Walt Disney World is increasingly under Ron DeSantis' control

DeSantis, Ron

A bill giving the state control over Disney's expansive Orlando theme parks was signed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis as he issued a "buckle up" warning to the public.

The bill gives Mr. DeSantis' Republican-led legislature more oversight while removing Disney of the exclusive authority it had held for more than 50 years.

The action is perceived as payback for Disney opposing state laws that restrict gender and sexuality education.

It comes before Mr. DeSantis' conceivable 2024 presidential campaign.

In Lake Buena Vista, Florida, close to Walt Disney World, he declared on Monday during a bill signing ceremony, "Today, the corporate kingdom finally comes to an end.".

"Accountability will be the norm going forward with the new sheriff in town. ".

The vast Walt Disney World property in Florida operated for more than 50 years as part of the Reedy Creek Improvement District and essentially served as a self-governing territory with control over utilities and a fire department.

This was said to save local tax payers from paying for expensive infrastructure and other expenses associated with running the 43 square miles (111 square kilometers) of property that draws millions of visitors each year.

The new law adds more layers of external oversight for Disney through a five-member board that is now appointed by the state, but it does not dissolve the district or shift its sizable debt to taxpayers.

According to Mr. DeSantis, it also means that Disney will receive the same treatment as other theme parks in Orlando and will no longer be exempt from building and fire safety codes.

Martin Garcia, a Republican donor and attorney from Tampa whose firm gave $50,000 (£41,467) to Mr. DeSantis' reelection campaign, was named to the new board by Mr. DeSantis.

Additionally appointed was Christian Ziegler's wife, Bridget Ziegler, a member of the Sarasota County School Board and co-founder of the right-leaning group Moms for Liberty. Christian Ziegler is the new chairman of the Republican Party of Florida.

According to Mr. DeSantis, the new board will convene the following week, and warned that "buckle up" because "they will be in charge during that board meeting.".

A pay raise for emergency first responders in the newly created Central Florida Tourism Oversight District was one of the first actions Mr. DeSantis suggested would be taken.

Disney, one of the largest media companies in the world, and Florida lawmakers have been at odds since Mr. DeSantis signed a contentious law last April.

Disney issued a public statement opposing the bill, which prohibited gender and sexuality education for students nine years of age and younger in Florida schools.

The "Don't Say Gay" law, which is now in effect, was opposed by those who claimed it would isolate and stigmatize LGBT youth, while those who supported it claimed it would shield kids from inappropriate content.

In response to criticism, DeSantis urged lawmakers to deprive Disney of its unique governing authority.

His profile as a potential 2024 Republican presidential candidate has increased thanks to the public spat between Mr. DeSantis and Disney.

But Mr. DeSantis gave a hint that he was still a fan of the Mouse during a news conference on Monday. Despite everything that has occurred over the last few years, he said, "I've always been very proud of our parks.".

"Coming down here is almost like a rite of passage for people, and many families have had wonderful experiences. However, you need to surround yourself with truth-telling individuals if you get lost.

. "

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