TALLAHASSEE, FL– Governor Ron DeSantis has signed a bill that gives him control of Walt Disney World’s self-governing District.
“Today the corporate kingdom finally comes to an end,” he said at a bill signing ceremony in Lake Buena Vista Monday. “There’s a new sheriff in town, and accountability will be the order of the day.”
The move comes after Disney publicly opposed the Parental rights act also known as the “Don’t Say Gay,” bill that restricts classroom discussions about gender identity and sexual orientation last year.
Governor Ron DeSantis vowed to dissolve Disney’s self-governing status due to the entertainment giant’s refusal to back down.
As part of the restructuring process, DeSantis has appointed a five-member board to oversee the government services of the theme park’s properties.
The board is comprised of Tampa Lawyer Martin Garcia, the founder of the conservative education group Moms for Liberty Bridget Ziegler, Clearwater attorney Brian Aungst Jr., Central Florida attorney Mike Sasso, and the founder of the ministry The Gathering, Ron Peri.
According to DeSantis, the board will begin work as soon as next week.
The new law will also change the district’s name from Reedy Creek to the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District and prevents people who have worked with or contracted with a theme park in the past three years from serving on the district’s new governing board.
The law, however, keeps the special district’s tax benefits intact.
Jeff Vahle, the President of Walt Disney World Resorts told CNN after the passing of the bill last month that they were “ready to work within this new framework, and we will continue to innovate, inspire, and bring joy to millions of guests who come to Florida to visit Walt Disney World each year.”
Disney was originally granted a self-governing district in the 1960s as part of a deal to build a futuristic city that would include a transit system and urban planning innovations in Orlando.
Having a separate government was instrumental to the plan as it allowed for allows the district to issue bonds and provide zoning, fire protection, utilities, and infrastructure services on its land.
The futuristic city never came to fruition and Disney instead moved to create a second theme park that opened in 1982.
The park has since brought millions of people to the Orlando area.