Why Disney Ceded Control of Its Florida Empire to Gov. Ron DeSantis (Exclusive)

Political pragmatism and an internal poll obtained exclusively by TheWrap led the company to cease its battle with the potential presidential candidate

When Florida stripped Disney of its special tax zone around the company’s theme parks last week, it led many observers to wonder: Why would Disney cede this long-held ground?

What it would come down to is a cost-benefit-analysis decision after the entertainment giant, which is still trying to recover financially from the pandemic shutdowns of its theme parks and the expensive toll of building up Disney+, of having an enemy in Florida Gov. DeSantis — one who could go on to become president — and the results of an internal poll, obtained exclusively by TheWrap, showing they’re losing two important demographic groups central to Disney’s financial success.

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Drew Taylor

Drew Taylor is a reporter at TheWrap. Before joining the organization in 2021, Drew was a freelance film journalist with a keen interest in animation and Disney history. Drew has been covering film, television and theme parks for 15 years. He has written for the New York Times, the New York Daily News, Time Out New York, Collider, The Playlist, Polygon, Vulture, Box Office Magazine, AOL Travel and Syfy. He was the executive editor and social media manager for Moviefone before it was purchased by MoviePass. Additionally, Drew co-created and co-hosts “Light the Fuse,” a weekly podcast dedicated to the “Mission: Impossible” film franchise that recently celebrated its 200th episode milestone. He also authored the book “The Art of Onward,” about the making of Pixar’s 2020 fantasy film, and provided liner notes for several Mondo vinyl releases for Pixar features (“Up,” “Coco” and “Lightyear”).