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Florida: Not the happiest place on Earth for the Walt Disney Company

Written By | Apr 23, 2022
Walt Disney, Disney, World of Tomorrow, Florida, Orlando, DeSantis

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The liberal leadership of the Walt Disney Company (WDC) took a stand against children, making Main Street a place for political division. Disney World, Florida, and the WDC, maybe a cautionary tale for other woke corporations attempting to change America fundamentally, and American families, via indoctrinating children into socialism and away from family values.

Last week The Florida House of Representatives gave final passage to a bill that dissolves any special district created before November 1968 on June 1, 2023. Unfortunately, this will impact the benefits enjoyed by Walt Disney World’s private government, The Reedy Creek Improvement District.

Most visitors to Walt Disney’s Orlando-based icon to a mouse do not realize that Disney World is an entity. 

And that Walt Disney envisioned it that way.

But first, there was Disneyland, Walt Disney’s vision of fantasy and futurism, that opened on July 17, 1955.  Disney built the $17 million theme park on 160 acres of former orange groves in Anaheim, California.  Quickly becoming profitable beyond all imagination, except maybe Walts.

Disneyland hosts more than 18 million visitors a year, who spend close to $3 billion.

Creating Disney World in Orlando, Florida

In 1965, Disney’s top executives began forming its municipal government in Florida. The entertainment group petitioned the state of Florida to create a “special district” in Orlando. Thus creating a mini-government with the power to act mostly independently of other general local governments.

In return, Disney would provide the state of Florida with jobs, tax revenues, and a tourist destination that would fill local hotels and restaurants.

It’d retain special rights and privileges usually associated with a government. But, in return, it’d serve an essential public function for the state of Florida and its citizens. Particularly the citizens of the proposed “City of Tomorrow.” While the City of Tomorrow never materialized, the Magic Kingdom featured Walt’s future vision.

At the park, children clambered to ride space ships high above the crowds, fly through Space Mountain at breakneck speeds, travel under the sea in a futuristic submarine, or enjoy one of Walt Disney’s signature rides – The Carousel of Progress.

One can assume that Walt Disney did not envision the woke agenda and sexual grooming of children as part of that tomorrow world. However, when Walt Disney passed away in December of 1966, his brother Roy took the reigns. Roy promising to keep his brother’s original visions of family and entertainment alive.

In 1967, the State of Florida created the Reedy Creek Improvement District.

When the Walt Disney World Resort opened in 1971, the Walt Disney Company began to pivot away from Walt’s proposed City of Tomorrow and toward the proven concept of theme parks.

Nevertheless, the Reedy Creek Improvement District still exists today, and it still serves an essential function in both the planning and day-to-day operation of Walt Disney World.

Disney is one of Florida’s biggest private employers, claiming some 75,000 employees worldwide.   It is not immediately clear how the company or local governments around its properties would be affected if the Reedy Creek district is dissolved.

The creation of the Reedy Creek Improvement District, and the control it gave Disney over 27,000 acres (11,000 hectares) in Florida, was a crucial element in the company’s plans to build near Orlando in the 1960s. As a result, Disney has control over the land in and around its central Florida theme parks.

Company officials said they needed autonomy to plan a futuristic city and the theme park. A city that never materialized and instead became the Epcot theme park.

The Reedy Creek special district includes acreage in Orange and Osceola counties, including four theme parks, two water parks, one sports complex, 175 lane miles of roadway, 67 miles of waterway, and the cities of Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista. (Source: Reedy Creek Improvement District.)

“The cooperation and commitment between the Reedy Creek Improvement District and Walt Disney World Company is as strong today as it was when the District was created in 1967,” the Reedy Creek website states. “The result is an example of how a working partnership between business and government can be prosperous for both sides.”

Until the mouse just got too big for its suspendered britches, fighting against the “Parental Rights in Education.”

The bill is not an anti-gay bill as liberal protests, but instead allows parents the right to determine when and from whom their children will receive sexual education. Liberals want to provide a sexual education well beyond being a girl and being a boy.  You have a vagina, and you have a penis.  But that also includes masturbation techniques, encouraging gender reassignment, and promoting sexual deviancy over family values.   (Reese Research asks, “What is the agenda behind transgenderism?”)

In March, Disney said it would suspend political donations in the state and added that it would, in turn, support organizations working to oppose the new law. Republicans defended the law as reasonable. The bottom-line argument is that no one should speak to a child about sex other than their parents. In most schools, sex education that has long been about biology and science is not even broached until the sixth grade.

“Disney and other woke corporations won’t get away with peddling their unchecked pressure campaigns any longer,” DeSantis wrote Wednesday. “If we want to keep the Democrat machine and their corporate lapdogs accountable, we have to stand together now.”

The bill’s passage hands Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis a victory in his feud with the entertainment giant over its opposition to want many describe as an anti-grooming law.

The move could have huge tax implications for Disney.

Disney cannot just move Disney World to another location where year-long mild weather and sunny skies draw billions of visitors. The theme parks have transformed Orlando into one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations.

They have long been able to support Democrats and the DNC in the state and could rely on the support of those they supported with political donations. However, Florida has a Republican-led government that is not afraid to fight back against a virtue-signaling, woke activist titan pushing an alt-left agenda.

With the special district’s dissolution, the Orlando theme park will be subject to the governance of Orange and Osceola Counties. Opponents to the Republican’s move to dissolve WDC’s special status would create an estimated $2 billion debt for Florida.  However, DeSantis rejected those concerns saying the company would need to pay a higher tax bill to cover those costs for roads, emergency services, etc.

The Reedy Creek Improvement District is the crumbs leftover from the plans of Walt Disney, who dreamed of creating a new type of city. To construct his world of the future.

Now, it mainly helps the Walt Disney Company earn more money. Two of those crumbs, beyond taxes, however, are very beneficial. (Florida leading America away from woke liberalism, towards freedom)

Under the Reedy Creek Improvement District, Disney enjoys:

1. Control over zoning and building codes

This is the most crucial benefit Disney will lose. Because they can effectively squash competition in the massive theme park business that includes Universal Studios and Sea World.  Case in point: Universal Studios began planning their entertainment-themed park in the 1980s. However, red tape kept any announcements under wraps until 1986. Disney then announced plans for their movie-themed park, Disney-MGM, in 1987, opening in 1989. Universal Studios Florida didn’t open its doors until 1990.

By eliminating the red tape, Disney could get around the extensive permitting and zoning process necessary to ensure that buildings and rides met city-mandated codes for everything from parking to attendance to building codes.

Disney issues its permits, writes its zoning laws, and creates building codes.

2.  The ability to issue tax-free bonds

Disney Springs is building twin parking garages to help alleviate the lousy parking situation around the destination. Disney wanted to construct new guest parking garages but not pay for them. So they had the Reedy Creek Improvement District issue a tax-free bond to construct those garages. Unfortunately, those bonds come at a cost to Florida taxpayers somewhere in the range of $85 million. (Source)

There are benefits to the city of Orlando, but the profits from this development will line the pockets of Disney well before Florida sees any real benefit.

For DeSantis, the curbing of Disney is his latest salvo in a culture war waged over policies of race, gender, and the coronavirus.

Battles are turning DeSantis into one of the most popular GOP politicians in the country. And if Trump does not run in 2024, a likely 2024 presidential candidate.

The bottom line is that most visitors to Disney World will not notice much difference during their visit.  Except in the final bill.  Because the mouse will surely pass those increased costs on to visitors. (How much does it cost to go to Disney World?)


Read More from Jacquie Kubin


Jacquie Kubin has visited the Walt Disney World and Walt Disney Land theme parks. But, for her money, she has always preferred Universal Studios in Orlando.  But that is just an opinion.

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Jacquie Kubin

Jacquie Kubin is an award-winning writer and wanderer. She turns her thoughts to an eclectic mix of stories - from politics to sports. Restless by nature and anxious to experience new things, both in the real world and online, Jacquie mostly shares travel and culinary highlights, introduces readers to the chefs and creative people she meets and shares the tips, life and travel information people want to read.