Judge Confirms DeSantis Lawsuit Will Move Forward, Disney Victorious

in Disney, Walt Disney World

Ron DeSantis looking sad with Mickey Mouse laughing on his shoulder

Credit: NBC/Disney/Inside the Magic

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis took another legal beating in the lawsuit between his Central Florida Tourism Oversight District board of directors and the Walt Disney Company.

Ron DeSantis with his hands raised next to Mickey Mouse in a white dinner coat
Credit: Inside the Magic

For months now, Ron DeSantis and Walt Disney World have been duking it out in both the public arena and the legal system. The iconic media company first came into the governor’s bad graces when former CEO Bob Chapek spoke out against the Parental Rights in Education Act, the controversial so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law, though not until after weeks of pressure from pro-LGBTQIA+ activist groups.

Related: Even More Employees Quit Over DeSantis’ “Incompetency” in Disney World

Reedy Creek and Walt Disney World

The most significant consequence of the DeSantis Disney feud has been the dissolution of the Reedy Creek Improvement District, the special tax area in which Walt Disney World is located. Due to decades-old agreements, Reedy Creek allowed Disney to basically act as the local government in Central Florida, partly in exchange for shouldering some huge tax bills that taxpayers would have been on the hook for.

Then, in what Disney claims was political retaliation for its statements, Gov DeSantis decided to shut down Reedy Creek and replace it with the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, complete with a board of directors he personally selected.

Glen Gilzean Becomes New Administrator for Disney’s Governing District, Will Earn as Much as a US President
Credit: Inside the Magic

At the time, Ron DeSantis made numerous public jabs at Walt Disney World over his perceived victory, “joking” that he might use the new district to build a prison opposite the resort or even a rival theme park.

Board of Directors Asleep at the Wheel?

It seems as though Governor DeSantis is not longer joking at Disney’s expense, especially after the company recently unveiled a sweeping report that demonstrated the literal tens of billions of dollars it brings to the Florida economy and the implicit power that gives it.

Ron DeSantis surrounded by Disney characters
Credit: Inside the Magic

Currently, Disney and the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District board of directors are locked in mutual lawsuits, with the latter trying to get courts to throw out a series of last-minute contracts that allow the House of Mouse to retain much of its legal authority.

However, Disney asserts that those contracts were done in public and on the level and that the board simply didn’t pay attention, possibly because of the shocking number of ethics scandals and accusations of insider dealing that it immediately found itself in.

Related: DeSantis Disney Board to Massively Raise Prices on Taxpayers

DeSantis vs Disney

Disney has also asserted that the board is dragging its feet to provide discovery documents in the lawsuit (essentially not providing the evidence it says proves its case), and a judge has agreed with the company.

Ron DeSantis speaking and looking down
Credit: Wikimedia

Very recently, Judge Margaret Schreiber ruled that Disney’s request for a stay of summary judgment was valid, and has now determined the new hearing will take place on March 12, 2024 (per DisneyBlog). This gives the company a huge amount of time to prepare for the board’s argument that its contracts should be declared null and void, and just further cements the public perception that the board is flailing to come up with a case.

It also helps Disney that the judge has ordered the board to provide discovery materials no later than March 5, which really gives the impression that she is not convinced by their argument that the evidence doesn’t matter. We’ll continue to update info on the case as it comes.

Does DeSantis have a chance against Disney in this lawsuit? Tell us your opinions in the comments below!

View Comments (17)