Ron DeSantis Could Change The Future Of Disney Theme Parks Before Running For President

Zinger Key Points
  • Disney could have a battle coming from the governor of Florida.
  • The battle dates back to comments made by the former CEO of Disney.

A potential 2024 presidential candidate appears to be making good on promises to push for changes in the state of Florida that might benefit The Walt Disney Company DIS. Here’s the latest on the battle of Florida governor Ron DeSantis vs. the House of Mouse.

What Happened: A new bill has been proposed in the state of Florida that would give power to DeSantis over a special district that covers the Walt Disney World theme park in Florida, proving that the re-election of DeSantis as governor could be a troublesome development for Disney.

Under the new legislation, DeSantis would have the power to appoint five board members for a special district that has let Disney self-govern the area around Walt Disney World according to Deadline. The bill would go before a special session of the Florida state legislature later this month.

The legislation would rename the Reedy Creek Improvement District to the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District.

The governor of the state would appoint the members, who would be approved by the state senate. Under the rules of the new bill, anyone who has been a theme park employee, officer, director or relative of those three job titles would be prohibited from serving on the board.

Current laws dictate that landowners in the district, like Disney,have control over who sits on the board.

Disney has largely had power over the land, public transportation, airports, fire and EMS of the area around the theme park, with the district created by the state legislature in 1967 ahead of the construction of Walt Disney World.

DeSantis has spoken out about the special district and made it a priority to change the policy, which could potentially harm Disney.

Related Link: Exclusive: How Would People Vote In Biden Vs. Trump And Biden Vs. DeSantis Matchups

Why It’s Important: Previous Disney CEO Bob Chapek and DeSantis sparred over comments made about Florida legislation known as the “Don’t Say Gay” law. DeSantis pushed for changes involving the special district after Chapek's comments about the law, and despite Disney having a new CEO, DeSantis appears to be following through with his words.

“We’re not going to have a corporation controlling its own government,” DeSantis said last week.

Deadline also reported that the new bill could strip Disney of powers like operating airport facilities, stadiums and arenas, from exploring a nuclear power plant and from having authority over certain roads and highways.

Disney indicated on Tuesday that it was monitoring the legislation proposed by DeSantis.

“Disney works under a number of different models and jurisdictions around the world, and regardless of the outcome, we remain committed to providing the highest quality experience for the millions of guests who visit each year,” Walt Disney World Resort President Jeff Vahle said.

Many Democratic politicians and critics have criticized the move by DeSantis to change policies that affect Disney as a form of retaliation for the company's public position against DeSantis’ supported law.

Florida Democratic State Representative Anna Eskamani called the new bill “a clear power grab by the governor.”

The new bill from DeSantis and the state of Florida could add to the troubles ahead of new Disney CEO Bob Iger, who returned to lead the company. Iger faces a battle with activist investors, disgruntled fans of previous management and a stock price that struggled. Now add in the new bill and things could be challenging for Disney moving forward.

Disney reports first quarter financial results Wednesday after market close. The company is expected to post earnings per share of 79 cents and revenue of $23.36 billion, according to data from Benzinga Pro.

DeSantis is expected to run in the 2024 presidential election and be a front-runner for the GOP nomination ahead of former President Donald Trump. DeSantis has not officially announced his candidacy. 

DIS Price Action: Disney shares are up 1.6% to $111.63 on Tuesday, versus a 52-week range of $84.07 to $157.50.

Read Next: Exclusive: Benzinga Poll Unveils How US Favors Biden Vs. Trump Vs. DeSantis, How Opinions Shifted Since 2020 

Photo: Shutterstock

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Posted In: NewsPoliticsAfter-Hours CenterTrading IdeasGeneralBob ChapekBob IgerDon't Say GayFloridaRon DeSantis
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