Back in 1967 when Disney World was just a gleam in Mickey’s eye and states around the country were vying for Walt Disney’s approval to build his second theme park, the Florida legislature passed the Reedy Creek Improvement Act, which gave the Walt Disney Company a special carve-out, making it a self-governing enclave.
The Act gave Disney “the ability, the power to build a nuclear power plant, an airport manufacturer, distill and distribute alcoholic beverages and lots of other things,” said Dr. Richard Foglesong, author of Married to the Mouse in an interview with a Florida TV station last year.
Disney has since become an extraordinarily powerful media conglomerate and is now using that power to advance an agenda at odds with the beliefs and values of a large percentage of its customer base. So many Florida Republicans, sick and tired of Disney’s nauseating virtue signaling, want to strip Disney of its special status, making the company subject to reasonable oversight from Orange County.
Yesterday was the 2nd meeting in a week w/fellow legislators to discuss a repeal of the 1967 Reedy Creek Improvement Act, which allows Disney to act as its own government. If Disney wants to embrace woke ideology, it seems fitting that they should be regulated by Orange County. pic.twitter.com/6sj29Gj6Wz
— SpencerRoach (@SpencerRoachFL) March 30, 2022
Ron DeSantis, Florida’s governor and potential GOP candidate for president in 2024, hasn’t yet given the plan his full endorsement, but he’s sending a clear message to Disney to stick to making kids smile and entertaining families—and stay the hell out of politics.
DeSantis continued, “I think what has happened is there’s a lot of these special privileges that are not justifiable, but because Disney had held so much sway, they were able to sustain a lot of special treatment over the years.”
DeSantis said that Disney has “lost a lot of the pull that they used to have” over the company’s reaction to the parental rights law and said he thinks that’s a “good thing for our state because the state should be governed by the best interest of the people.”
“I would say any special privileges that are in law I would like to get rid of generally,” DeSantis added. “I think in this particular case with Disney, I just don’t think you have very many people in the legislature anymore who are going to be able to defend a lot of what has been done over many years to really have them almost govern themselves in some of these things. That was probably never appropriate to start, but is certainly not appropriate now at this point.”
There’s a reason that DeSantis is tiptoeing around the issue of Disney self-governance: The Walt Disney Company is the largest GOP donor in the state of Florida. For that reason and others, the author of Married to the Mouse thinks the threat by Republicans to revoke Disney’s self-governing status is political “March Madness.”
“If you ask me whether it’s politically possible to take these privileges away from the Disney company, I don’t think so,” Foglesong said. “I think that cooler minds will prevail and that this is really a shot across the bow to try to bring the Disney company, Mickey Mouse if you will, into line with Governor DeSantis. I thought it was more of March Madness of the political kind, the thought that the Republican Party, which used to be the party of business, would want to take on of their biggest donors.”
Even the threat of revoking their self-governing status has to be giving Walt Disney Company board members a case of the willies. But at least the company has been put on notice that there are limits to DeSantis’s patience with their woke advocacy, and if they’re not careful, Disney customers and fans are going to be taking their business elsewhere.