Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis has apparently not forgotten Disney’s slight regarding the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill. In his efforts to prevent the situation from ever arising again, DeSantis is working towards sanctioning the bill that gives him control over a special governing district that Walt Disney World currently operates.
The bill aims at renaming and restructuring the Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID), the name that the Disney Government currently goes by. The RCID was created under the Reedy Creek Improvement Act passed by the government of Florida in 1967 at the behest of none other than Walt Disney himself while Walt Disney World was in its initial planning stages. Ironic, much?
The RCID functioned as an unrestricted county government until a law restricting its autonomy was passed in April 2022 effective from June 2023. It is comprised mostly of members appointed autonomously by Disney. This new legislation will mostly leave RCID’s functional powers intact but enable the governor to appoint a five-member oversight board to monitor and also redirect the RCID’s operations when needed.
The RCID has faced widespread criticism for functioning in favor of Disney under the garb of corporate social responsibility. This stands in direct violation of one of the most crucial rallying points that Walt Disney cited to sway the Florida Government into bringing RCID into being. Walt Disney had initially proposed an Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (EPCOT), an experimental initiative to engage in research and development regarding urban city-planning innovation. The only ground-work that stands in the EPCOT’s favor is a second Disney theme park established in 1982.
Ron DeSantis, along with other Republican leaders has called a session to mitigate RCID’s autonomy. This ongoing legislative session will also entail a discussion on social issues, immigration, and gender issues.
DeSantis’s move is the latest development in his highly publicized tussle with Disney over the Don’t Say Gay bill. The bill bans education on sexual orientation in schools and Disney vehemently opposed it. The Don’t Say Gay Bill, and the ferocity with which DeSantis defended it, was one of the biggest contributors to his landslide Senate victory a few months ago.