Report: Disney Resumes Political Contributions in Florida

    According to a report from the Orlando Sentinel, The Walt Disney Company has resumed political contributions in Florida. Disney is stepping back into the political arena gingerly, only restarting with in-kind contributions – not writing checks, yet. The report says that Disney donated theme park tickets to Democratic State Senator Geraldine Thompson for a fundraiser this month.

    The fundraiser featured four tiers, each tier offering different amounts of theme park tickets. The invitation for the fundraiser featured Princess Tiana.

    Photo via: https://www.orlandosentinel.com/2024/05/23/disney-starts-giving-to-florida-politicians-again-state-sen-thompson-says/

    As you may remember, Disney paused all political donations in the state of Florida back in March 2022, as announced in a company-wide email from then-Disney CEO Bob Chapek. After apologizing for a…lethargic response to the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, Chapek said that Disney would be “increasing our support for advocacy groups to combat similar legislation in other states”, and that the company would work to create “a new framework for our political giving that will ensure our advocacy better reflects our values”. Chapek announced the pause in political donations in the same March 2022 email.

    Disney has previously donated tens of millions of dollars to both sides of the political aisle over the past three decades. In fact, a political committee for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis received more than $100,000 from Disney in 2019.

    Since Chapek spoke out about the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, DeSantis and his allies have crafted legislation to punish Disney, including the Governor’s takeover of the former Reedy Creek Improvement District. After a tumultuous year with the renamed Central Florida Tourism Oversight District that involved three lawsuits, Disney and the District reached a settlement, and now appear to be ready to move forward.

    Central Florida Tourism Oversight District meeting

    Part of that settlement included a rewriting of development agreements between the District and Disney, with Disney offered a seat at the table instead of being put in the Governor’s crosshairs. DeSantis has also changed the way he talks about Disney following the settlement, even suggesting that Disney build a fifth theme park – quite the turnaround from when DeSantis suggested building a state prison next to The Most Magical Place on Earth.

    Now, it looks like Disney is ready to cautiously wade into political waters again. Sen. Thompson said that another politician has received in-kind contributions from Disney as well, but wouldn’t say who. By donating theme park tickets, Sen. Thompson can then fundraise for her campaign, calling Disney’s contributions “significant” for her reelection bid.

    Sen. Thompson suggested that the in-kind donations from Disney were a local decision, noting that any checks would have to be approved by executives in Burbank, CA.

    In the first week of May, the Florida Democratic Party held the Leadership Blue event at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. It is unclear if any of the rooms, food & beverage, or convention space were donated, but they have been in the past – for events from both sides of the political aisle.

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

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