Disney Outmaneuvers DeSantis in Clash Over Theme Park District
The Walt Disney Co. Magic Kingdom park in Orlando, Florida.Photographer: David Ryder/Bloomberg
Listen to this article
Walt Disney Co. pushed through changes limiting the powers of the municipal authority that governs its Florida theme parks ahead of a controversial takeover by representatives of Governor Ron DeSantis.
The changes were quietly approved last month by the outgoing board of the Reedy Creek Improvement District, the entity that provides fire protection, electricity and other services in the resort area. The last-minute changes restrict the powers of the new board members for decades, including their ability to review theme-park expansions and billboard advertising.
While the maneuver is a victory for the world’s largest theme-park operator, it extends the clash between Disney and Republicans in the state, who have threatened to sue to reverse the changes.
"Disney has once again overplayed their hand in Florida," Bridget Ziegler, one of the new board members, posted on Twitter, accusing Disney of arrogance. "We won’t stand for this and we won’t back down."
The company defended the move, saying in a statement: "All agreements signed between Disney and the district were appropriate, and were discussed and approved in open, noticed public forums in compliance with Florida’s government in the Sunshine law."
The Orlando Sentinel first reported the new agreement, citing lawyers for the municipal entity, which has been renamed the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District.
Read more: DeSantis Takes Aim at Wall Street After Vendetta Against Disney
The "declaration of restrictive covenants," passed by the old board, is valid in perpetuity or, if that’s considered unlawful, until "21 years after the death of the last survivor of the descendants of King Charles III, King of England."
It’s the latest twist in the fight between DeSantis and the corporation that kicked off when Disney criticized a law he signed limiting elementary school teachings about gender identity. Disney had controlled the Reedy Creek district since its founding almost 60 years ago.
More from Bloomberg
How King Charles Got Thrown Into Disney’s Fight With Florida Governor DeSantis
Disney Reaches Deal With Florida Unions for $18-an-Hour Wage
Disney Begins Job Cuts With Goal of Eliminating 7,000 Positions
Disney Fires Marvel Chief Ike Perlmutter After Peltz Fight
DeSantis’s Election Fraud Police Spur Copycat Efforts in GOP-Led States
DeSantis Fights for Everglades As He Neglects Climate Crisis
by Michael Smith
A DC Office Building Offers a Lesson in Glass and Sculpture
by Kriston Capps
A Medieval English Village Is Being Swallowed by the Sea
by Olivia Rudgard
Silicon Valley Bank’s Fall and the Way Forward for US Banking
by Paul J. Davies and Elaine He
No New Highways to Nowhere
In repairing the damage done by highways that divided communities of color, the US risks creating new disasters under the $1 trillion infrastructure law.
The "Highway to Nowhere" in Baltimore, in February 2023.Photographer: Julio Cortez/AP Photo
One of the many devious designs of Robert Moses, Baltimore’s "Highway to Nowhere" has stood as a 1.4-mile gash through the western part of the city for decades. A trench of traffic, these six lanes symbolize so much of what our nation got wrong with its urban highways.
More than 1,000 homes and businesses were razed and a vibrant community was broken apart by the highway’s construction in the 1970s. It was a miserable failure — even by the ostensible goal of connecting white suburbanites to their downtown offices.
More from Bloomberg
Transit Is Great — But It’s Not a Public Good
EU Moves Toward Zero-Emissions Cars After German Deal on E-Fuels
France Asks Airlines to Extend Flight Cuts Through Wednesday
Unions Should Not Comply With New Minimum Service Laws, Says Fbu Chief
Ford’s First Europe-Made Electric SUV Boasts Big Sliding Screen
Hodinkee’s Ben Clymer Restored a 1968 Ferrari in Rome During Covid
by Hannah Elliott
Alcantara Is for More Than Just Your Supercar
by Hannah Elliott
Faulty Credits Tarnish Billion-Dollar Carbon Offset Seller
by Ben Elgin, Alastair Marsh and Max de Haldevang
Air Pollution Casts a Pall Over Booming Bangladesh Megacity
by Peter Yeung