Disney Sues Ron DeSantis Over Disney World Takeover

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The Walt Disney Company has filed a lawsuit against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis over the state’s takeover of the Reddy Creek Improvement District.

The Reddy Creek District covers the Walt Disney World property, and up until 2023, had been essentially governed and run by the company.

Disney’s turn into political activism, however, unnecessarily jeopardized that exclusivity.

Over the past year, DeSantis and the Florida legislature worked to remove their special privileges and return the theme park competition to a level playing field.

The company fought back recently, attempting at the last minute to prevent the new board from taking control.


DeSantis and the new board though, revealed that Disney’s maneuvers were likely illegal.

Likely seeing the writing on the wall, the company just threw their latest Hail Mary: a lawsuit against DeSantis.

Disney World Ron DeSantis
ORANGE COUNTY, FLORIDA, USA – JUNE 1: Crowds pack and fill Main Street USA at the Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World in Orange County, Florida on June 1, 2022. (Photo by Joseph Prezioso/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Disney Out of Options to Fight DeSantis

The lawsuit alleges that Florida and DeSantis engaged in a “targeted campaign of government retaliation” against the entertainment giant.

“This government action was patently retaliatory, patently anti-business, and patently unconstitutional,” the complaint reads.

In response, DeSantis communications director Taryn Fenske shot back: “We are unaware of any legal right that a company has to operate its own government or maintain special privileges not held by other businesses in the state.” 

“This lawsuit is yet another unfortunate example of their hope to undermine the will of the Florida voters and operate outside the bounds of the law,” she continued.

When the new oversight district board met recently, chair Martin Garcia explained that Disney’s previous last minute attempt to retain control was unlikely to succeed.

“Disney picked the fight with this board. We were not looking out for a fight,” said Garcia, adding “bottom line, what our lawyers have told us, is factually and legally what they created is an absolute legal mess. It will not work.”

This lawsuit likely stems from the company’s realization that their last minute, backroom deal wouldn’t stand up.

Disney claims to “regret” that it’s come to filing a lawsuit.

“Disney regrets that it has come to this. But having exhausted efforts to seek a resolution, the Company is left with no choice but to file this lawsuit to protect its cast members, guests, and local development partners from a relentless campaign to weaponize government power against Disney in retaliation for expressing a political viewpoint unpopular with certain State officials,” the complaint says.

Naturally, the company did not mention that they have a history of retaliating against their employees for expressing political views unpopular with the company’s executives.


Mess of Their Own Making

The suit may lead to any number of possibilities, but at the end of the day, it’s unlikely Disney will win.

It’s hard to overturn legislation, especially a bill that served only to subject the company to the same requirements as their competition.

Of course, all of this could have been avoided had Disney stayed out of politics. Liberal corporations have become accustomed to consequence-free activism and media praise for engaging in progressive politics.

Democratic politicians have long weaponized the power of the state against companies they disagree with.

But when the rules are applied to them, they lash out furiously.

Disney’s desperate to protect an unfair competitive advantage they unnecessarily gave away. Whether or not they succeed may now be up to the courts.

Written by Ian Miller

Ian Miller is a former award watching high school actor, author, and long suffering Dodgers fan. He spends most of his time golfing, traveling, reading about World War I history, and trying to get the remote back from his dog. Follow him on Twitter @ianmSC

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