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July 23, 2024
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Disney And Florida Sign 15-Year Deal Settling Major Row • Channels Television

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A Florida council that oversees land development at Disney’s theme parks has approved a 15-year deal with the entertainment giant after both sides agreed in March to settle a legal and political dispute.

As part of the agreement, Disney will invest up to $17 billion over the next 20 years to develop its massive Orlando-area resorts and theme parks, the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District said.

Its board unanimously approved the deal on Wednesday.

Disney reached a settlement with state tourism authorities in late March after a row over its pushback against Republican Governor Ron DeSantis’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which aimed to outlaw teaching of LGBTQ issues in some schools.

The agreement reached this week allows the creation of a fifth major Disney theme park in the area, US media reported.

It requires Disney to “make a significant capital investment over an extended period, which will benefit the Central Florida economy by creating new jobs and generating additional state and local revenues,” the oversight board report said.

The clash between Disney and the state began after Florida’s Republican-controlled legislature revoked a unique arrangement that allowed Disney, the state’s largest private employer, to control land development in the area where its parks are located.

The move was viewed as retaliation by DeSantis — once a leading runner in the 2024 White House race — for Disney voicing opposition to Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law, which bans lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity in elementary schools.

Disney had for decades selected its own representatives to govern some aspects of the area but the legislature replaced that body.

The DeSantis-appointed board of Central Florida Tourism Oversight District took over management of the Disney land.

“This new development agreement paves the way for us to invest billions of dollars,” Jeff Vahle, president of Walt Disney World Resort, said.

Disney employs tens of thousands of staff at its theme park and headquarters in the Orlando area.


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