Disneyland in California this week announced that it will hold its first-ever pride night in June. The entertainment company has named it the “After Dark Pride Night” and said it will have gay-themed entertainment with Disney characters dressed in “special attire” according to a press release.
The announcement came shortly after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis confirmed that state lawmakers were planning to undo Disney’s last-ditch efforts to avoid state oversight on the Reedy Creek Improvement District, a self-governing zone encompassing the theme park.
Although DeSantis earlier removed five of the board’s Disney-approved members, the departing and disgruntled allies sought to counteract the Florida governor’s plans and passed a special measure returning power to the theme park. The new bill would “make sure that people understand that you don’t get to put your own company over the will of the people of Florida,” DeSantis stated.
Disney and DeSantis increasingly have been at odds since the corporation publicly opposed his administration’s Parental Rights in Education bill, declaring it “should never have passed and should never have been signed into law.” The legislation was originally passed through the Republican-dominated state legislature in March 2022.
“Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade three or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards,” the initial version said. Critics have dubbed it the “Don’t Say Gay” bill because of its strict prohibitions on gender identity and sexual orientation instruction among minors aged 9 and younger.
The Florida governor has been proactive when it comes to shielding minors from overly sexualized content. In March, news that the luxury Miami hotel, the Hyatt Regency, hosted a holiday-themed drag show with minors present led DeSantis to strip it of its liquor license.
The growing tension between the two later led Governor DeSantis to strip Disney World of its special district status last April which previously permitted the company a unique degree of freedom overseeing development and services around the theme park. In February, DeSantis signed a bill enabling the state of Florida to reassert control of Disney World’s special district. “Look at your watch, and you’ll know at what time the corporate kingdom finally came to an end,” the governor said at a signing ceremony.