Portions of Walt Disney World's Hollywood theme park outside Orlando, Florida flooded shortly before closing Monday night, with pictures and videos posted to social media documenting a sudden downpour. The footage showed guests frolicking in the ankle-high waters and even body-sliding down a flooded street. The natural disaster seems kismet, given that it occurred shortly after Disney refused to officially condemn Florida's "Don't Say Gay" bill currently under debate in the state's legislature. The company was exposed for having donated to every sponsor and cosponsor of the legislation
"A special Catastrophe Canyon tribute tonight at Disney's Hollywood Studios," one person posted of Monday's flood.
"Moana's Journey of Water?" asked another. "Nah just a foot of standing water at EPCOT."
"I really enjoyed Epcot's latest immersive experience in Future World, the crippling reality of climate change," one person wrote.
Another posted a video but noted it didn't show the "person doing push-ups in the rainy street and someone body sliding into the puddle."
The National Weather Service noted a heavy rain cell passing over the area just prior to the resort's closing time last night.
The flooding came on the heels of the the controversial "Don't Say Gay" bill which has sparked protests across the state. Last week, students across Florida walked out of classes in protest against the bill. Video post by Josh Sidorowicz of WTSP showed a mass of students at Gibbs High School in St. Petersburg joining in the protests. On Monday, students and a cadre of faith-based organizations traveled to the state house to protest as the Florida Senate was set to debate the legislation.
Disney has been on the receiving end of blunt criticism over its involvement with the "Don't Say Gay" bills. The laws would bar classroom discussion of sexuality and gender identity for some grade levels. Reports have shown that Disney has financially contributed to every sponsor and cosponsor behind the bill.
Disney initially issued a statement saying that the company "understands" how important the issue is and felt that its "biggest impact" could come from creating inclusive content. This caused further backlash as the company did not address its donations. In an internal Disney email to cast members obtained by CNN, Disney CEO Bob Chapek defended the lack of a public stance by the company against the bill. Instead, Chapek said corporate statements "do very little to change outcomes or minds" and reiterated the focus on creating inclusive content.
"These and all of our diverse stories are our corporate statements--and they are more powerful than any tweet or lobbying effort," Chapek said. He also said the company would "reassess" its donations but stopped short of committing to ending them.
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