Judge Gives Disney Final Warning in Fight Against DeSantis

in Disney Parks, Walt Disney World

Ron DeSantis surrounded by Disney characters

Credit: Inside the Magic

The Walt Disney Company has been given a final warning in its fight against Ron DeSantis in Florida.

walt disney company headquarters sign
Credit: Disney

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The battle between Florida and The Walt Disney Company dates all the way back to early 2022 when word got around that Disney had backhandedly played a part in sponsoring the soon-to-be controversial Parental Rights in Education Act, a new piece of legislation that was spearheaded by Gov. DeSantis as a way to “dial back” protections and rights for LGBTQ+ minors in school.

Eventually, the bill would receive a new name, the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, and Disney would find itself between a rock and a hard place. The Walt Disney Company had a firestorm on its hands, with many calling out the company for supporting such a divisive and problematic bill. Eventually, under the guidance of former CEO Bob Chapek, Disney would make a statement and publicly speak out against the bill.

This decision will go down as a defining moment, not just for Bob Chapek but Disney as a whole, setting off a chain of events that leads us to right now in 2023.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis laughing in front of the entrance to Walt Disney World Resort
Credit: Edited by Inside The Magic

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis made it his primary mission to make The Walt Disney Company pay for calling out this specific piece of legislation, and so far, he has been shockingly successful. DeSantis was able to strip Disney of its self-governing status in Florida by appointing a new board to take over the former Reedy Creek Improvement District. This district is now overseen by DeSantis appointees and has been renamed the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD).

However, Disney did not back down without a fight, suing both Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state of Florida itself. These lawsuits will stretch out months or even years after the original disagreement occurred and will no doubt scar the relationship between the two parties significantly, possibly forever.

Already, the strain of this battle can be felt, with Gov. DeSantis teasing major changes at the Walt Disney World Resort, such as higher taxes and even changes to the iconic Monorail. DeSantis also teased a new state prison could be built right next to Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World property.

Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger looking at Disney Brand Image with Castle and Logo
Credit: Inside the Magic

Attorneys working for Gov. DeSantis and the CFTOD asked a federal judge to dismiss Disney’s lawsuit, which cites a violation of the First Amendment. Disney was reportedly given a deadline of October 19, 2023. This date is approaching fast with no response. However, a new report from Scott Gustin reveals that The Walt Disney Company has been granted an extension.

Disney now has a deadline of October 30, 2023.

Mickey Mouse inside the Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival in EPCOT
Credit: Brittany DiCologero / ITM

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It’s anyone’s guess how this situation plays out, but it’s safe to say the relationship between Florida and Walt Disney Company, two parties who have been intertwined since the 1970s, may forever be damaged beyond repair. Other noteworthy members of Congress and the U.S. Government have interjected, voicing their concerns and/or support for either party.

Some conservatives grouped together in an attempt to strip Disney of other protections like its “No Fly Zones” at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland resorts.

What do you think about the fight between Gov. DeSantis and The Walt Disney Company? Do you think Bob Iger is leading the company in the right direction?

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