Disney Springs Business Owners Express Concerns About Tolls and Taxes to Central Florida Tourism Oversight District Board

During Wednesday’s meeting of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District Board of Supervisors, several Disney Springs business owners made statements of concern about potential tolls and taxes.

Most Disney Springs businesses are not owned and operated by Disney, but by third parties. Speakers at the meeting represented restaurants including Rainforest Café, T-Rex, The Boathouse, Splitsville, Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’, Everglazed Donuts & Cold Brew, and Wine Bar George. One of the speakers also represented Yak & Yeti at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

The owners are worried that possible tolls and taxes threatened by the board and Governor DeSantis could affect their businesses and employees. They also indicated the ongoing tension between the board and Disney has created negative publicity with repercussions on their businesses.

Disney & Governor DeSantis

Ron DeSantis in front of Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World

Governor DeSantis and The Walt Disney Company initially clashed over the corporation’s opposition to a much-debated and controversial Florida law regarding classroom instruction and discussion on sexual orientation and gender identity in public schools, alongside various other recent state laws and proposals in a similar vein.

Bob Chapek was Chief Executive Officer of Disney at the time and initially remained silent and passive on the issue — until massive internal criticisms from cast members and controversy over Disney’s practice of making hefty political contributions to campaigns and individuals allegedly against their own stated human principles came into focus.

In an apparent act of retribution over Chapek’s expression of dissent, the Governor moved forward with various verbal and legal assaults on Disney, including the attempted dissolution of Reedy Creek and the eventual transfer of power directly under his control. DeSantis argues he is attacking a rather vague perception of something he calls “woke politics,” invading the state. He further says he aims to put the people of Florida first through his actions: “Disney has gotten away with special deals from the state of Florida for way too long. It took a look under the hood to see what Disney has become to truly understand their inappropriate influence.”

The Governor insists he will double down on efforts to punish Disney through methods both in the Legislature and the Central Florida Tourism Oversight Board. Notably, he promised to hike Disney’s hotel taxes and institute tolls on the roads around Walt Disney World Resort property.

The Florida legislature also recently filed a bill that would require state inspections of Walt Disney World Monorails.

Disney’s Support of Reedy Creek

rcid reedy creek improvement district 4

Recently, Disney has taken to their official community outreach site to share their view of the Reedy Creek Improvement District in a new post entitled “The Value of Disney Reedy Creek to Florida.”

Take a look at our full coverage here.

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