Governor Ron DeSantis Comments on Disney Settlement with Tourism Oversight District

    In a press conference this afternoon, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis commented on today’s settlement between Disney and the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District.

    In the statement, Governor DeSantis parsed his words carefully, positioning this as a win-win situation for not only the state of Florida but for Disney too. DeSantis noted that there will be better collaboration between the Board and Disney as Disney continues to carry out plans for expansion in its Florida parks.

    DeSantis was even careful to note that he believed Disney’s stance against the “Don’t Say Gay” bill was driven by headquarters in California and not from the Orlando-based operations and business.

    DeSantis also took a victory lap with the end of the lawsuits, saying that he knew that Disney wouldn’t be able to prevail in court.

    DeSantis even mentioned Epic Universe twice in his comments, noting that Disney will likely want to compete with Universal and that there will be new development agreements drawn up to ensure that the Oversight District Board is helping Disney toward a common goal of growth within the District.

    Overall, DeSantis has dropped his adversarial stance against Disney World, and it looks like when the dust settles on all of this, Disney will be able to move forward with plans to invest $17 billion at Walt Disney World on much more solid ground than what has been present over the past year.

    Here are DeSantis’ full comments from this afternoon’s press conference.

    So we’ve always acted with all the Disney issues, parents’ rights and education, replacing Reedy Creek and making sure that was a state control board, doing the, you know, nullifying these covenants at the 11th hour, everything we’ve done has been in the best interests of the State of Florida. We have been vindicated on all those actions.

    Going forward, we’re going to continue to govern with the best interests of the state of Florida. So I’m glad that they were able to do that that settlement. Those 11th-hour covenants and restrictions were never going to be valid – we knew that. The challenge to the state oversight board to replace Reedy Creek – that’s not going anywhere. Obviously, that was dismissed in district court.

    So we have an interest as a state in moving forward to make this region very strong. This Tourism Oversight board, and that district is a big part of that. I think that there’s going to be ways where, you know, we can do things that are in the best interest of the State of Florida, and I think Disney can be a part of that.

    I mean certainly, you look at Universal, they’re doing the Epic Universe. It’s going to be a huge huge game changer for this region. I got to think Disney would have an interest in maybe offering another one. The district will be ready to negotiate something to be able to be good for the state of Florida, be good for jobs, be good for all those things.

    But I would just point out a year ago, people were trying to act like that all these legal maneuverings were all going to succeed against the state of Florida, and the reality is here we are a year later, and not one of them has succeeded. Every action that we’ve taken has been upheld in full and the state is better off for that.

    …I think the fact that this is moving forward, I think, I think that’s what the company wants to do. And, you know, a lot of what happened with parents’ rights in education, some of that stuff was really driven by Burbank, it was not driven by Orlando. And I think we’ve always understood that. And so I think that there’s a desire to move forward. I think that they have things that they probably have opportunities to do, to expand their footprint, to continue to attract visitors, and those things when they coincide with the state’s interest, we think that that would be good. So I think the board will work with them. They are going to do a development agreement of some sort to kind of provide some contours for the district’s land, and how that’s going to be processed, if it is processed, over the ensuing months and years, and I think that there’s a lot of opportunities for big wins for the state of Florida.

    But the good news is, you as a citizen, you now have a control board overseeing this that is accountable, that has been appointed by people that you’ve elected, and that are not there to just represent one company’s interest but to represent the entire state of Florida’s interest, particularly this region of Florida. And while there may be things that one company does that is in the state’s interest, that’s not always 100% in alignment, and so this is a good situation.

    We came back here a month ago I think we did a press event down the road highlighting some of the things that this board has done and this has been an example of good government. They’ve been able to clean up a lot of stuff. There’s more transparency. The taxpayers’ being treated better. Those tenant businesses are being treated better and so there have been a lot of big wins as a result of this already and I think going forward you’ve got a lot of possibilities. I mean, we have been kind of the place that people have wanted to come for many years, but particularly in the last three or four years. This area of course has always attracted a lot. I just think with the new Universal park, I mean I think it’s just gonna be a huge game changer. It’s bigger than their other two parks combined. I mean like imagine that footprint, that’s pretty huge. And so I gotta think that Disney would wanna answer that to be able to kinda keep up with the competition. And I think that’s a good thing for Florida to have businesses competing against each other to offer more and more attractions for the tourists.
    Ron DeSantis, Governor of Florida

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    4 COMMENTS

    1. My question is: the board that the governor put into Reedy Creek do they get yo stay in that job which they have no clue on what they are doing.

    2. So the board members were about to get deposed and go to court, but out of the goodness of their hearts, they’ve agreed to a vague development deal with Disney.
      And then Disney drops the suits as long as they are happy with it? But Ron won because he was actually just upset with Disney Land in California? I’m just sad we don’t get to see galzean and Ziegler texts now.

    3. DeSantis may have won this war for now but it already cost him the big battle in his presidential race. The vast majority of Americans want a president for all. Not a vindictive one with it’s my way or the highway approach. Disney night have the last laugh in the future. Will wait see

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