jail prison disney world castle

Walt Disney World’s Next Big Attraction: A Prison

We have thrilling new attractions like Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, and the recently-opened TRON Lightcycle / Run, but now it seems a different type of “attraction” will be coming to Orlando.

The Walt Disney World Resort in Florida is already home to some scary Disney Villains and Haunted Mansion ghosts but a different type of criminal could be making their way to Lake Buena Vista – if Ron DeSantis has anything to do with it.

There’s already a famous Disney jail in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, and soon, he wants to add a state prison next to Walt Disney World.

Walt Disney World Entrance

Credit: Disney

He’s talked about imposing toll roads, taxes, and other sanctions on Walt Disney World, and now, Ron DeSantis has upped his retaliation against the Mouse once more.

During a press conference in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, Governor DeSantis proposed some actions he could take against the Walt Disney World Resort, including the option of building on the 40 square miles of land that borders it. The board has control over some of the land surrounding the Orlando Disney Resort.

“Who knows? I just think that the possibilities are endless,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said. He floated the idea of building a state park, another theme park, or even a state prison, as seen below:

DeSantis openly speculating about what the state could build next to Walt Disney World:

“Someone even said, maybe you need another state prison…”

The Florida Governor added that he “would impose new inspection regulations on Disney, including on its Monorail and its rides.” The idea of building a state prison next to Disney’s property has already puzzled Florida residents and Disney Guests, with many criticizing Ron DeSantis for his “petty” resentment against Disney and his failure to focus on real issues in the state.

Whether or not these threats actually come to anything is still anyone’s guess, but what is clear is that DeSantis is not letting his grudge against Disney simmer anytime soon.

Of course, this all started with former Disney CEO Bob Chapek making a stance against DeSantis and his controversial anti-LGBTQ+ “Don’t Say Gay” legislation. The Florida Governor has sought to void the Walt Disney Company’s special status ever since, stepping up his retaliation recently after being outmaneuvered.


Credit: ABC

Since 1967, the Walt Disney World Resort has been able to operate in Florida unregulated, basically acting as its own “government”. Reedy Creek allowed Disney to act with the same authority as a county government. This benefitted Florida, as local taxpayers – residents of Orange County and Osceola County – did not have to pay for building or maintaining Disney’s essential services.

The Florida Republican signed a bill last year to dissolve the Lake Buena Vista Resort’s special treatment in the state after Disney opposed the state’s “Parental Rights in Education Bill.”

The conflict between Disney and DeSantis rapidly escalated, however, in the aftermath of a Central Florida governing board ensuring Disney would keep a large degree of its power. In a quiet move that broke the internet, the former Reedy Creek Development board signed its power back to Disney before leaving office, a binding declaration that doesn’t expire until England’s monarchy dies out.

The term of the agreement used the “Rule Against Perpetuities” — which states that the policy will continue “until twenty-one (21) years after the death of the last survivor of the descendants of King Charles III.” The agreement severely handicaps the Ron DeSantis-appointed board of the new Central Florida Tourism Oversight Board.

mickey and minnie disney 100

Credit: Disney

It has also been revealed that the Walt Disney World Resort will host the 2023 Out & Equal Workplace Summit, the largest LGBTQ+ conference in the world. The summit will take place from September 11-14, 2023, and is expected to draw over 5,000 attendees, with the main events likely taking place at one of Disney’s onsite convention centers.

DeSantis is now attempting to “formally nullify” Disney’s efforts to maintain control of the Reedy Creek Improvement District, which the Florida Legislature passed a law to abolish last year.  He has argued that the agreement was “defective” and would not be recognized by the state of Florida. He said that he will “make sure Disney is held accountable,” thanks to a new board made up of five appointees of his choosing.

Interestingly, DeSantis and his wife, Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis, actually got married at the Wedding Pavilion at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa back in 2009. The couple wed in a Catholic ceremony with views of Cinderella Castle across Seven Seas Lagoon before taking their Guests over to EPCOT for a reception.

While Disney did not respond to a request for comment about the potential for a state prison near Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme parks, Disney CEO Bob Iger recently said he would be “glad” to sit down with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to talk things out.

About Melissa Cannioto

Melissa is an author, adventurer, and chatterbox, who has worked at Walt Disney World, Disneyland Paris, and Adventures by Disney! A British native, she has traveled the world seeking new experiences, and now resides in Florida with her husband, an Air Force pilot. Find her children's book at