Amateur Hour in Florida Puts Political Power to the Test. Can Florida Lose Disney?
If Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is successful in devising the ultimate political blunder to satisfy his delusional quest for power and self-gratification, the "Mickey's Freedom Restoration Act" may incentivize Disney to move its theme parks from Florida to North Carolina.
Disney World Florida Statistics:
- There are 77,000 Cast Members throughout the Disney World resort, which makes it the biggest single-site employer in the United States.
- Magic Kingdom Attendance
- Average Daily Visitors: 57,000 (2021)
- Annual Visitors: 21,170,000 (2021)
- Epcot Attendance
- Average Daily Visitors: 34,000 (2021)
- Annual Visitors: 12,410,000 (2021)
- Hollywood Studios Attendance
- Average Daily Visitors: 31,000 (2021)
- Annual Visitors: 11,315,000 (2021) –
- Animal Kingdom Attendance
- Average Daily Visitors: 38,000 (2021)
- Annual Visitors: 13,870,000 (2021)
- Typhoon Lagoon Attendance
- Annual Visitors: 2,248,000 (2019)
- Blizzard Beach Attendance
- Annual Visitors: 1,983,000 (2019)
WGHP reported that North Carolina state senator Michael Garrett (D-Guilford County) had introduced Senate Bill 594, also known as the "Mickey's Freedom Restoration Act," to entice Disney World to relocate to the state.
All of this is outlined in a bill that Senator Michael K. Garrett has introduced, which is referred to as the "Mickey's Freedom Restoration Act."
If the measure is approved, the state will establish a committee with the mission of convincing The Walt Disney Company and its theme parks in Florida to relocate to the state.
At the bill filing, Senator Garrett declared, "North Carolina is a great place to do business." Politicians who jeopardize the economy of their state in order to advance their narcissistic political ambitions are a liability. We've had to learn this lesson the hard way in North Carolina," Garrett continued. "Other states profited from our state's shameful error when HB2, the 'bathroom bill,' passed. I warmly welcome The Walt Disney Company and all other corporations looking for a haven from the madness of the culture wars currently engulfing the great state of Florida," Garrett said.
It all began the previous year when the business issued a statement that was not strong nor forceful enough in its condemnation of the "don't say gay" measure as a danger to the safety of Disney workers and their families.
Since then, DeSantis has been accused of adopting "anti-business" and "anti-Florida" policies by Bob Iger, the chief executive officer of Disney.
The Walt Disney Company, through Disney World, is the state's biggest and most influential employer. The company's special status allowed it to do things like create infrastructure and construct buildings without asking its local government. DeSantis's termination of that special status comes after the company, after much hand-wringing and internal protests from employees, spoke out against Florida's anti-gay "Don't Say Gay" bill — a right-wing bill that DeSantis supports.
DeSantis responded aggressively and inappropriately by overreacting, threatening to violate state law and the rights provided by the First Amendment by withdrawing Disney's municipal sovereignty over the Disney World region. It wasn't until he learned that Disney, being equipped with smart corporate attorneys, had worked out a workaround that denied his newly appointed board of right-wing ideologues the majority of their control over the corporation that he abandoned this idea. Before he discovered this, he had gotten very far in this scheme.
DeSantis did not give in to the pressure. His personal ambitions and delusional ego wouldn't tolerate Disney getting the better of him.
As a childish act of retribution, he is now making threats to construct a rival amusement park or even a jail right next to Disney World.
The proponents of this legislation believe that the state of North Carolina provides a secure and successful atmosphere, which would encourage Disney to make a substantial investment in the company's future.
According to WGHP's reporting, a lawmaker from North Carolina has proposed a bill that would make it possible for Disney to move its operations out of Florida. "The bill introduced by state Sen. Michael Garrett (D), aptly called the 'Mickey's Freedom Restoration Act,' seeks $750,000 to investigate the possibility of luring Disney across state lines." The lawmaker was quoted in a release as stating that "North Carolina is a great place to do business." A.J. MacDougall reported this information.
"Politicians who put their state's economy in danger to further their own selfish political goals are a burden,' Garrett said, in what seems to be an indirect jab at DeSantis, the story stated. "He said that he would 'welcome The Walt Disney Company and all other businesses seeking refuge from the culture war madness currently gripping the great state of Florida."
According to the board Ron DeSantis formed to supervise Disney, the firm has reached a second secret pact to circumvent the Florida governor's efforts to take away some of the advantages it already enjoys.
According to Reuters, Chairman Martin Garcia said at a public meeting on Thursday that a Disney subsidiary responsible for utilities in central Florida had reached an "11th hour deal" to establish its own pricing for utilities until 2032.
DeSantis continues to launch an aggressive and attention-grabbing onslaught against Disney, portraying the company as an adversary of right-wing ideology by utilizing incendiary language specially crafted to have anti-gay connotations.
Going down this rabbit hole is not something a politician would do if their primary objective were to gain political advantage in a presidential primary election. Even the most diehard members of the MAGA movement will have difficulty becoming invested in a fight in Disney World. A private passion drives DeSantis, and he uses his political power to pursue a personal vendetta against his opponent.
So what is Desantis's goal if not just to satisfy his personal egotistical goals?
The public vendetta that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has been waging against Disney over the company's objection to Florida's Parental Rights in Education bill is possibly a broader and clearer message of the GOP to boardrooms nationwide: Stay the hell out of politics.
However, North Carolina sees it as an opportunity of demonstrating to Disney that Senate Bill 594, the "Mickey's Freedom Restoration Act," gives Disney a more hospitable place to move the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT Center, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, and all those other parks, hotels and golf courses.