MickeyBlog News for May 8th, 2023
This week: the empire sues back. Also, we celebrated May the 4th in style.
One of those things will make you happier than the other in the latest edition of MickeyBlog News.
The CFTOD Sues Disney
Sometimes, you just gotta laugh. Last week, we discussed how The Walt Disney Company has sued a whole bunch of people.
Disney sued Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis and every member of the newly formed Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD).
That’s the group we had previously called the Reedy Creek Improvement District before a whole bunch of nonsense occurred.
The new board members are decidedly anti-Disney and also friends/benefactors of DeSantis.
When this group changed the legally updated rules at Reedy Creek, Disney believed that the board members and Florida’s government had crossed the line.
I’ve read every page of Disney’s lawsuit, which the company filed in federal court. It cites DeSantis himself as one as well as comments made by several board members.
The governor had previously confirmed that he would ask Florida’s gerrymandered legislature to nullify Disney’s Reedy Creek agreement.
Everyone knew that the CFTOD would meet on May 1st to finalize the paperwork. Also, the new board stated its intent to counter sue Disney.
The CFTOD filed that lawsuit this past week, but something funny happened first.
When you sue someone, you must serve them a court summons. So, Disney learned DeSantis’ schedule and handed him the papers at an event.
Meanwhile, Disney didn’t need to work hard for the CFTOD members. They conveniently grouped together on May 1st.
So, on the same day these people sued Disney, they received their summons from Disney.
Alas, the outside interest in this unprecedented squabble causes us to keep covering it for those who haven’t been following since the beginning.
If you’re a longtime MickeyBlog reader, first of all, THANK YOU!
Second, I know that you may feel a bit fatigued by it all. Sadly, the whole conversation will prove unavoidable until a federal court rules.
More about the Disney/DeSantis Battle
Something else happened that merits attention. Florida’s legislature signed the paperwork to take control of monorail inspections.
While the bill’s language didn’t precisely say that, its target is unmistakable.
The responsibility now falls on the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT).
According to the legislation, the FDOT must oversee any “fixed-guideway system” “within an independent special district created by a local act which has boundaries within two contiguous counties.”
While most of what we’re discussing here qualifies as bluster and petulance by both sides, this monorail change, if it holds up in court, comes with ramifications.
Ostensibly, Florida’s government could shut down the monorail if Disney fails a safety inspection.
The odds of Disney failing an unbiased safety inspection are about the same as my winning Wimbledon this year (Spoiler: I won’t).
Alas, the word “unbiased” is doing a lot of heavy lifting in that sentence. Florida could feasibly punish Disney with a sham safety inspection.
Everything is on the table now since Disney and DeSantis are at war.
The Orlando Sentinel indicates that Disney must pass an on-site inspection every three years and other periodic evaluations.
Out of everything involving Reedy Creek, this one piece of legislation represents the one thing that has really changed…and even it may go away if a court rules against it.
Let’s Talk about Something Fun Now!
The big park event this past week happened on Thursday, May the Fourth.
We’ve come to know this as Star Wars Day, and Disney’s celebration seems to get bigger every year.
MickeyBlog wanted to show you the proceedings so we hosted our first YouTube livestream. You can watch it here:
You’ll quickly notice just how crowded the parks get on May the Fourth, and that goes double for Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the home to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
Disney also sold some exclusive merchandise for this year’s Star Wars Day, some of which is still available on ShopDisney.
MickeyBlog loved this year’s festivities so much that we even dedicated our most recent podcast to all things Star Wars:
Walt Disney World Updates
Something you should know this week is that Walt Disney World has modified its dining policy again.
A few weeks ago, Disney kindly changed the rules to eliminate the 48-hour requirement for canceling dining reservations.
We all know how annoying that can be, as we often don’t know we need to cancel until the day of the visit.
Alas, the new change proved a bit too dramatic for Disney.
The parks have updated the rules so that you must speak with a cast member if you want to cancel within two hours of your reservation.
Yes, you must either call Disney’s restaurant hotline or visit the restaurant personally. Frankly, that’s a fair request from Disney.
Even after this modification, the current dining reservation policy is significantly less restrictive than the old one. So, I’m still grateful.
Elsewhere at Walt Disney World, Bob Weis, who once led Walt Disney Imagineering, has earned the ultimate honor.
Disney has added a Bob Weis window on Main Street, U.S.A.! You may recall that Weis retired from Disney on New Year’s Eve, 2022.
So, he didn’t have to wait long for a window!
The other Disney theme park news comes from the West Coast. For starters, Mantis has arrived at Disney California Adventure!
Disney hosts the character greeting as part of the hype for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3. Based on recent history, this character greeting probably won’t last long. Act quickly!
Next, in updating a previous story, Fantasmic! remains offline and probably will for another few weeks. Adjust your plans accordingly.
On the plus side, you can enjoy World of Color – One in a unique way.
Disney will operate the Incredicoaster and two other attractions later into the night!
For a limited time, you can watch the fireworks while riding Jumpin’ Jellyfish, Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind, or the Incredicoaster.
Finally, Disneyland will host a series of Community Coffee meetings to explain Disneyland Forward ideas to Anaheim residents.
These events start in May and last through October. Disney obviously believes it’ll need strong public support to move forward with its plans.
I can’t help but laugh at the cyclical nature of such local politics.
A few years ago, Disney was feuding with Anaheim’s City Council over a rescinded tax break.
Then, Bob Iger argued with California’s governor over pandemic policies.
At the time, Disney’s relationship with Florida politicians was much stronger.
Fast forward a few years, and Disney gets along great with Anaheim/California officials.
Meanwhile, the Florida relationship has turned shockingly adversarial. Who knows what will happen in another five years?
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Feature Photo: Disney