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Disney could pull more investments from Florida amid a tiff with DeSantis

Disney fireworks over water during a nightly show
Nicholas J Stankus/nixter
Disney drew the ire of Florida leaders after opposing last year's so-called Don't Say Gay law. New laws boost the state's oversight of Disney, including its monorail system.

Concerns are mounting over whether Disney will continue to invest in Central Florida if the relationship between the company and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis doesn't improve.

Rick Foglesong, who wrote, “Married to the Mouse: Walt Disney World and Orlando” is an expert on the history of Disney in Florida. Disney has canceled a $1 billion dollar Lake Nona development citing business climate. Foglesong said he’s worried that unless things improve, the company could pull an additional $17 billion dollars that’s earmarked for the Orlando theme parks over the next decade.

“And that's really important for this reason, because 80% of the people who come to Disney have come before," said Foglesong. "That's a compliment in many respects to Disney, but it's also a cause of concern that people won't keep coming back, if there's not new investment and new rides and attractions.”

Foglesong said this could have a domino effect on local businesses.

"And then that potentially affects the rest of the tourist economy, from Universal to the ma and pa kind of roadside attractions," said Foglesong. "So we need that new investment to keep people coming back.”

In response to the Lake Nona project being canceled, the DeSantis administration in a statement said, “Nothing ever came of the project, and the state was unsure whether it would come to fruition.”

Copyright 2023 WMFE. To see more, visit WMFE.

Danielle Prieur