet and through a tantrum like a 2 year old. So what! We, the florida tax payer have been beholden to them for the past 50 years. Either they learn to stay in their lane and simply provide wholesome entertainment, or they can pay the price of losing the perks.

    • You will work

      April 19, 2022 at 7:10 pm

      Speaking of Florida taxes I hope your ready to find another job once yours go up from all the jobs that leave.

    • Sure they could

      April 20, 2022 at 3:50 am

      “Disney isn’t going to do a darned thing about it”

      They are a global company that owns more then your entire state. I would say they could

    • Longjohn119

      April 20, 2022 at 6:02 pm

      Are you kidding? No one does Propaganda like the GOP these days …. The GOP makes the Soviets and Nazis look like slackers when it comes to Propaganda

  • Colby

    April 19, 2022 at 4:41 pm

    I just don’t think any big corporation should have a “self rule” that could lead to a lot of corruption by disney’s sub contractors I’m willing to pay a little more tax in FLA for a equal playing feild

    • Not true

      April 19, 2022 at 7:14 pm

      “I’m willing to pay a little more”

      You won’t even pay for 4 dollar gas

  • Heidi

    April 19, 2022 at 5:28 pm

    Go ahead kill the goose that laid the golden egg.

  • martin

    April 19, 2022 at 11:53 pm

    Disney is leaving for anywhere else? There is no state income tax….duh!
    As for all the jobs….PLUH-EASE. Low paying, no skill jobs at best. Disney has way to much invested in their parks, and hotels to go anywhere.
    Democrats are so silly!

    • Since you said

      April 20, 2022 at 3:46 am

      they don’t have to even do that.
      They could take the state to court and keep it going for years even long after Ron desantis is out of office. Florida has nothing.

  • D Baggins

    April 20, 2022 at 10:06 am

    This is a classic move from the authoritarian playbook. Manufacture an assault on public mores, then pass / adopt a controversial, unpopular policy to address the completely fictitious “problem.” When the controversial measure draws objections, corruptly use the power of government to retaliate against the objectors. Rinse, and repeat. Each time the cycle is repeated, the severity of the authoritarian regime’s transgressions increases and fewer people or organizations dare speak out for fear of being the target of increasingly severe government retaliation. And from there, the authoritarian government can set about abridging basic, fundamental rights without fear of reprisal from the electorate.

  • PeterH

    April 20, 2022 at 11:52 am

    If the legislators and DeSantis actually follow through with their plan to punish Disney for their social policy positions ….. I hope that Disney states that they plan to close Disneyworld Florida on December 23, 2022 if Florida voters re-elect Ron DeSantis.

    Penalties can work both ways. Major Orlando hotels, restaurants and alternative amusement venues survive on Disneyworld. Let’s see what happens

Comments are closed.


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