Florida Governor’s Surprise Decision Spells Trouble for Disney World Attendance

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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis waving inside of a frame with the Cinderella Castle and the Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse statue to the right.

Credit: Edited by Inside The Magic

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced a new Florida law that will drive millions of guests away from the Walt Disney World parks.

Ron DeSantis in a blue suit with a red tie stands superimposed on an image of disneyland featuring sleeping beauty's castle under a bright rainbow.
Credit: Inside The Magic

DeSantis Relaunches Freedom Sales Tax Holiday, Will Affect Walt Disney World

During a press conference in Tampa, Governor Ron DeSantis unveiled Florida’s reinstated Freedom Sales Tax Holiday Initiative. “We want people to get outside,” expressed the Florida governor, announcing that the sales tax holiday would run from July 1 to July 31. The event occurred at the Tampa Bay History Center, emphasizing the state’s commitment to outdoor activities.

During this tax holiday, purchases of general outdoor supplies, camping gear, and other outdoor-related items will be exempt from taxes. Additionally, various events and activities, such as movies, live music, sports events, festivals, fairs, entry to state parks and museums, and annual passes, will be tax-free throughout July. Governor DeSantis described this initiative as an integral part of enjoying the summer in Florida.

Moreover, Governor DeSantis revealed that Florida residents would enjoy complimentary access to state parks during the Memorial Day four-day weekend. “We’ve got the best state park system in the United States,” he proudly proclaimed, highlighting the state’s commitment to providing accessible outdoor recreation opportunities.

Ron DeSantis waving with a smile, superimposed over an image of the colorful entrance to walt disney world, suggests a greeting or a celebratory moment at the renowned theme park.
Image Credit: Inside The Magic

The Freedom Month Sales Tax Holiday aims to alleviate families’ financial burdens during the summer. It eliminates the sales tax on items essential for summer activities, including boating and water activity supplies, fishing gear, camping equipment, and outdoor essentials such as sunscreen and bicycles. Admissions to various events and performances scheduled between July 1, 2024, and December 31, 2024, will also be tax-free, encouraging participation in cultural and recreational events across the state.

Overall, the reinstatement of the Freedom Sales Tax Holiday Initiative underscores Florida’s dedication to promoting outdoor recreation, supporting local businesses, and enhancing the quality of life for residents and visitors alike.

With millions of Floridians heading outdoors during this time, the Walt Disney World parks and guests will surely see some interesting outcomes from this new holiday. After losing the DeSantis campaign earlier this year, the Florida Governor is hard at work ensuring that the DeSantis Disney feud is terminated for good, even though the former Reedy Creek remains in his hands. The Walt Disney Company has been quiet about the entire DeSantis Disney ordeal, but Disney supporters and Disney characters seem to stand with the House of Mouse, at least for now.

DeSantis smiling with an iconic fairy tale castle and a rainbow in the background.
Credit: Inside the Magic

How the Freedom Sales Tax Holiday Will Impact WDW and Its Guests

During the sales tax holiday, Walt Disney World parks visitors may encounter immediate and long-term effects. Locally, residents of Florida might allocate discretionary funds toward outdoor supplies and recreational pursuits, capitalizing on the tax-free window. Consequently, this shift may lead to a temporary reduction in spending on Disney merchandise and park experiences.

Indirectly, heightened competition for guests’ time and budgets may emerge. As outdoor activities become more accessible and economical, Disney World might need to amplify its offerings and incentives to sustain visitor interest and attendance.

Furthermore, tax-exempt admissions to alternative events could lure guests away from Disney parks to explore local festivals, concerts, or cultural happenings. Consequently, Disney attractions might experience a marginal decline in attendance during the tax holiday period.

Governor DeSantis smiling broadly with an image of cinderella's castle at walt disney world.
Credit: Inside the Magic

Nevertheless, while the sales tax holiday presents immediate challenges for Disney World regarding revenue and competition, it also offers prospects for innovation and adaptation. Through strategic marketing endeavors and maintaining exceptional experiences, Disney can navigate these challenges and retain its allure as the quintessential destination for unforgettable escapades.

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