Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued a “buckle up” warning as he signed legislation giving the state control of Disney’s sprawling Orlando theme parks.
The bill deprives Disney of power it has held for over 50 years and allows for greater oversight by Mr DeSantis’ Republican-led legislature.
The move is interpreted as retaliation for Disney’s opposition to state laws restricting gender and sexuality education.
It comes ahead of Mr. DeSantis’s likely presidential run in 2024.
“Today, the corporate kingdom finally comes to an end,” he said on Monday at a bill signing ceremony near Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
“A new sheriff has arrived, and accountability will be the order of the day.”
For more than 50 years, the Walt Disney World property was located within Florida’s Reedy Creek Improvement District and functioned primarily as a self-governing area, complete with utilities and a fire department.
It was argued that this saved local taxpayers from large infrastructure and other costs associated with operating the 43 square miles (111 square kilometers) of property, which attracts millions of visitors each year.
The new law does not dissolve the district or shift the district’s significant debt to taxpayers, but it does subject Disney to additional layers of external oversight via a five-member board appointed by the state.
According to Mr. DeSantis, this also means that Disney will be treated the same as other Orlando theme parks and will no longer be exempt from certain state regulations, such as building and fire prevention codes.
Martin Garcia, a Tampa lawyer and Republican donor whose firm contributed $50,000 (£41,467) to Mr DeSantis’ re-election campaign, was named to the new board by Mr DeSantis.