Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ appointees to Disney World’s governing board have launched a contemporary salvo within the battle to regulate the resort, searching for to broaden their authority after their Disney-controlled predecessors abdicated most powers to the corporate.
Supervisors of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District are floating a decision saying the board has “superior authority” over all land improvement selections for the 27,000 acres that make up Walt Disney World, together with for 2 tiny Disney managed cities within the district. The board is about to vote on the decision subsequent week.
The proposal comes two weeks after board members say their Disney-controlled predecessors pulled a quick one by stripping the brand new board of most powers earlier than DeSantis’ hand-picked members might take their seats.
5 new supervisors have been appointed by the Republican governor after the Florida Legislature overhauled Disney’s authorities in retaliation for the leisure big publicly opposing the state’s so-called “Don’t Say Homosexual” laws barring college instruction on sexual orientation and gender id in kindergarten via third grade.
The proposed decision is probably going a place to begin for future authorized tussles between the brand new board and Disney, mentioned Richard Foglesong, a Rollins Faculty professor emeritus who wrote a definitive account of Disney World’s governance in his e book, “Married to the Mouse: Walt Disney World and Orlando.”
“A key query shall be whether or not a board created by the Legislature and appointed by the governor can rescind the constitutionally granted authority of democratically elected native governments,” Foglesong mentioned.
In taking up Disney, DeSantis superior his popularity as a tradition warrior prepared to battle political opponents and wield the facility of state authorities to perform political objectives. It’s a method he’s prone to observe via his anticipated 2024 run for the White Home.
The brand new supervisors changed a board managed by Disney for the earlier 55 years, which operated because the Reedy Creek Enchancment District. Amongst its final acts in February was giving Disney management over design and building on the theme park resort. Reedy Creek board members additionally prohibited their successors from utilizing the title “Disney” or any symbols related to the theme park with out the corporate’s permission, and barred the brand new board from utilizing the likeness of Mickey Mouse, different Disney characters or different mental property.
An electronic mail searching for remark from Disney was despatched on Wednesday.
Specialists mentioned the newest proposed decision received’t affect the earlier board’s settlement with Disney.
“That is in regards to the district managed by the governor’s appointees passing a legislation that its land improvement guidelines prevail over the principles of the cities, that are nonetheless managed by fashionable vote (made up solely of Disney voters),” Jacob Schumer, an Orlando legal professional specializing in native authorities and land use, mentioned in an electronic mail.
Two tiny cities fall inside the Disney district. In response to the 2020 census, Bay Lake had 29 residents and Lake Buena Vista had 24. The 2 municipalities have been fashioned to assist the authorized framework of the Reedy Creek Enchancment District, which was established by the Florida Legislature in 1967.
The cities have elected metropolis councils and mayors who contract with native legislation enforcement for police providers at Disney World, and might be used to claim the corporate’s autonomy over the resort. The cities’ residents are workers, former workers or others with shut ties to Disney.