DeSantis Funds Disney World Trips With Taxpayer Money, Report Finds

in Universal Orlando, Walt Disney World

Ron DeSantis holds his hand over his head in front of Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World.

Credit: Inside the Magic

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is trapped in multiple legal battles with The Walt Disney Company. The 2024 Republican presidential candidate might be vocally anti-Disney, but a new report alleges that he gave the corporation thousands in taxpayer dollars.

The conflict began in 2022 when former Disney CEO Bob Chapek publicly denounced DeSantis’s Parental Rights in Education Act (the “Don’t Say Gay” law). Weeks later, DeSantis introduced legislation to dissolve Walt Disney World Resort’s Reedy Creek Improvement District, a special privilege given to the Central Florida Disney Park in 1967.

Despite an attempt by Disney to revoke its power, a DeSantis-appointed board took over Reedy Creek in February. The newly-titled Central Florida Tourism Oversight District board revoked Disney Cast Member benefits, outlawed COVID-19 precautions, and threatened to take control of Disney Parks attractions.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis stands in front of an American flag.
Credit: Ron DeSantis

Under recently returned CEO Bob Iger’s leadership, Disney sued DeSantis for retaliating against its protected free speech. DeSantis countersued, and the ongoing legal turmoil began.

But a new report alleges that anti-corporation DeSantis quietly gave Walt Disney World Resort and neighboring Universal Orlando Resort thousands in taxpayer dollars.

Independent journalist Judd Legum recently uncovered records that show DeSantis’s popularly $8,000 homeschool vouchers have been used to pay for Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando Resort Annual Passes, video game consoles, televisions, and more.

Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom after the rain representing disappointing weather conditions at Walt Disney World Resort
Credit: casajump on Flickr

“In March, @RonDeSantis signed a massive expansion of the state’s school voucher program, including $8,000 vouchers for thousands of homeschoolers,” Legum wrote. “Now, parents are exploiting the program, using taxpayer dollars for Disney World passes, PS5s, & 55” TVs. We have reciepts 🧾🧾🧾.”

“In one exchange posted in a private Facebook group last month, a parent inquires about getting passes to Disney World approved through the program,” he continued. “Another parent responds that she was able to get passes for Disney World and Universal Studios paid for with taxpayer funds.”

Legum said homeschool vouchers were restricted to low-income families until DeSantis changed the law.

“Previously, the voucher program was restricted mostly to low-income families,” he explained. “The cash could only be used for private school tuition or transportation to a public school. Now homeschoolers are getting 8K vouchers for any approved ‘educational expense.’”

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis giving a speech
Credit: ABC News

“Florida has delegated the administration of the vouchers to two private non-profit organizations, Step Up for Students and AAA. These non-profits generate revenue based on how many students they can attract. So, they are incentivized to approve everything.”

Other interactions showed parents plotting to fund Playstation 5s and LEGO with taxpayer dollars.

“In a private Facebook message obtained by Popular Information, a parent says their PS3 ‘isn’t doing great,’” Legum shared. “She asks whether she will be reimbursed for a $500 PS5 bundle that includes “God of War,” even though the game is ‘not age appropriate’ for her 5-year-old daughter.”

Ron DeSantis in a 'Top Gun' inspired jacket, standing in front of an American flag. Text reads, "Never back down from a fight."
Credit: RonDeSantis.com

“In another August 2023 message, a parent sorts through the logistics of using taxpayer funds to buy ‘an $800 lego set for my kid for Christmas.’”

At this time, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has not responded to these allegations.

Should Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s home school vouchers fund Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando Resort passes? Share your thoughts with Inside the Magic in the comments.

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