DeSantis Takes Disney to Court This Week Over First Amendment Lawsuit

in Disney, Walt Disney World

Ron DeSantis speaking, edited to look like he is in front of Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World Resort.

Credit: Inside the Magic

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is expected to show up in court this week in an attempt to dismiss a lawsuit from The Walt Disney Company.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis looking sad in front of the Cinderella Castle at Disney World.
Credit: Inside The Magic

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After facing multiple lawsuits from Disney, Ron DeSantis, the outspoken governor of the state of Florida, will be in court later this week in an attempt to get them thrown out.

How exactly both parties got to this point is a long and detailed story, so to keep it brief, we will only go over the most important details. In early 2023, Gov. DeSantis started making threats against The Walt Disney Company for speaking out against his controversial Parental Rights in Education Act in 2022. Disney took a very critical and very public stance against the bill, with DeSantis making it his primary mission to punish Disney. A lot of these threats were essentially meaningless, with DeSantis and other conservative figures calling Disney “woke.”

However, one threat managed to permeate, with the Florida Gov. coming after Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District. This district was a decades-old ruling in Florida that essentially allowed Disney to operate the Walt Disney World Resort and surrounding areas as it wished, with the area becoming its own small government.

Disney employed hundreds of its own public service workers and first responders, with the district creating a symbiotic relationship between it and Florida. This all came crashing down in early 2023, with DeSantis being successful in stripping away ownership of the district from Disney. DeSantis quickly appointed new board members and gave the district a new name, the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD). In the months since, we’ve seen DeSantis and his hand-picked board make some severe changes to how the Walt Disney World Resort can operate in the state of Florida. The biggest moves involved changes to the Monorail service as well as several other proposals that have yet to make it through into actual legislation.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis looking shocked with the entrance sign to the former Reedy Creek to the right and the Cinderella Castle in the background inside of Magic Kingdom at Disney World.
Credit: Inside The Magic

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Disney did not stand back idly by, however, with the company filing a lawsuit against both Gov. DeSantis and the state of Florida. As we previously reported here at Inside the Magic, both parties are set to appear in court on December 12, 2023, with DeSantis” team attempting to get the lawsuit thrown out.

Judge Allen C. Winsor will hear both arguments on December 12th at 9:30 a.m. in the Joseph Woodrow Hatchett United States Courthouse in Tallahassee, Florida.

Disney quoted Senator Doub Broxson in the lawsuit when he confirmed that legislative action against Disney was retaliatory. Sen. Broxson stated that the Legislature “joined with the Governor in saying it was Disney’s decision to go from an apolitical, safe 25,000 acres, and try to be involved in public policy. … We’re saying ‘you have changed the terms of our agreement. Therefore we will put some authority around what you do.’”

Disney World Castle and Ron DeSantis
Credit: Inside the Magic

If the motion to dismiss fails, then both parties will gear up for both federal and state-level lawsuits active in 2024. In its lawsuit, Disney claimed Gov. DeSantis violated the company’s First Amendment.

Disney’s full complaint can be seen by clicking here.

What are your thoughts on these lawsuits? What do you think will happen?

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