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Disney’s long battle with DeSantis comes to a $17bn close

Disney ends feud with governor

The Walt Disney Company has ended a feud with Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

The area was known as Reedy Creek but is now under the control of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD). After a prolonged issue with the special tax district outside the famous Orlando Resort, the House of the Mouse has announced a $17 billion development project on the disputed land and Reedy Creek real estate area,

Disney and DeSantis end feud

Last year, DeSantis signed a bill removing Disney’s autonomy from the park’s surrounding area. The governor stated to Reuters, “The corporate kingdom finally comes to an end.”

Orlando and Disney are synonymous, and the company provides a massive swathe of jobs in the area across retail, tourism, and production. DeSantis was criticized for taking on Disney for all the wrong reasons.

He was pursuing the company as they would not acknowledge another of the governor’s bills that quashed equal rights in the state, the colloquially known Don’t Say Gay law.

This law, more formally known as HB1557, Parental Rights in Education Act, banned any instruction or education on gender identity or sexual orientation for children from kindergarten to Grade three in the state.

Disney opposed the law, and DeSantis set about a way to enforce the legislation by asking for a special action to redistrict the area around the park. This then involved rezoning, tax issues, and a host of other moral battlegrounds that started to falter alongside DeSantis’ presidential run.

Disney expansion on the horizon

Disney and the state of Florida agreed to settle the legal issues on March 3rd, 2024, which would pave the way for this most recent announcement. Walt Disney’s company has seemingly outlasted DeSantis and has its lucrative $17 billion new plans approved by the CFTOD. This will bring a fifth and three smaller parks to the new resort, with an estimated 13,000 new jobs.

Disney reaffirmed this in a statement about Reedy Creek, and it’s importance to the state. The company laid its marker down, “Disney has far exceeded anyone’s wildest dreams in terms of economic development. Originally, the company estimated it would invest $600 million in Florida over the course of the entire development. Disney has invested billions of dollars throughout the state of Florida, and employment at Walt Disney World Resort has grown to more than 75,000. It is one of the largest single-site employers in the country and the largest in the state of Florida.”

Image: Disney Connect.

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