My Mother-In-Law loves Walt Disney. Not only was he a visionary in the field of animation, but he was also a true entrepreneur in his theme park ventures. After successfully kick-starting his first Disneyland theme park in California in 1955, ten years later he began to develop a larger more complex Walt Disney World just a few miles southwest of Orlando, Florida. Sadly, Walt Disney passed away in 1966 before the opening of the park in 1971.
Walt Disney’s brother, Roy, worked tirelessly to see Walt Disney World come to life after Walt’s death. He also secured a sweet tax deal with the State of Florida that gave Walt Disney World almost complete autonomy, including control over police and fire units as well as infrastructure management, at all of its properties. The Reedy Creek Improvement District that was enacted by the State of Florida in 1967 that has provided Walt Disney World’s self-governance came to an end on April 22, 2022.
After many years of creating a magical world for children, young and old, executives at Disney have decided to align with the political “woke” culture. Disney Executives vociferously expressed their disapproval of the CS/CS/HB 1557: Parental Rights in Education, which became falsely known as “the Don’t Say Gay Bill”.
“Parental Rights in Education; Requires district school boards to adopt procedures that comport with certain provisions of law for notifying student’s parent of specified information; requires such procedures to reinforce fundamental right of parents to make decisions regarding upbringing & control of their children; prohibits school district from adopting procedures or student support forms that prohibit school district personnel from notifying parent about specified information or that encourage student to withhold from parent such information; prohibits school district personnel from discouraging or prohibiting parental notification & involvement in critical decisions affecting student’s mental, emotional, or physical well-being; prohibits classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in certain grade levels; requires school districts to notify parents of healthcare services; authorizes parent to bring action against school district to obtain declaratory judgment; provides for additional award of injunctive relief, damages, & reasonable attorney fees & court costs to certain parents.”
In my opinion, I’m pretty sure that Disney Executives did not take the time to even read the Bill. Although I was very uncomfortable talking to my kids about sex when it was time to have “the talk”, I’d be furious if a school teacher took that responsibility away from me. On top of that, classroom instruction by school personnel on sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through third grade is simply not appropriate.
In their rush for being “inclusive”, Disney Executives doubled down with their opposition to common sense parental rights.
“Disney’s general entertainment content president Karey Burke vowed at the meeting to make at least half the characters in the company’s productions LGBTQIA and racial minorities by year’s end — which doesn’t reflect society…the company has totally gone off the rails. From critical race theory to gender ideology, executives are pushing extreme left-wing activism in every facet of the company, from erasing the words ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ from its theme parks to tracking ‘canonical trans characters’ in its children’s programs.”
I truly believe that we as Americans have the fundamental right of freedom of choice. That also includes corporate choice. All choices have a consequence. Disney’s choice to go “woke” had a severe financial consequence.
With Governor DeSantis’ signature on the repeal of the Reedy Creek Improvement District, Walt Disney World not only will be subject to the governance of Orange and Osceola Counties, effectively losing the perks of autonomy, they will also be confronted with a much higher tax bill that would cover the costs both Counties would incur for government services to the park. The tax revenue has been roughly estimated at an extra two billion dollars. This includes County taxes for police, firefighters, sanitation, animal control, as well as many other services that Walt Disney World has done on its own for decades.
Walt Disney had a vision. Through technological innovations and alliances with State and Local Governments, he transformed his films into a theme park industry giant. Despite his critics, his vision of a modern corporate utopia as an extension of traditional American values has taken root in the American psyche for decades. It’s truly a shame that his vision has been distorted by a purely political agenda.