Disney monorail inspections tucked into new law signed by DeSantis

Florida law the latest salvo in feud between DeSantis, Disney

Disney monorail to face state inspections

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Florida Department of Transportation will soon have the duty to inspect Walt Disney World’s monorail system, one of several provisions enacted by the Florida Legislature as part of the state’s clash with the Walt Disney Company.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a transportation bill, HB 1305, into law Thursday.

Among the law’s many provisions is one that puts Disney’s famous monorail under government purview.

Specifically, the provision requires the FDOT to adopt minimum safety standards for any “governmentally or privately owned fixed-guideway transportation systems operating in this state which are located within an independent special district created by local act which have boundaries within two contiguous counties.”

The law allows inspectors to examine structures like bridges or platforms for safety. Inspectors are allowed to suspend system service during the inspections. The plan would require audits and an annual onsite evaluation.

The law takes effect July 1.

DeSantis and Florida’s Republican-dominated Legislature are engaged in an ongoing feud with the Walt Disney Company after the entertainment giant criticized the state’s Parental Rights in Education law last year, known by critics as the Don’t Say Gay law.

DeSantis and Republican lawmakers responded to the criticism by remaking the special taxing district Disney has had since the 1960s to handle infrastructure, permitting and fire protection, and putting DeSantis-appointed members in charge of the board.

But the feud escalated when the new board realized that Disney had entered into a long-term deal with the old board that would strip the new board of much of its power.

DeSantis has since made a number of threats regarding what the board could do with Disney’s property, including raising taxes and tolls on roads, developing Disney land, and even joking about putting a state prison on property.

Disney filed a lawsuit in federal court last month, accusing DeSantis and other officials of using government power to retaliate against the company and violate its constitutional rights.

Meanwhile, DeSantis’ appointed board that now oversees Disney property filed a lawsuit in state court to nullify any agreements Disney made with the previous board.

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About the Author:

Christie joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021.