LAKE BUENA VISTA — In a controversial move that has sparked outrage and legal challenges, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill on Monday that grants Disney World full autonomy and sovereignty over its territory. “This bill recognizes the unique and vital role that Disney World plays in our state’s economy, culture, and tourism. It also respects the wishes of the millions of Disney fans who visit this magical place every year,” DeSantis said at a ceremony held at Cinderella Castle. “From now on, Disney World will be a self-governing nation, with its own laws, currency, and military. Florida will have no jurisdiction or authority over its affairs.”
The bill, which was passed by the Republican-controlled legislature with no Democratic support, effectively secedes Disney World from the United States and grants it diplomatic immunity and recognition as a foreign country. The bill also exempts Disney World from paying any taxes, fees, or regulations to Florida or the federal government.
DeSantis said the bill was a “win-win” for both parties, as Disney World would gain more freedom and flexibility, while Florida would benefit from increased tourism and trade. However, critics of the bill have denounced it as unconstitutional, illegal, and absurd. “This is a blatant violation of the U.S. Constitution, which clearly states that no state can enter into a treaty or alliance with a foreign power. Disney World is not a country, it’s a theme park. This bill is a joke and an insult to the American people,” said Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, who announced she would file a lawsuit to challenge the bill in court. “DeSantis is selling out our state to a corporate giant that has no loyalty or accountability to anyone but itself. He is putting Mickey Mouse above the rule of law and the will of the people.”
Disney World officials, however, welcomed the bill and thanked DeSantis for his support. “We are thrilled and honored to become a sovereign nation. We have always strived to create a world of fantasy and wonder for our guests, and now we can do so without any interference or limitations from outside forces,” said Bob Chapek, the CEO of Disney. “We look forward to working with Florida and the U.S. as a friendly and cooperative neighbor, and we invite everyone to come and experience the magic of Disney World, the happiest nation on earth.”