Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is planning to void a contract between the Central Florida Tourism Oversight Board and Walt Disney World. The contract essentially gave Walt Disney World development rights for years to come.
DeSantis to Void Contract
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is planning to void a recent contract that was created by the Reedy Creek Improvement District just before its takeover by Ron DeSantis’ handpicked board members. This contract, created between what is now called the Central Florida Tourism Oversight Board and Walt Disney World, essentially gave Walt Disney World legal rights to certain development aspects at the resort for several decades.
The new board was angered by the “King Charles Clause” Disney included in its final ruling before these newly-appointed members changed out for the takeover. The clause created a decades-long legal legal exception allowing Disney to make many of its own infrastructure and architectural decisions involving Reedy Creek.
DeSantis accused Disney of using the clause to enrich itself at the expense of taxpayers. Disney, however, defended the clause, arguing that it was legal and that it allowed the company to make improvements to its properties. Disney stated:
All agreements signed between Disney and the District were appropriate, and were discussed and approved in open, noticed public forums in compliance with Florida’s Government in the Sunshine law.
Announcement Later Today
DeSantis is reportedly planning his announcement for this contract cancellation later today, in a press conference at 12:45 p.m.
In addition, a report from the NY Post says that the State could introduce new inspections for public transportation including the monorail system, as well as attractions within the parks.
The new measures introduced by DeSantis will be run through the State Legislature, which is majority Republican at this time.
State Inspections Possible
There has been a longstanding Florida statute that exempts Disney World, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld, and other theme park installations from state inspections, so long as the company employs at least 1,000 workers and includes full-time, in-house safety inspectors as part of their roster.
DeSantis could attempt to remove that exemption to put state inspectors into Walt Disney World or other parks to determine if rides or transportation are safe to operate.
This announcement is the latest in an ongoing feud between DeSantis and Disney. Current Disney CEO Bob Iger has claimed that anything DeSantis does against Disney’s progress is “anti-business” and “anti-Florida,” and in a recent interview also stated that he would be willing to meet with DeSantis to resolve any issues.
In the same interview, Iger said that Disney plans to spend $17 billion at Walt Disney World over the next ten years, investing in the parks and opening up more jobs for Floridians.
The tension began after Disney spoke out against a new law in Florida that bans the teaching of sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade. DeSantis has accused Disney of being “woke” and “anti-family.”
It is unclear at this time what the legal ramifications of DeSantis’ plans will be.