LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA — When Governor DeSantis doubled down on his criticism of the original development deal the state of Florida made with the Walt Disney Corporation back in the 1960s, he made it clear that Florida would stand up for what’s right even under pressure from large corporations.
“I don’t care what a Burbank-based California company says about our laws,” the governor said after Disney used its influence to push a “woke agenda” and vowed to get Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law repealed.
But in an apparent diversion, Disney’s CEO Bob Iger told shareholders on Monday that “a company has a right to freedom of speech just like individuals do.” He said that Governor DeSantis got “very angry over the position Disney took.”
UNION OF THE “WOKE MOB” AND A CORPORATION
The fight between Disney and DeSantis revealed more than the entertainment conglomerate’s corporate views which Bob Iger says are protected by the First Amendment. DeSantis led a fight involving the Florida Legislature against a union between the “woke mob” and a big corporation. According to DeSantis, this type of alliance is a direct threat to personal liberty and our republican form of government.
“Allowing a corporation to control its own government is bad policy, especially when the corporation makes decisions that impact an entire region,” said Governor DeSantis when he signed the bill that ended the self-governing status and special privileges provided to Walt Disney World through the Reedy Creek Improvement District.
The legislation ended Disney’s self-governing status, forcing Disney to live under the same laws as all other companies in the state. In addition, Disney would have to pay its debts and its fair share of taxes.
“He’s decided to retaliate against us, including the naming of a new board to oversee the property, in effect to seek to punish a company for its exercise of a constitutional right. And that just seems really wrong to me,” Iger said.
Iger also told shareholders that Disney is the state’s largest corporate employer and taxpayer and had planned to invest more than $17 billion into the resort over the next decade. Iger said new jobs would “generate more taxes” and bring more tourists to Florida.
But the announcement seemed to clash with Disney’s announcement in February that the company would go through significant restructuring. Disney said it would eliminate 7,000 jobs as part of a plan to save $5.5 billion in costs in an effort to make its money-losing streaming business profitable.
HIGH TICKET PRICES
Disney is notorious for raising ticket prices – and raising them often. Between 2010 and 2020, Disney hiked fees at double the rate of inflation, according to the Wall Street Journal. The company also raised prices during school vacations and summertime – the busiest season at Disney Parks.
An average day at one of Disney’s Orlando parks for a family of four, assuming both kids are 3 to 9 years old, comes out to $696 before tax – this is for a single day at one park. The cost of the park may be the cheapest part of the experience, depending on where you stay, and for how long.
SLOW EMERGENCY RESPONSE
For years, the Reedy Creek Fire Department – which serves the Walt Disney World Resort area exclusively – has been short-staffed and plagued with broken equipment, leading to slow response time. Why would a corporation like Disney fail to properly supply essential emergency services for theme parks that welcome nearly 170,000 people each day?
In 2021, a guest at Disney’s Bay Lake Tower died from anaphylactic shock after the only rescue vehicle available for the area was on another call. Jon Shirey, President of the Reedy Creek Firefighters Association, said things might have been different for the guest if more medics had been available to respond sooner.
Shirey also provided photos to WESH 2 that show gear piled into the trunk of a Ford Escape after broken-down rescue vehicles were abandoned by firefighters struggling to do their job. In another instance, a transport vehicle carrying a patient who suffered from cardiac arrest broke down on the side of the road and medics had to call for another vehicle to get the patient to the hospital.
“Disney has recently added another weapon to its immoral arsenal – politics. And just like its ‘sex sells’ agenda, Disney’s new ‘woke’ approach isn’t about improving social justice, it’s about making more money,” Law Enforcement Today wrote in an op-ed last July.
Disney made a bold move when it maneuvered to undermine DeSantis and the Florida Legislature. But House Speaker Paul Renner said the company, which played by its own rules for decades and is now under state investigation, doubled down in an attempt to evade the newly created board. “As a result, all legislative options are now back on the table,” said Renner.