Disney World opened its doors in 1971 when the area around Orlando was nothing but alligator-infested swamp land. In order to entice the Magic Kingdom to settle in the area, Florida acted under a special piece of state legislation and gave Disney – and its expansive resort complex in Orange County – a lot of autonomy. Mat Staver of the Florida-based Liberty Counsel explains that under the state's 1967 Reedy Creek Improvement Act, Disney can act pretty much on its own – and however it wants.
"They're treated like a quasi-governmental entity. They're essentially their own governmental entity, with their own district, their own water district, their own taxing district. They had their own police force as well," he tells AFN.
In addition, Disney does its own zoning and planning, processes its own trash, and can issue its own bonds for roads and other infrastructure.
Disney is now boasting its own left-leaning politics as well, as a minority of homosexual and allied Disney employees are promising to work against Florida's "Parental Rights in Education" legislation, a new law that protects young children from being sexually groomed in public school classrooms. Some Florida legislators – in response to Disney's open opposition to the new law – have floated the idea of repealing the Reedy Creek Improvement Act.
"If Disney wants to embrace woke ideology, it seems fitting that they should be regulated by Orange County," tweeted Florida State Representative Spencer Roach (R) on March 30, explaining that he and fellow legislators had met twice to discuss that repeal.
Staver backs that plan to strip the Magic Kingdom of its autonomy and other special privileges.
"Disney is trying to attract young families with young children – and yet they're lobbying against a bill that actually is commonsense parental rights, protects children kindergarten through third grade, and gives parents the rights and say over their education," says the Liberty Counsel founder. "If Disney wants to get into the lobbing business and go against the family values of Florida, then it ought to stop getting the special treatment that Florida has given Disney."
Staver argues that not only is Disney hurting its own brand, it's starting to hurt Florida's as well.
"… They've gone so far liberal and left that they're out of sync with the values of Floridians and, frankly, [with] all the people around the world who come and visit Disney," he concludes.
Following Representative Roach's tweet, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis commented that, in his estimation, Disney has "lost a lot of the pull" it used to have – and that it's time to take a closer look at the Reedy Creek Improvement Act.
"I would say any special privileges that are in law I would like to get rid of generally," DeSantis said during a press conference on Thursday. "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."