“Freedom Month”: Governor DeSantis Bans Colors at Disney World

in Walt Disney World

A man in a suit and tie is smiling broadly in front of a colorful night scene featuring a lit-up castle and fireworks in the sky. The castle has intricate lighting and projections, creating a celebratory atmosphere.

Credit: Inside in the Magic

Governor Ron DeSantis has decreed a “Freedom Month” for the state of Florida, which includes discounts on camping equipment, park fees, and sales taxes. Bizarrely, it also forbids the usage of non-approved colors at Disney World and on bridges across the state, which doesn’t feel very “free.”

Ron DeSantis giving a thumbs up in front of the Magic Kingdom entrance sign under a blue sky.
Credit: Inside the Magic

“Freedom Month”

Freedom Month is a new initiative pushed by Governor DeSantis that is intended to “make summer more affordable for families,” according to the politician. It also appears to be a criticism of federal spending, with DeSantis saying in a statement that “While the federal government is causing high inflation and skyrocketing costs for families, Florida’s smart fiscal policies allow us to reduce taxes and help reduce the burden on Floridians.”

Officially named Freedom Summer Sales Tax Holiday, the new state event will, according to the governor’s official website:

“[T]ake place the entire month of July and will make items such as fishing supplies, outdoor recreation equipment, admissions to state parks and, museums sales tax free. Additionally, the Governor announced that Florida State Parks will offer free admission on Memorial Day Weekend to kick off the summer for Florida’s families.”

Governor Ron DeSantis smiling widely
Credit: DeSantis

Since the very public collapse of DeSantis’s 2024 presidential campaign, the far-right politician has returned to Florida and is signing bills into law at a breakneck pace.

It has been argued that since DeSantis can not run for another term as governor until he has been out of office for four years, he is doing everything he can to repair his somewhat tarnished image after going head-to-head with former President Donald Trump and The Walt Disney Company.

Governor DeSantis and Disney were locked in legal battles for nearly a year, triggered by former CEO Bob Chapek taking a public stance against the Parental Rights in Education Act (better known as the “Don’t Say Gay” law). Activist groups condemned the act as anti-LGBTQIA+, while DeSantis made it a prominent part of his image as an “anti-woke” crusader.

Related: “That Gauntlet’s Been Laid Down”: Governor DeSantis Applauds Brutal Police Strike at Disney World

DeSantis took action against Disney, dissolving the Reedy Creek Improvement District, where the majority of The Walt Disney World Resort is located, and replacing it with the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD), which is controlled by a board of supervisors that he personally appoints. Unsurprisingly, this led to numerous lawsuits that have since been (mostly) settled.

Depressed DeSantis against justice scales
Credit: Inside the Magic

However, DeSantis is now coming under more criticism from LGBTIA+ groups for forbidding any commemorative colors on bridges in Florida, which would include Disney World’s many bridges. Ironically, this strict control over public displays is being lauded as a form of “freedom” by the governor’s representatives.

DeSantis, Disney, and Commemorative Colors

From May 27 to September 2, numerous bridges across Florida will be lit up with patriotic red, white, and blue for Freedom Month—but only those colors, with all others strictly forbidden (per The Sarasota Herald-Tribune).

Numerous public groups, including LGBTIA+ activists, are crying foul, as this edict from Governor DeSantis will block bridges from being lit with commemorative colors for Pride Month, National Gun Violence Awareness Month, Juneteenth, World Fragile X Day, Women’s Equality Day and National Recovery Month.

Related: DeSantis Unveils $2.2 Billion Expanded Disability Support Funding, Impacting Thousands of Walt Disney World Guests

While these kinds of public display decisions for bridges and the like are normally made by local governments, Governor DeSantis has issued a statewide order to enforce his decisions during Freedom Month, thereby superseding any independent groups.

Ron DeSantis with the Walt and Mickey statue at Disney World
Credit: Inside the Magic

Sarasota County spokesman Luke Mocherman, speaking of the Ringling Bridge, which normally displays Pride Month lighting, said:

“The Ringling Causeway Bridge is maintained by the Florida Department of Transportation, which also controls the bridge lighting. As the city cannot supersede the State, all bridge lighting schemes previously approved by the city for special recognition between Memorial Day and Labor Day will not be provided in accordance with FDOT’s directive that bridge lighting remain red, white, and blue.”

The Walt Disney World Resort has not publicly commented on how this might affect any lighting displays, but recent history has shown that Governor DeSantis is perfectly willing to exert his executive power over a private company like Disney if it has a political angle. Of all things, it seems that the next big battle between the governor and the Mouse might involve color schemes.

Do you think “Freedom Month” should involve mandating what colors can be used in public displays? Tell us in the comments below!

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