Despite Lawsuits and Mass Exodus, DeSantis Claims “Success” in Disney Takeover

DeSantis declares success over Disney World
Credit: Disney/Piers Morgan Uncensored

It’s been almost two years since the relationship between The Walt Disney Company and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis went from cordial to absolute disdain. Things took a nosedive when former Disney CEO Bob Chapek spoke out against Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Bill. Governor DeSantis championed the bill and didn’t appreciate what Disney had to say.

DeSantis quickly declared war on the House of Mouse and he, along with the Florida state legislature, passed several bills that specifically targeted Walt Disney World Resort. Most notably, the state dissolved the Reedy Creek Improvement Act, which essentially allowed Disney World to function as its own government.

Disney vs DeSantis

Credit: Wikipedia

Related: DeSantis’ Disney Takeover Hits the Parks

After dissolving Reedy Creek, DeSantis renamed the area the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District and hand-picked a board to run the area. Since the board was full of DeSantis loyalists, things did not go well between the CFTOD and Disney. Disney is currently suing the CFTOD for violating its First Amendment rights and breach of contract.

Man sues Reedy Creek Over Elevator Fall

Credit: Disney

Since the CFTOD board took over, things in the former Reedy Creek District have gone from bad to worse. Employees in the area have spoken out against the board for taking away their long-held perks. When the area was controlled by Reedy Creek, employees in the district received free entry to Disney World theme parks for themselves and their family members.

Now, they have no access and were only granted a $1,000 stipend, which is insufficient to cover Annual Passes.

Lake Buena Vista no firefighters

Credit: Reedy Creek Improvement District

Related: Disney to Spend Millions of Dollars, Paying For Both Sides of Disney vs. DeSantis Legal Battle

There has also been a mass exodus of people who worked for Reedy Creek for a long time. In the less than one year since the CFTOD board took over, dozens of employees have quit. They have also not been quiet about why they were leaving.

More than once, the board has been called “unqualified and incompetent.” It should be noted that none of the board members have experience with the theme park industry.

Reedy Creek

Credit: Reedy Creek Improvement District

Despite all the struggles DeSantis has had — including having to constantly defend his Disney decisions during his failed Presidential campaign — the controversial governor is telling people that his campaign against Disney has been a “success.”

During a news conference — which ironically took place at Disney World — DeSantis hyped up his victories against the studio giant. He mainly focused on the fact that a judge threw out Disney’s First Amendment lawsuit against him. Disney is currently appealing the ruling.

Ron DeSantis

Credit: Gage Skidmore, Flickr

Per The Associated Press:

The governor also said the takeover of the district with his appointees had created more transparency and accountability, reduced the tax burden for Disney and outside shops and restaurants at the theme park resort and made the awarding of contracts by the district more competitive. The district provides municipal services such as firefighting, planning and mosquito control, among other things.

“That is a win, not just for people in this region, but the state of Florida,” DeSantis said.

Mickey Mouse, cinderella castle, grayscaled

Credit: Disney / Canva

When dismissing Disney’s lawsuit against the Florida governor, Federal Judge Allen Winsor appeared to agree with the argument made by DeSantis’ lawyers. The governor’s legal team argued that it “didn’t matter” if the state created laws to punish Disney, as long as they looked constitutional.

However, that is not the only courtroom fight that Disney is waging against the governor. The two sides are also fighting a battle in the state court over deals signed by Disney before DeSantis took over. DeSantis’ new board claimed that the last-minute deals made the board’s powers moot, and DeSantis wants those deals voided.

cinderella castle in black and white

Credit: Becky Burkett

Disney is arguing that, since the deals were legitimate and made while the Reedy Creek board was still in power, there is no reason to void them.

Do you think Ron DeSantis’ fight against Disney has been a “success”? Let us know in the comments!

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!

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