Is Disney moving to Georgia? The feud between DeSantis and Disney sparks online rumors

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ feud with Disney seems like a tale as old as time for Floridians who have ridden the years-long roller coaster full of twists and turns. The latest of these is a rumor that the House of Mouse is about to pack up and head to Georgia.

The rumor arose after an April 8 satire reported that the Walt Disney Company announced that it would be relocating Disney World theme park after purchasing a 1,000-acre property in Atlanta, Georgia.

The story also indicated that the new park would include many of the iconic attractions of the original as well as new ones “tailored” to the Atlanta area, such as a new Gone With the Wind ride, a Coca-Cola World exhibit and an Atlanta Braves baseball experience.

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No matter that the land on which Disney World is located spans 39 square miles, nearly 25 times larger than the 1,000-acre property the company reportedly bought, it said groundbreaking is planned for August 2023 .

The story was published on Medium, an online publishing platform founded by Twitter co-founder and blogger Evan Williams that allows anyone — amateurs and professionals alike — to self-publish writings and other documents.

So is Disney leaving Florida for Georgia? In short: no. The story making the rounds on Twitter and other social media platforms is satire.

What many who shared the story didn’t see was the “parody” tag label at the end of the 300-word story. According to the author’s bio, Matt Ryan Allen is a screenwriter, producer and amateur futurist known for the comedies Four Christmases and Block Party.

Fact check website Snopes also pointed out that Disney didn’t make such an announcement, and if it did, the announcement’s seismic impact would make ripples across serious news reports, the inevitable social media frenzy, and — of course — fans that are impossible to ignore .

Why is DeSantis fighting Disney?

The DeSantis-Disney feud began in March 2022 after he signed the Parental Rights in Education Act, also known as “don’t say gay” Account of opponents.

The law banned teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity in Florida classrooms. It originally targeted kindergarten through third grade, limiting similar discussions in higher grades to what is “age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students according to state standards.”

However, the Florida State Board of Education voted on April 19 to extend the law to all grades.

Soon after, Disney, one of Florida’s top employers, came under fire from the Florida Democratic Party and its LGBTQ employees, who staged a walkout over the company’s silence on the issue.

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Disney caved in and became a target after then-CEO Bob Chapek began campaigning against the legislation.

“I called Governor DeSantis this morning to express our disappointment and concern that legislation, if made law, could be used to target gay, lesbian, nonbinary and transgender children and families,” Chapek told Disney shareholders a meeting in March 2022.

Afterward, in video obtained by Fox News Digital, DeSantis lashed out at Disney in front of a group of supporters. “You have companies like Disney that are going to say and criticize parents’ rights, they’re going to criticize the fact that we don’t want transgenderism in kindergarten and in the first grade classrooms,” he said. “If that’s the hill they’re going to die on, how can they possibly explain lining their pockets with their association with the Chinese Communist Party?

How much land does Disney own in Florida?

The The Walt Disney Company owns approximately 25,000 acres of land in Florida, which is approximately 39 square miles. About half of it is still undeveloped.

Disney owns so much land that then-Florida Governor Claude R. Kirk. Jr. signed a law called the Reedy Creek Improvement Act, which formed the Reedy Creek Improvement District and allowed Disney to build the necessary infrastructure for continued development.

Cinderella Castle stands in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World on Monday, April 3, 2023 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

Cinderella Castle stands in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World on Monday, April 3, 2023 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

What is the Reedy Creek Improvement District?

The Reedy Creek Improvement District was created by state law over 50 years ago to exempt 39 miles of land owned by Disney from most state and local regulations, allowing Disney to collect taxes, follow its own building codes, and provide emergency services for its six theme parks and resorts to provide.

At the time it was founded, neither Orange Counties nor Osceola Counties had the services necessary to provide electricity and water to the remote 25,000-acre property on which the Walt Disney World Co. planned to build a recreation settlement .

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In 1967, the Florida Legislature, in conjunction with Walt Disney World Co., created a special tax district—called the Reedy Creek Improvement District—to act with the same authority and responsibility as a county government. according to the county website.

The district provided typical municipal services such as electricity, water, and sewerage, roads, fire protection, emergency medical services, drainage and flood control, and collection and disposal of solid waste and recyclable waste.

The Reedy Creek District was run by a five-member board consists officers of the Walt Disney Co. With DeSantis’ new move, the board would be led by a five-member board, essentially hand-picked by the governor.

What did Disney do with DeSantis’ new board of directors?

On February 8, the day before the Florida House voted to establish the new board, Reedy Creek and Disney quietly discussed and approved a development agreement that would give control of much of what Reedy Creek would have under Disney’s control for the next 30 years had handle transferred .

Under the terms of the pacts and agreements, Disney avoids a substantially hostile state takeover and retains maximum control over the development of the 27,000 acres of the Central Florida theme park resort, including future development, transfer of development rights, and current and future public approval Facilities commitments and maintenance of protection of valuable wetlands and wildlife sanctuaries within the district.

The New District of DeSantis is also prohibited from using the “Disney” name or theme park resort-related symbols without the Company’s permission, nor may it use the likeness of Mickey Mouse, any other Disney characters, or other intellectual property in any use way. In the event of violations, the company can sue for damages, and according to the declaration, the agreement applies forever.

This article originally appeared in the Pensacola News Journal: Disney moves to Georgia? The feud between DeSantis and Disney sparks rumors

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