DeSantis Says There’s Zero Chance He Backs Down in Fight With Disney

    In off-the-cuff comments yesterday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said there’s zero chance that he backs down from his war on Disney. His comments came on the same day that his legal counsel attempted to convince the judge in his federal case with Disney to recuse himself. Here’s what DeSantis had to say about his fight with Disney:

    …[Disney] can do whatever they want, I know people try to chirp and say this or that, but the chance of us backing down from that is zero.
    Ron DeSantis, Florida Governor

    The comments from DeSantis continue an escalation from the Governor against the largest single-site employer in the State of Florida, and undoubtedly feed the flames of uncertainty about future investment in Walt Disney World.

    Dueling Lawsuits

    There are two high-profile lawsuits currently in the courts that take aim at a Development Agreement that Disney entered into with the previous Board of Supervisors of the then-named Reedy Creek Improvement District.

    Central Florida Tourism Oversight District Board of Supervisors

    One lawsuit was filed by Disney World against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD) Board of Supervisors, among others. The lawsuit asks the court to recognize the Development Agreement as valid and to recognize the series of events and bills that led to the State takeover of the Reedy Creek Improvement District as a violation of the First Amendment rights of the Company. Ultimately, Disney wants the State takeover of the RCID to be undone.

    In a separate lawsuit, the CFTOD is seeing Disney World, asking the court to recognize the Development Agreement as null and void, citing a series of contract infirmities.

    On May 5th, DeSantis decided to get ahead of the pending court cases and simply sign a law to nullify the Development Agreement in what appears to be a flexing of executive might. Instead of relying on the court system to agree with the legal arguments of why the Development Agreement should be nullified, DeSantis signed SB 1604, a land use bill with a narrowly written amendment from Republican legislators to nullify the Development Agreement legislatively.

    Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Signs Bill to Nullify Disney World’s Reedy Creek Development Agreement
    Today, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill that would nullify Disney World’s Development Agreement contract

    Following the stroke of the Governor’s pen, Disney World amended its lawsuit to include the bill in its argument against the state.

    Disney Asks for Dismissal

    Following Governor DeSantis actions to use the state legislature to nullify the Development Agreement instead of the courts, Disney asked the state to dismiss the CFTOD case, saying that the lawsuit in state court is moot given the actions of the Governor and rubber-stamp legislature.

    Disney World Asks Court to Dismiss Lawsuit from DeSantis’ Central Florida Tourism Oversight District
    Disney has asked a court to dismiss a lawsuit by the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District following legislative action

    The Hostile State of the Hostile State

    As the saga with DeSantis continues to play out, Disney has announced that they are pulling the plug on a reported $1 billion investment in a sprawling new theme park headquarters in Lake Nona, Florida about 20 minutes from Walt Disney World. The campus would’ve served as the worldwide headquarters for the theme park division of the company, and it would’ve brought 2,000 six-figure jobs to the Central Florida area. Disney announced that it would not be moving forward with the project, with Disney Parks Chairman Josh D’Amaro citing “changing business conditions”.

    Disney Abandons Plans to Build Theme Parks Division Headquarters in Hostile Florida
    Josh D’Amaro has announced to employees that the Company will not proceed forward with plans to create a headquarters in Lake Nona

    Uncertainty of Future Florida Investment

    Beyond the cancelation of the theme parks headquarters, D’Amaro and Walt Disney World President Jeff Vahle echoed sentiments from Disney CEO Bob Iger about an uncertain future in Florida and a planned $17 billion investment in Walt Disney World over the next decade.

    Disney Parks Chairman: I Hope We’re Able to Continue Investing in Walt Disney World
    Disney Parks Chairman Josh D’Amaro and Walt Disney World President Jeff Vahle comment on future investments at Disney World

    As always, keep checking back with us here at as we continue to bring you the latest news, photos, and info from around the Disney Parks!

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