Disney Amends Lawsuit Against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis

In the latest move in the ongoing battle between Disney and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, the Walt Disney Company has amended their lawsuit to include more evidence that this is a personal, retaliatory, and unconstitutional attack, according to Deadline. 

What’s Happening:

  • As expected after the signing of a bill by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, voiding Disney’s development agreement with the former Reedy Creek Improvement District, The Walt Disney Company has amended their lawsuit against the Florida governor and the individuals that make up the Central Florida Tourism Oversight Board.
  • The lawsuit, which claims that the Governor’s moves are retaliatory as a response to the company’s opposition to the parental rights/”Don’t say gay” bill from last year, now opens with a quote from DeSantis reading “This all started, of course, with our parents’ rights bill.”
  • The main point of the lawsuit is that DeSantis violated Disney’s constitutional rights by moving to dissolve the Reedy Creek Improvement District, the public entity that oversees the private property more commonly known as the Walt Disney World Resort, which has been established and in place since 1967.
  • Earlier this year, DeSantis signed legislation that allowed him to appoint his own members to the Reedy Creek Board, all of whom are mentioned and being sued in the lawsuit from the Walt Disney Company.
  • Phrasing in the amended lawsuit from Disney includes, “The State’s actions over the last two weeks are the latest strikes. At the Governor’s bidding, the State’s oversight board has purported to ‘void’ publicly noticed and duly agreed development contracts, which had laid the foundation for billions of Disney’s investment dollars and thousands of jobs. Days later, the State Legislature enacted and Governor DeSantis signed legislation rendering these contracts immediately void and unenforceable. These government actions were patently retaliatory, patently anti-business, and patently unconstitutional.”
  • Knowing DeSantis will do whatever he can, the lawsuit also adds “The Governor and his allies have made clear they do not care and will not stop. The Governor recently declared that his team would not only “void the development agreement”—just as the State has now done, twice—but also planned “to look at things like taxes on the hotels,” “tolls on the roads,” “developing some of the property that the district owns” with “more amusement parks,” and even putting a “state prison” next to Walt Disney World. “Who knows? I just think the possibilities are endless,” he said.”
  • It should also be noted that Disney is not the only one with a district similar to that of Reedy Creek, with The Villages retirement and 55+ community and even Daytona International Speedway operating with their own similar district with their own regulations.
  • You can read the full lawsuit, thanks to Deadline, here.

Tony Betti
Originally from California where he studied a dying artform (hand-drawn animation), Tony has spent most of his adult life in the theme parks of Orlando. When he’s not writing for LP, he’s usually watching and studying something animated or arguing about “the good ole’ days” at the parks.