DeSantis Seeks to Overhaul All Disney World Rides and Attractions

in Walt Disney World

Governor DeSantis smiling on the left, and Mickey and Minnie Mouse on the right

Credit: Inside the Magic

A new report indicates Gov. DeSanytis wanted to go after every single ride and attraction at “The Most Magical Place on Earth.”

Reedy Creek on the left and Governor Ron DeSantis on the right
Credit: Inside the Magic

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These actions can all be traced back to early 2022 when Gov. Ron DeSantis introduced Florida’s highly controversial Parental Rights in Education Act, a bill that to this day is being debated and criticized. Under the leadership of then-CEO Bob Chapek, The Walt Disney Company issued a public statement regarding the bill, stating the bill did not align with the values of the company. Gov. DeSantis saw this as a personal attack and immediately set out on a mission to punish The Walt Disney Company as a result. One of the most pressing threats From DeSantsu and other conservative political figures was a motion to get rid of Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District or at least allow the state of Florida to control it.

The Reedy Creek Improvement District allowed Disney to own and operate the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, independently, essentially creating a mini-city for Disney to control. This was put into place decades ago, but all came crashing down in 2023 when the state of Florida officially took control of the district. The Reedy Creek Improvement Act of 1967 allowed Walt Disney World Resort to pay for and operate its municipal services privately, essentially letting the Resort act on its own.

Gov. DeSantis quickly appointed new board members after the state of Florida’s takeover, who gave the district a new name. The RCID is now known as the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District.

Governor Ron DeSantis surrounded by fireworks as Disney Magic Kingdom
Credit: CBS/Disney, edited by Inside the Magic

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The CFTOD has been quick to make some major changes regarding the way Walt Disney World can operate, with Gov. DeSantis threatening even more legal and political action against The Walt Disney Company. Even more potential actions have been uncovered in a recent report from Seeking Rents writer Jason Garcia. Garcia has been keeping a close eye on the development of the CFTOD and was the first to report that morale had dropped significantly as a result of DeSantis’ takeover.

Garcia stated dozens of employees had quit over the “toxic” work environment created by the new district, with many employees claiming DeSantis’ Disney takeover was “incompetent.” In his newest report, Garcia notes that a previously proposed amendment would have allowed Florida regulators to conduct attraction inspections at the Walt Disney World Resort, among many other Florida theme parks. This motion would have eliminated Disney World’s exemption from the state’s rules regarding ride safety.

guests on space mountain at disney world
Credit: Disney

Florida House of Representatives member Lawrence McClure proposed the amendment, which would have “given state regulators the power to conduct ride inspections at Florida’s biggest theme parks.” This amendment would force theme parks to “abide by the same ride-safety rules as smaller attractions.” This was proposed back in April of 2023 and did not gain any traction, being dropped rather quickly.

However, there’s more to the story. Garcia’s report indicates that the proposal was proposed by McClure but was actually the idea of Gov. DeSantis himself. Reports show “that an aide to DeSantis sent the precise language for the amendment to McClure’s office just a few hours before [he] filed it.”

Ron DeSantis
Credit: WikiMedia

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Garcia also notes that just days after this proposal and its subsequent dismissal, Gov. DeSantis stated that he intended to change the way the Walt Disney World Monorail operated.

Along with these threats, Gov. DeSantis has also threatened to raise taxes on hotels within Disney World as well as teasing the idea of building a new state prison right next to the Walt Disney World Resort. DeSantis’ CFTOD board recently approved plans to increase construction costs within the district by 30%, and while not directly targeting Disney, it’s pretty obvious that the new board and DeSantis himself are going after Disney’s throats.

However, both the CFTOD and DeSantis are the subjects of several lawsuits filed by The Walt Disney Company, all of which are yet to be resolved.

What do you think about this story? Have you been to Walt Disney World recently?

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