Governor DeSantis Signs Walt Disney World Monorail Oversight Bill

One day after Disney CEO Bob Iger asked “Does the state want us to invest more, employ more people and pay more taxes, or not?” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has signed a bill into law that has a provision to allow the state of Florida more oversight of the Walt Disney World Resort Monorail system. HB 1305 is the bill that allows the Department of Transportation the ability to inspect Disney’s monorails. The bill is set to go into effect on July 1, 2023.

This law is just one of several initiatives that are being taken by Governor DeSantis and his followers against The Walt Disney Company since it came out against the “Don’t Say Gay” in 2022. This dispute has led to Disney suing DeSantis and state leaders and also the new board for the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District to countersue.

HB 1305 originated in the House of Representatives. It was then amended in the Senate which required the House to approve it again before being sent to Governor DeSantis to be signed into law. This new law requires Disney to submit an annual safety plan to the Florida Department of Transportation. It also requires on-site visits every three years for confirmation of compliance along with other evaluations happening periodically in accordance with the Florida Department of Transportation’s rules. 

Rep. Shane Abbott, R-DeFuniak Springs, said that inspections are needed to make sure that Walt Disney World Resort guests are safe. “FDOT is looking at inspecting this so we know what issues do arise,” he said. “What this is important for is we don’t know what we don’t know right now.”

While the new law doesn’t specifically mention Disney by name, it is very narrowly focused on the way it is written and targets only Walt Disney World Resort. “This seems purely politically motivated and targeted toward one company, and that’s not the role government should play,” said Rep. Anna Eskamani, D-Orlando.

This isn’t the only legislation that has made its way through the Florida legislature that is focused on Walt Disney World Resort. Another measure gave the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District the ability to cancel contracts made by its predecessor, the Reedy Creek Improvement District.