Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has thought of a new way to harass Disney for opposing his “Don’t Say Gay” law — screwing with Disney World’s monorail train and gondola tram.
On Tuesday, the state’s Republican-led Senate Committee on Fiscal Policy began considering S.B. 1250, a general transportation bill. One amendment would allow state officials to inspect and shut down the company’s monorail and “fixed-guideway transportation systems… to ensure safety and welfare” for passengers and inspectors.
The amendment doesn’t specifically mention Disney. But its provisions only apply to fixed-guideway transportation systems “located within an independent special district created by local act which have boundaries within two contiguous counties.” Only Disney’s monorail and its newly-constructed Disney Skyliner gondola tram fit the bill’s description, The Hill reported.
Historically, Disney has been allowed to inspect and maintain its own transportation systems. The Orlando theme park unveiled its 15-mile monorail in 1971. It has only had a half-dozen incidents during its history, including a 2009 crash that killed a 21-year-old driver and several non-lethal crashes and fires, WFTV reported.
After Disney spoke out against Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law, DeSantis continuously criticized the company in public and oversaw the Florida legislature’s revocation of Disney’s decades-old special zoning agreement to punish them. Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District was established in 1968 and granted Disney World the power to tax itself to pay for water, power, roads, and fire services on the 25,000-acre property near Orlando. In February, DeSantis signed a bill abolishing the district.
The bill also allowed him to create a five-member board (appointed by him) to oversee government services in Disney’s district. However, his board appointees quickly learned that the previous board sneaked in a last-minute development agreement with Disney, allowing it to maintain much of its autonomy and rendering the new board rather powerless.
DeSantis vowed an investigation into the agreement. His new board will meet Wednesday morning to declare the agreement void. If they do, Disney could sue the DeSantis administration for retaliation against its free speech rights, local attorney Jacob Schumer told WFTV. Schumer said he believes Disney would “probably win.”
DeSantis has also threatened to build a prison next to Disney and called for state oversight of Disney World’s rides. His revenge quest has caused him to be ridiculed by a local paper for declaring “thermonuclear war on a cartoon mouse.” He has also been mocked by Saturday Night Live for having married his wife at Disney World in 2009.