The story starts with Disney and the Governor and the Reedy Creek District, which is the governing council Walt set up way back when to take care of what are usually government activities: road building, sewers, zoning, etc. It worked out nicely for Disney, which got to do pretty much anything they wanted without a lot of red tape, and it worked out nicely for taxpayers because Disney paid for all the services that people usually rely on government for.
But the Governor got hot when Disney criticized the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill, and got the legislature to dissolve the Reedy Creek District and bring it back under government control. Disney agreed, surprisingly without much fight.
Today it is revealed that just before they turned over control to a bunch of the Governor’s nuttiest friends, I’m sorry, the Central Florida Tourism Oversight Board, Disney signed a deal with itself giving them allowance to do pretty much anything they want, except for roads and sewers, which the new “board” can control.
As for King Charles? Well, the new restrictions place certain impediments on the district until 21 years after the death of the youngest current descendant of King Charles, or until Disney abandons the resort. Which to me, sounds like a giant middle finger to you know who. Hilarious, really. And if this story plays out, well…
Central Florida Oversight board: This is illegal right?
Central Florida Oversight board: What should we do.
Lawyer: Well we will sue them and win even if we have to take it to the Supreme Court.
Central Florida Oversight board: Well how long will that take.
Lawyer: Oh Until the the youngest current descendant of King Charles dies. $$$$
After suspending a local prosecutor, because he said he would not prosecute women under Florida’s new abortion law, the Gov fired and replaced the board of a small state college, to get rid of it’s diversity, equity, and inclusion program.
I wondered about that one. For the record, the person named here would be Princess Lilibet, the youngest child of Harry and Megan. She’s currently just a year old. Now it’s quite possible she could live into her 80s or 90s. But life is a fickle thing and you never really know what the future holds. My layman’s reading puts the tenure of this whole shebang on her lifetime.
But why pick a single person? It wouldn’t be unusual to pick a term of something like 99 years. That gives it a definite sunset date rather than some indefinite time based on a single person’s lifetime. Yes, there’s a decent chance that her lifetime plus 21 years would be more than the typical 99 years. But it could also be less. Why take that chance?
I can think of a couple of reasons. One is simply the publicity to be garnered once this agreement became public knowledge. And, well, that seems to have worked. And that works well with the second reason - as Goofy noted (not the Disney character, but our own home-grown character) - there’s the hilarity of a mouse and his goofy dog pal having a bit of fun at the expense of those who want to use their positions of power to exert influence over a private (as in non-government) business. There’s also a potential nod to Walt, who had a bit of a fascination with things British. Many of Disney’s early stories were set in Great Britain. Why not use a “Royal Clause” in a contract?
But I also think Disney is serious here. They made what they believe to be a legal move to protect their ability to run their business. And they want that protection to last long enough to outlive the current trends in politics. My guess is they feel 21 years is plenty for the political winds to shift and for this current kerfuffle to blow over. So even if something terrible were to happen to the Princess, they would still have 21 years to settle things with a more business-friendly government.
And then there’s the reality of defending this in the courts, which is where it is all likely to be headed. It will almost certainly take years for this to wend its way through the courts. And since there is some argument that there are First Amendment rights at play here, it might run through both state and federal courts. It’s certainly worth the gamble of fighting this out in courts, again with the goal of waiting for the current trends in government to change. There’s a good possibility that the current Florida governor won’t be in office in 2 years. A court fight could easily take that long. And that my be all that Disney needs.
Remember - the actual term of the agreement is perpetual. It lasts forever. But Florida, like most states, has a legal doctrine called the Rule Against Perpetuities. There’s a lot of legal mumbo-jumbo, but basically it says you can’t have certain contingent legal entitlements last forever - or even a very, very long time. (In Florida, also like most states, it’s been modified by statute to define what a very, very long time is. By statute, it’s set to 90 years. Which is why they didn’t say 99 years.)
Even though the license agreement purports to last forever, it has the royal clause as a back-up, in case the perpetual term is struck down. The Rule Against Perpetuities allows for contingent interests so long as they vest within the lifespan of a living human being plus 21 years. So these royal clauses are used to set as long a potential time frame as possible while complying with that requirement. A subset of members of a royal family is used because: i) due to their wealth, they usually are well protected and have good access to health care and thus are generally likely to live a long time; and ii) due to their fame, they’re very easy to keep track of decades from now.
The reference to King Charles has generated some media interest because it seems quirky and creative, but it’s really not an especially rare thing to see when you’re dancing around the Rule Against Perpetuities.
Yes. Somewhere in my scrambled writing, I was dancing around perpetuities without actually calling them that. My question (Why take that chance?) boiled down to why take the chance on a single lifetime when they could have just stated the maximum allowed to avoid a perpetuity? Whether that’s 99 or 90 years is somewhat irrelevant to the question. They’re gambling on a potential extra decade or three by using a Royal Clause, but with a slim risk of getting less than 3 decades of life out of this agreement.
I think my conclusion is still reasonable - that Disney thinks they really won’t need all those years, that a couple of decades is sufficient for their purposes.
Mostly because it’s not a single lifetime. The clause applies to any of Charles’ descendants alive today. So any of the five grandkids, the oldest of which is only 9, would count. It’s really unlikely that none of them would make it into their seventies - the average life expectancy at birth in the UK these days is 80 years, and these kids are not going to have “average” protection and access to health care.
Thing is, Harry’s posse blew off the royal family, to free them to grub for money. They now live in Shiny-land, which has a lower average life expectancy. But they are rich and shameless., so they would probably have better than average care anyway.
Incidentally, the Rule of Perpetuities figures into a plot point in the 1981 film noir classic “Body Heat” set in Florida. I’m not quite sure why it does, but they mention it in the scene below. Excellent movie. One of my all times faves. All-star cast too, including Kathleen Turner in her big screen debut. “There are 50 ways to screw up a crime. If you think of 25 of them, you are a genius. And you ain’t no genius.”
Looks like I got some bad info. I thought I read that it was the lifetime of the youngest currently living descendant. But a bit of further reading says that it the the lifetime of last surviving currently living descendant.
In that case, with 5 grandchildren under 10, it’s almost certain that at least one will be alive 70 years from now. Add 21 years to that, and they are past the 90 years they could have specified.
So barring a “King Ralph” situation, Disney would have the better part of a century to continue roughly the way they have been working for the last 60 or so years.