This article was last updated on May 19, 2023
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Disney CEO Bob Iger confirms the conflict
As previously reported on our platform, Disney has expressed discontent over Governor Ron DeSantis’s behavior towards the company, which has been a fixture in Orlando, Florida. In a recent statement, Disney CEO Bob Iger did not deny the tension between the two entities. Iger said that he was “questioning” whether the governor appreciated the jobs and $17 billion Disney brings into the state of Florida each year.
Disney faces decision
Although Disney is still committed to its presence in Florida, the company is thinking of ways to remind the governor of its importance. One possibility being considered is that the park might be shut down for a while under the guise of “renovations,” which will completely exclude all income into Florida. However, no decision has been approved yet, but it remains an option for the company if the governor continues with his present conduct.
A well-placed insider confirmed that Disney might be considering the “nuclear option” of withdrawing from Florida altogether. If the company decides to pursue this path, it will be a massive blow to the state, considering how much the entertainment conglomerate has contributed to the economy since its opening.
Disneyland vs Walt Disney World in Florida
Walt Disney World Resort in Florida is a bigger, more extensive version of Disneyland in California, carrying multiple theme parks and dozens of hotels in its portfolio. Disney has done a remarkable job of transforming Orlando into a world-class tourist destination, boosting the economy and tourism industry to an unimaginable level. By this action towards Disney, the governor is apparently jeopardizing years of economic gains for the state.
The Governor’s history with Disney
It is important to note that Gov. DeSantis has a somewhat unique political history with Walt Disney World, with two members of his staff intimately linked to Disney’s lobbying arm. His former deputy chief of staff even left the governor’s office to become a Disney lobbyist in the Florida Legislature.
Despite this affiliation, the governor recently signed a bill preventing cruise lines and other businesses from requiring customers to present “vaccine passports” before boarding. Disney has stated that this requirement will not apply to their parks, but it could become a political football, considering the governor’s other choices which Disney has been critical of.
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