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What happens at Disney, stays at Disney

The ongoing political and cultural clashes over gender, sex and education have proceeded in a similar manner as any other hot-button issue.

In Florida, a law was recently passed to prohibit any teaching of gender identity or orientation to children in grade three and below or to any grade that the law can be interpreted as inappropriate. Governor Ron DeSantis was criticized by The Walt Disney Company for the law being signed, and in retaliation, he struck from the law the Reedy Creek Improvement District.

This obscure part of Florida law has now resurfaced into the public consciousness and is possibly the most publicized it has ever been. 

The district is a plot of land that contains part of the Disney World Resort but is housing special provisions regarding power usage, sewage disposal and its own security force. It is common for high-population volume destinations to have their own security forces. 

However, this special district status allows Disney to enjoy freedom from Florida state laws and act as its own county. As with any amusement park, there’s the possibility of safety incidents and even deaths that are part of its operation. 

This raises a startling question: who knows how many other incidents or deaths could have been impacted by this law in their court cases?

In one such case, the death of a man at the resort prompted his parents’ desire to see the security records held by Disney. Since Disney labeled itself as a “night-watchman” service that runs as part of the district’s security, the parents were denied access to the records.

Later, it was argued that Florida businesses would have to publicize their records, with some saying it was required because of how Disney became entwined with the law by effectively running their own government. Cases like this show how business and entertainment can quickly gain enough of a foothold over daily life that it can lead to serious ramifications.

Barring the pending nature of some parts of this repealing of the district, such as the unsure nature of local counties having to absorb the debt of Reedy Creek, the question should be how this law was enacted in the first place. It was done because of how it was pitched to be land used for testing innovations in city planning and construction. This turned out to be too costly and was later left for more space to construct more of the resort. 

Really, it has continued to exist in order to appease Disney and not lead to any serious debt being put on local counties around it. Even then, this action against Reedy Creek will not impact other tax breaks Disney has or its overall power over those who consume its products.

Even if the argument and political show that is being put on by the Florida governor and Disney is overly dramatic, it has caused many to see how corporations and media have enjoyed government favoritism.

What should be done about this is up to those who do consume their media by reconciling their values with their desires. It has to be done while balancing ideals like capitalistic, laissez-faire attitudes and justice.

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