Gov. DeSantis pilots Disney monorail inspections into law

Florida keys monorail rail
Starting in July, the state will impose inspections on the resort transportation system.

Florida will no longer stand clear of the monorail doors.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed legislation (HB 1305) that will allow state inspections of Walt Disney World’s monorail system.

Those provisions were part of a larger transportation bill that also increases debt service for the state’s transportation trust fund and authorizes new projects and partnerships. The new law also paves the way for the transfer of the Santa Rosa Bay Bridge Authority to the Florida Turnpike Enterprise and reestablishes the Greater Miami Expressway Authority.

But the late addition of monorail inspections drew attention in the waning days of Session. The potential for state oversight was raised by DeSantis mid-Session at a press conference where he promised to wrest control of resort property from the Disney corporation.

Sen. Nick DiCeglie, an Indian Rocks Beach Republican, said during Session that oversight of monorail safety was long overdue, and should have been imposed after the death of a monorail operator in a 2009 crash.

“I want to make sure when I’m on the monorail that the monorail is safe,” he said on the Senate floor. “I want to know that this great state and the great folks at Florida Department of Transportation are inspecting these just like they do the other monorails.”

But the targeted nature of the inspections fed the narrative of a continued feud between the Governor and one of Florida’s top employers.

The state stripped Disney of a self-governing tax district it controlled last year after executives criticized legislation dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” law by opponents. But shortly before that district’s expiration took place, officials made a number of moves to leave land-use oversight to Disney instead of a new board appointed by DeSantis. The Legislature took action to reverse much of that afterward. But the state and Disney remain embroiled in a lawsuit with the company accusing DeSantis of retribution over private citizens exercising free speech.

Just this week, Disney CEO Bob Iger accused DeSantis of governing by retribution.

“This is about one thing and one thing only, and that’s retaliating against us for taking a position about pending legislation,” Iger said.

The monorail inspections will further that perception. The requirement applies only to monorail systems in special taxing districts that span two counties, something that only applies to the transportation system at the Walt Disney World resort.

The law now goes into effect on July 1.

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].


  • Michael K

    May 11, 2023 at 8:11 pm

    Because the state of Florida knows so much more about monorails than anyone else, right? Somebody has about 50 years of catch up to do.

  • Rude Eye

    May 11, 2023 at 9:03 pm

    After 50 years operation and with 50,000,000 riders a year and he’s calling that overdue and something needs to be done about it. I guess in his opinion ‘death by gun violence’ is not an overdue issue. Where do these idiots come from?

    • Impeach Biden

      May 12, 2023 at 6:58 am

      You think those shootings in the hood are done by Republicans?

      • Tom

        May 12, 2023 at 7:38 am

        “Over this 21-year span, this Red State murder gap has steadily widened from a low of 9% more per capita red state murders in 2003 and 2004 to 44% more per capita red state murders in 2019, before settling back to 43% in 2020.”

        There’s a ton of evidence that yes, the murder rate in red states is way worse than blue states so yes, those shootings are done by republicans. Facts are funny things.

      • Dont Say FLA

        May 16, 2023 at 3:44 pm

        Who shooting today ain’t the thing. The actual thing is who ain’t doing one damn thing about it, and that’s the Republicans like Rhonda. Rhonda’s soiled panties are wadded like a crumpled piece of paper on Wayne LaPierre’s bedroom floor at Maga Lardo.

    • jim oliver

      May 12, 2023 at 10:44 pm

      They were probably not born when this was placed in service

    • OMG

      May 13, 2023 at 2:37 pm

      Well said!!!

  • Impeach Biden

    May 12, 2023 at 7:00 am

    If “woke” Disney doesn’t like it then take HDQ back to Kalifornia. Newsom needs the tax base for reparations even though Kalifornia was not a slave state. No wonder people and companies are leaving that dump.

    • M. Mouse

      May 12, 2023 at 12:01 pm

      Wow, you managed to take the subject of monorail inspections all the way across the country and right into hate-filled racist bullshit. Apparently you have a problem with California and Black people. You’d best stay right here in Bubba Land, where you can feel comfy. You clearly fit right in. Squeak!

    • OMG

      May 13, 2023 at 2:44 pm

      BIGGEST EMPLOYER AND PAYS MORE TAXES THAN ANY OTHER CORPORATIONS…certainly willl help the state if they pull out….get real and think about the economy and all the people employed.

      • Dont Say FLA

        May 16, 2023 at 3:46 pm

        Rhonda’s dad should have pulled out and sent him into a hankey instead of Rhonda’s mom.

  • Let’s go Brandon

    May 12, 2023 at 10:14 am

    Good. No more Corporate welfare of 50 plus years and no more exemptions for just one company here in Florida. Play by the rules Disney and obey the law like every other corporation in the Sunshine State.

    • M. Mouse

      May 12, 2023 at 11:52 am

      Just one company? There are over one thousand “special districts” in Florida. The Villages, home of the unawake, is one of them. Ah, they say ignorance is bliss, and if that’s so, you must be one of the most bliss-filled humans of all. Squeak!

    • OMG

      May 13, 2023 at 2:40 pm

      Not sure where you get you infor…..but by your name I can figure it out. Now of this is about corporate welfare or not obeying the law As long as you give money and don’t use your right to free speech you are his buddy – corporations are running and ruining the state. The BIGGEST is the insurance corporations.

  • WGD

    May 12, 2023 at 10:45 am

    So now the inspections will be done by DeSantis flunkies who got their jobs by pledging loyalty to DeSantis not because they know what they’re doing. Feel safer?
    Reply1 m

  • PeterH

    May 12, 2023 at 11:17 am

    Florida transportation bubbas have been involved with inspecting and certifying a newly built bridge in South Florida that collapsed killing pedestrians below. What exactly is their construction experience with Monorails? Disney should request the bubba’s engineering credentials.

  • OMG

    May 13, 2023 at 2:36 pm

    You notice the only business he goes after is the one with a mouse.
    I guess that makes him a pussycat—-
    a lot people have moved here, not. because of him, but for the weather….guess what they will be leaving when they can’t afford insurance of get any. UGH!

  • stephen e gildow

    May 13, 2023 at 7:03 pm

    fl should of adapted the disney monarail system 50 years ago.
    it would of been faster to get around to different parts of fl. in record time. less wrecks, less D.u.i. people being killed.
    more sights to see in one day.

Comments are closed.


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