Years of fruitful relations between Disney, Florida at risk

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - The idea was presented to Florida lawmakers in a movie house outside Orlando 55 years ago, with Walt Disney, who had died less than two months earlier, helping make the pitch from the screen: Let Disney form its own government and in exchange it would create a futuristic city of tomorrow.

That city never materialized, but Walt Disney World became an economic juggernaut with four theme parks and two dozen hotels, while its government retained unprecedented powers in deciding what and how to build, issuing bonds and holding the ability to build its own nuclear plant if it wanted.

Now, five decades later, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is asking lawmakers to end Disney's government in a move that jeopardizes the symbiotic relationship between the state and company.