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Disney DROPS lawsuits against Ron DeSantis: Florida governor scores victory in war with the Magic Kingdom after it tried to stop tourism board taking control of Reedy Creek

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  • Disney entered a settlement with Florida ending lawsuits against the state 
  • Legal disputes started when DeSantis cracked-down on privileges afforded to the theme park and its resorts in Orlando 
  • ‘No corporation should be its own government,’ said DeSantis’ spokesperson

Disney agreed to drop its lawsuits against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in a major win for the new board overseeing the land encompassing Walt Disney World Resorts.

The settlement agreement on Wednesday includes Disney acknowledging eleventh hour deals it made with the outgoing Reedy Creek Improvement District are now null and void.

Walt Disney Co. made these last-ditch efforts in an attempt to solidify property rights and grant the theme park additional powers as DeSantis appointed a new board to oversee the area and hold the corporation accountable to laws and taxes in Orlando.

DeSantis’ war with Disney really ramped up after then-CEO Bob Chapek publicly spoke out against the governor’s policies regarding education and specifically the teaching of gender identity and sexual orientation to minors, which critics dubbed the ‘don’t say gay law.’

‘No corporation should be its own government,’ DeSantis’ Communications Director Bryan Griffin said in a statement on Wednesday’s development.

Disney entered a settlement on Wednesday with Florida ending lawsuits against the state after Gov. Ron DeSantis cracked-down on special privileges afforded to the massive entertainment conglomerate and its theme park and resorts in Orlando

Disney entered a settlement on Wednesday with Florida ending lawsuits against the state after Gov. Ron DeSantis cracked-down on special privileges afforded to the massive entertainment conglomerate and its theme park and resorts in Orlando

Walt Disney Co. struck last-minute deals with the outgoing Reedy Creek Improvement District in an attempt to hold onto some power and privileges, but is acknowledging those are 'null and void' with the new settlement with Florida

Walt Disney Co. struck last-minute deals with the outgoing Reedy Creek Improvement District in an attempt to hold onto some power and privileges, but is acknowledging those are ‘null and void’ with the new settlement with Florida

He added: ‘Moving forward, we stand ready to work with Disney and the District to help promote economic growth, family-friendly tourism, and accountable government in Central Florida.’ 

In a hit back against the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) policies put in place by Disney, DeSantis started the process of stripping the massive company from its powers in Florida after Chapek’s statements.

Many Republicans are against DEI, which is the practice of corporations and companies promoting ‘fairness’, but also uses its platform to influence public policy. Specifically, critics claim DEI is a way to implement inherently discriminatory programs that favor minorities and promote left-wing ideologies.

DeSantis’ actions included putting an end to the board that gave Disney benefits that other companies in Florida did not receive.

In February 2023, DeSantis signed House Bill 9-B into law, which established the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD) as the replacement to Disney’s longstanding Reedy Creek Improvement District.

Disney was not happy because this essentially ended a slew of tax breaks and powers the company held in Florida.

Hours before the CFTOD took over, Disney entered into last-minute agreements with the Reedy Creek board to try and stop the new board from enforcing new powers over the area.

Members of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District Board gather during a resolution in April 2023 to invalidate Disney's final agreement with the previous Reedy Creek Improvement District board

Members of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District Board gather during a resolution in April 2023 to invalidate Disney’s final agreement with the previous Reedy Creek Improvement District board 

Wednesday’s settlement sees Disney acknowledging the Development Agreement is ‘null and void’ and has ‘no legal effect or enforceability.’

‘We are glad that Disney has dropped its lawsuits against the new Central Florida Tourism Oversight District and conceded that their last-minute development agreements are null, void, and unenforceable,’ Griffin said.

He said media outlets covering the ongoing tensions between the governor and theme park, resorts and entertainment conglomerate were too quick to label Disney’s deals with Reedy Creek a win.

DeSantis’ office claims the agreement on Wednesday puts to bed the legal fight between Disney and the Florida governor and establishes an even playing field for businesses in Orlando.



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