Some GOP congressional lawmakers want to strip Walt Disney World of its 'no-fly' zone
ORLANDO, Fla. - Republican lawmakers have introduced a bill in Congress that could take away Disney World's no-fly zone.
Rep. Troy Nehls, of Texas, argues that no other theme parks have one and that Disney doesn't deserve special treatment. Right now, you can't fly within a three-mile radius around Walt Disney World and no lower than 3,000 feet over it.
"Really, it does not have any impact at all on aircraft operations," said Shem Malmquist, an aviation safety professor at the Florida Institute of Technology. "It extends three miles, up to 3,000 feet. It’s a small area."
Air traffic control can still divert planes through the zone and emergency or military aircraft can fly through.
Disney is able to fly over for its own purposes if it gets a Federal Aviation Administration waiver.
"In the aftermath of 9/11, there was concern that Disney being such a high-profile and internationally known corporation, might be a target," said Aubrey Jewett, a political science professor at the University of Central Florida.
While it could be argued that Disney is the most attended resort and could be a target, some lawmakers have said the company was only given the status because it is very well-connected politically.
"If you go back to 2003, Disney did lobby for this and ask for this, and none of the other theme parks in central Florida or some of the other theme parks across the country were able to get this status," Jewett said.
If the no-fly zone is taken away, it could be open to advertising and commercial tours.
"The only thing it would change is people would probably be able to fly directly over the theme park with various sightseeing types of flights or banner-towing and things of that nature," Malmquist said. "Of course, they’d have to stay away from the fireworks."
FOX 35 News reached out to Disney for comment on the bill but has not received a response.