DeSantis allies abolish all diversity programs from Disney World district

DeSantis allies abolish all diversity programs from Disney World district

In the past, what was once Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District in Central Florida had strong DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) programs. But that changed on Tuesday, August 1, when all DEI programs were abolished in what is now the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District.

The Associated Press (AP) reports that the District officially announced that the programs were being eliminated along with any job duties related to them.

“Also axed were initiatives left over from when the District was controlled by Disney supporters, which awarded contracts based on goals of achieving racial or gender parity,” AP notes.

In the late 1960s — when Walt Disney World was in the planning stages — Reedy Creek was established as a special governing district for Disney. And in 1971, Disney World opened. It was designed as a sister theme park for Disneyland, which opened in Anaheim, California south of Los Angeles in 1955.

The Reedy Creek Improvement Act of 1967 gave Reedy Creek the authority of a county government. But 2023 marked the end of Reedy Creek, which far-right Gov. Ron DeSantis and his MAGA allies eliminated because of Disney’s criticism of Florida’s controversial “Don’t Say Gay” law. Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a conservative non-MAGA Republican, was vehemently critical of DeSantis’ campaign against Disney — arguing that it was “crazy” for the governor to declare war on a company that provided so many jobs in his state.

AP notes, “As punishment, DeSantis took over the district through legislation passed by Republican lawmakers and appointed a new board of supervisors to oversee municipal services for the sprawling theme parks and hotels. Disney sued DeSantis and his five board appointees in federal court, claiming the Florida governor violated the company’s free speech rights by taking retaliatory action.”