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DeSantis calls Disney’s work it’s “mission”, says the company is “going to follow laws”

On Thursday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis spoke about the law that passed last week, eliminating special districts in Florida created before the ratification of Florida’s constitution in 1968, specifically Disney’s Reedy Creek special district, according to WESH Channel 2 in Orlando.

According to WESH, “the clock is ticking for Disney.” Though the new law that dissolves the Reedy Creek Improvement District doesn’t go into effect until next summer, it only gives Disney a little more than 13 months to ready itself for the dissolution of the district.

Reedy Creek

Credit: Reedy Creek Improvement District

RELATED: After Florida votes to dissolve Reedy Creek, Disney receives bid to build new theme park resort in South Texas

During a town hall meeting in Orlando with FOX News, Governor DeSantis said that Disney will have to live under the same laws as every other Florida entity.

“It just simply ends with [Disney] being treated the same as every other company in Florida,” said DeSantis. “They’re going to follow laws. They’re not going to have their own government. They’re going to pay their debts, pay their taxes.”

The Florida governor made no attempt to misrepresent the reasons for the Reedy Creek dissolution; it was clear that the elimination comes in response to Disney’s public stance on Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law.

ron desantis disney sign

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Initially, Disney CEO Bob Chapek told employees at The Walt Disney Company that Disney would not be taking a public stance for or against House Bill 1557.

“As we have seen time and again, corporate statements do very little to change outcomes or minds,” Chapek wrote to employees. “Instead, they are often weaponized by one side or the other to further divide and inflame. Simply put, they can be counterproductive and undermine more effective ways to achieve change.”

Gov. DeSantis: Disney's "woke ideology" may cause the company to lose its  "special privileges" in Florida - Disney Dining

Credit: Canva Creation

But only days later, in response to growing criticism of the embattled Disney CEO and growing pressure for him to speak out against the bill, Chapek told employees of the Walt Disney Company that “it is clear that this is not just an issue about a bill in Florida, but instead yet another challenge to basic human rights,” telling them “you needed me to be a stronger ally in the fight for equal rights and I let you down. I am sorry.”

But Governor DeSantis says Disney’s pledge to see the Parental Rights in Education bill repealed is actually an attack on Florida parents, saying he isn’t comfortable with such an entity having special privileges in Florida.

“I am not comfortable having one company with their own government and special privileges¬†when that company has pledged itself to attacking the parents in my state,” he said. “When that company has very high up people talking about injecting pansexualism into programing for young kids, it’s wrong. Walt Disney would not want that.”

Walt Disney review: a thrilling story that's all a bit ... Disneyfied |  Television | The Guardian

Credit: The Guardian

But DeSantis also had very positive things to say about the good work that Disney has done, even calling it their “mission.”

“And so get back to the mission,” he implored. “Do what you did great. That’s why people love the company, and you’ve lost your way. Maybe this will be the wake-up call that they need to get back on track.”

animated walt disney with the fab 5

Despite recent reports about the detriment the dissolution will cause for Florida residents in Orange County, DeSantis says it’s just not true.

“They are Reedy Creek,” DeSantis explained. “It’s fiction. They are paying money to run their operations; they will continue paying money to run their operations, and that will be true if the state is in charge of a district, if it’s dissolved to the locals, it doesn’t matter. That is going to continue to happen.”

About Becky Burkett

I'm an enthusiastic writer who finds joy in random things like cold weather, snow, "I Love Lucy," "The Andy Griffith Show," journals full of blank paper, countdowns to Christmas, the month of December, "Toy Story," "Sleeping Beauty," my 4 kids, my 4 shih tsus, Disney Parks history, Imagineering and visiting the parks. I think Walt Disney is the standard against which genius should be measured. I love to write about Disney Parks, Disney history, all things Imagineering and PIXAR. I adore the colors, story and art direction of Disney's "Sleeping Beauty" (Team Make it Blue!), and "Toy Story" is life (minus "Toy Story 4"). I believe Walt Disney was so much more than an entertainment and theme park tycoon; I believe he was a savant with a vision for life and how it could be if happiness and kindness are strived for. I love Biergarten at EPCOT and 1900 Park Fare at Disney's Grand Floridian. You can find me croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room, chillin' on the PeopleMover or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. I'm always looking for Imagineers in the parks, and I'd rather meet Joe Rohde and Tony Baxter than anyone in Hollywood! Hey, if you dream it, you really can do it!