Walt Disney World news

Theme Parks and Politics

Leah Zanolla | Posted: Feb 24, 2008 | Updated: Oct 19, 2014 - 9:25:27 AM
With the current focus on politics, a close look at the Florida Theme Parks shows a history of Disney and Universal adding to the coffers of both the Democrat and Republican parties.

The recently held Florida Democratic Convention had Disney picking up the $125,000 tab. Since 2001, both Universal and Disney have provided "in-kind contributions" of lodging, catering and conference facilities totalling over $571,000. This is in addition to the $1.5 million in direct donations made by the two theme parks.

Disney spokesperson Jacquee Polak stated "It's really important for us to work closely with policymakers so that they understand our business -- and so they understand firsthand, particularly. The better they understand our business, the more informed they are when they go to make policies."

In response to Universal's Mardi Gras GOP events, spokesman Tom Schroder commented that it's "a great opportunity to showcase our destination. These events allow legislators to understand the type of experience we offer our guests and the role we play in Florida's tourism industry."

Linda Chapin, former mayor of Orange County disagrees and is seeking to change campaign finance legislation "This would seem to be another, more egregious instance of how corporate money can buy influence."

The Republicans have been the majority party in Florida during the past decade. The pattern of donations made by Disney and Universal has favored the GOP. Close to $200,000 Disney's $342,000 of in-kind donations have been to the Republicans while Univeral has given them $209,000 as compared to $10,000 to Democrats.

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