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DeSantis’ Disney Takeover Hits the Parks

DeSantis monorail inspection
Credit: Disney

Back in April 2023, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis officially dissolved the Reedy Creek Improvement District. The special district had been around since 1967 and allowed Disney to function as its own form of government. DeSantis and the Republican-led Florida legislature voted to dissolve Reedy Creek after DeSantis and Disney began locking horns in March 2022.

Disney vs DeSantis

Credit: Wikipedia

Related: Disney Gets a Big Break in Bringing Back Reedy Creek

As part of Reedy Creek’s dissolution, the embattled governor announced that the state would also be taking over the inspections of Disney’s most iconic transportation option — the monorail. Prior to the dissolution, Disney was able to have its own inspectors come in and make sure the monorail was operating safely. However, DeSantis said that that would no longer be acceptable, so he would send in state inspectors to do the work.

Ron DeSantis

Credit: Gage Skidmore, Flickr

It’s been eight months, but that promise has finally come to fruition. According to ClickOrlando — a local news site — the Florida Department of Transportation has begun the process of regulating the Walt Disney World monorail:

“Being that this is the first time that the State has had oversight, FDOT is doing its due diligence to thoroughly complete the review while ensuring the safety of travelers,” said FDOT District Five Public Information Director Cindi Lane.

FDOT’s Structures Maintenance Office, which inspects hundreds of bridges and other structures across the state, has begun conducting field inspections of Disney’s monorail structure.

As part of that process, Disney has provided FDOT with safety manuals and other existing monorail documentation, Lane said.

Exterior view of Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Credit: Disney

Related: Disney Slams DeSantis’ Disney Board With ANOTHER Lawsuit

While it may not seem like a big deal to have state inspectors looking at the monorail system, they actually hold immense power. FDOT inspectors can choose to suspend Disney World monorail service while they are doing their inspections. We do not know how long they could keep the monorails down. Thankfully, that has not yet happened.

Magic Kingdom monorail

Credit: Disney

Since the state’s takeover of Walt Disney World Resort and the Reedy Creek District, things have gone from bad to worse between Disney, Governor DeSantis, and his new board running Reedy Creek.

The board has tried to force Disney to dissolve its Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion program. The head of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District — Glen Gilzean — called the program “unAmerican.” However, just two years ago, he was praising Disney and its DEI program for all the positive work it was doing in the area.

Glen Gilzean Ron DeSantis

Credit: Central Florida Urban League

The district has also lost dozens of employees, some of whom worked for Reedy Creek for decades. No member of the CFTOD board has any experience working in the theme park industry. Those who have left said that morale is at an all-time low and called the board “unqualified and incompetent.”

Disney is currently suing the CFTOD for violating its First Amendment Rights, as well as breach of contract.

Do you think Florida should have taken over the Disney monorail? Let us know in the comments!

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!

19 comments

  1. reedy creek is back. why don’t you post this???

    • Unfortunately Karen they don’t post it mainly because it’s not true , Reedy Creek is not Back it’s still CFTOD .
      The Reedy Creek has already been litigated in favour of the state of Florida, and this has not been overturned .

  2. Absolutely YES !
    As the Monorail Transverses is not contained to the inside of any one theme park such as MAGIC KINGDOM OR EPCOT .
    Now that Disney lost its self governing status it proper that the Governing Party CFTOD takes over the inspections and safety of the public.
    As far as a dozen or so people have decided to seek out other opportunities and like disgruntled employees they want to spread false information stating that CFTOD doesn’t have qualified employees , The DEI experiment has shown multiple failures in the qualified personnel , CFTOD will hire qualified people not base on who they are but actually Qualification . I have full confidence in this process.

    • The Republicans are such a mess not only in Floridabut in the….the arrogance and belligerent defiance is pure recklessness… the non carring and pure selfishness clearly affects people’s safety and efficiency to do things correctly and with integrity…VOTE BLUE ALL THE WAY…DEINSANTITS AND TRUMP ARE COWARDS

    • Disney will be in Florida long after the failure that is DeSantis’s tenure, is over and forgotten. Except, perhaps, as a punchline.

  3. Since the monorail is wholly in WDW, on private property, and is not a common carrier, the state has no real excuse to take over, unless they choose to do do for all rides in Disney and Universal.

    • Unfortunately that is not true. If you will look at all the buses on WDW you will see their Dot transportation numbers. During Covid when Disney decided to end their mask mandate, the transportation system had to maintain the mandate until the DOT removed it. The FLDOT has authority over all mass transit within the the state.

    • DeSantis is a buffoon looking for attention. He wants to seem important to his political party. If he truly wanted to be helpful then be for the people NOT be a showman.!

  4. WDW should have FL state do everything and make the state have to eat the cost and make the taxpayers pay. Teach them a lesson for supporting DeathSantis. He already killed the state agriculture business, might as well kill tourism too.
    F’ Florida, it’s a bass ackwards state and DeSantis is a dope.

  5. There have been a lot of incidences involving the monorail over the years. I have not been a fan of Disney having total control over part of the state. It was not fair to competing businesses such as Universal and other parks. Maybe now that they will have some competition they will feel the pinch of some of the things they have implemented as well as raising the costs for going to Disney a once in a lifetime trip for many people. Universal is starting to take over Disney’s market.

    • Stephanie, You obviously have no idea that there many, many businesses in Florida that have the same type of agreement and latitude that Disney had. Disney pays and has always paid a boat load of taxes. In 2022 they generated $40 billion in economic impact across the state of Florida and more than a quarter of a million total jobs in fiscal year 2022. So while you do your happy dance about “feeling the pinch” Disney goes under so does a large portion of Florida!

  6. With FDOT doing the inspections now, the state issuing the certified inspection report signed by the state agency will be at risk for lawsuits in the event of an accident, injury or death. Remember when Disney did the inspections it all fell on Disney. Now everybody gets sued, State, FDOT, inspectors, as well as Disney. More work for the court system to figure out who’s responsible and who signed off approving the inspection certificate.

  7. Reedy Creek became a tax to profit organization. They could subsidize Disney’s public safety and public works. Inspection of public transportation vehicles should be done by the state. Elevators should be inspected by the state. Disney is a business and should pay like all other businesses do. Apparently, Reedy Creek was top heavy and provided lush salaries to insider employees. That was not in the public interest. Disney routinely underpays its workers. Many live in their cars. Reedy Creek was part of the sweetheart deal Florida gave Walt Disney to build his resort in our state. Walt promised lots of jobs and taxes in return. After Walt died, the company lost sight of his vision and ignored his promises. Igor need to go. The stock is underperforming and the company has lost its way.

  8. Leave disney be they do alot of good in many areas u mess with them u mess with many peoples lifes.

  9. Absolutely not! Disney has been maintaining the monorail since it was built. Why does the state need to step in now? I would think the state could receive reports from Disney regarding inspections and maintenance.

  10. Frankly I think they should have left Disney Reedy Creek alone. And worry about more things regarding the state of Florida.

  11. Disney has been performing their own inspections since day 1 and and doing fine. The fact that the state has taken that on now will cause a lot of problems, especially for resort guests.

    DeSantis is a narcissist, plain and simple, and anyone that goes against a narcissist will have a HUGE retaliation on their hands!

    I personally am hoping that DeSantis will be knocked off of his imaginary throne and crawl away.

  12. If you don’t like it change the Vote to change the s
    STATE legislation. The Governor is not the only person with the authority to change this though, that would help. The legislation literally just doing what they are told is ruining the state as well. We can’t get insured, everything is uber expensive, agriculture is being ruined, and so is tourism. Florida’s people need to wake up, stop the culture war nonsense, and start voting for a better future. By the way, stripping a company of being able to control itself and it’s own property for political purposes is communism. Period.

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