DeSantis Pulls a Hail Mary in Ongoing Feud With Disney

DeSantis lawsuit
Credit: Disney, Flick/Gage Skidmore

Round and round we go. Camp DeSantis and Team Disney are locked in a never ending battle of “he-said, she-said.” The feud has sparked governmental action, multiple lawsuits and more than a little mud slinging on both sides. Fans have been caught in the middle watching the fight like some sort of tennis match. DeSantis makes a move and Disney fires back. Disney takes action, and DeSantis defends against it. The back and forth is seemingly never ending. Both parties currently have pending lawsuits against the other. Disney in Federal Court, DeSantis in State Court.

Ron Desantis Disney

Credit: Disney and ABC

How Disney and DeSantis Became Enemies

Ever since Disney opposed the Parental Rights in Education Act put forth by Governor Ron DeSantis, the two have been bitterly at odds. Shortly after the law preventing discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity with young children passed, Disney came out in opposition to it. Initially, though, the company was silent on the matter. It wasn’t until Cast Members and fans put pressure on the company that they made their stance on the matter known. CEO at the time Bob Chapek condemned the law and said Disney would do anything it could to repeal the law.

Bob Chapek

Credit: Disney

Gov DeSantis fired back at the company and set about removing Reedy Creek, Disney’s special tax district that oversaw land maintenance and development. In its place is the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, a group of individuals hand-picked by DeSantis to perform the same functions Reedy Creek did, just with added State government. Disney has filed a federal lawsuit in response alleging that Governor DeSantis has violated their First Amendment right to free speech.

Legal Battles and a Hail Mary 

The First Amendment grants citizens the right to say what they like without governmental incursion or punishment. Disney claims that DeSantis and his team violated their First Amendment rights by imposing governmental retaliation as a result of their protected free speech. The DeSantis camp argues that the dissolution of Reedy Creek is not related to Disney’s opposition and therefore not a violation. They also claim that Disney’s Federal Court case has no grounds due to the situation being a state matter. It’s for that reason that DeSantis has filed a motion to dismiss Disney’s case in Federal Court on Wednesday.

florida governor ron desantis disney lawsuit lose presidential

Credit: Gage Skidmore/ Flickr

“The Constitution … does not entitle Disney to a local government that functions essentially as the Company’s wholly owned subsidiary, nor does it grant Disney a right to undermine the State’s attempt to end that corrupting arrangement,” they wrote.

They also argue that the Federal Courts do not have jurisdiction over the matter and should abstain from involvement on the grounds that the case involves matters of state law. In a separate filing, they also argued that Disney lacks the grounds to sue a state governor and as such the case should be dropped entirely.

This latest motion to dismiss has yet to be heard and decided on by the court. A ruling is expected on the matter within the upcoming week. Last month Florida state courts rejected Disney’s motion to dismiss a case brought against it by DeSantis.

bob iger and ron desantis

Credit: Disney, Pixabay, Adobe

Neither Disney nor representatives of Ron DeSantis have issued a comment on the matter. As always stay tuned to Disney Dining where we will monitor this situation closely. We will bring you updates regarding these cases as they happen.


About Jill Bivins

Jill Bivins has been visiting Disney Parks since she was 2 years old and loves sharing her Disney adventures with the world. She likes to say Disney is in her blood and writing is in her bones — so any time she has the opportunity to combine these loves she is one happy camper! She has a deep abiding love for Epcot and as a die hard Star Wars fan has a serious love for Hollywood Studios as well. When she isn't exploring or writing about Disney Parks, Jill is homeschooling her 8 year old son, playing with her brand new baby son, or pretending to be a farmer on her family homestead (despite being unable to keep even a cactus alive). Find Jill on Instagram @minnieonmain.