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Disney Appeals Loss to DeSantis

Disney appeals DeSantis lawsuit
Credit: Disney/Flickr

For almost two years, The Walt Disney Company has been locked in a heated battle with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. The trouble began when ex-Disney CEO Bob Chapek spoke out against a Florida that was championed by the Governor. From there, things quickly devolved.

The controversial governor and the Republican-led state legislature quickly worked Disney of its right to self-govern by dissolving the Reedy Creek Improvement Act. They also passed a law putting the monorail under state inspection control. DeSantis even threatened to build a prison next to Disney World, but that has not happened.

DeSantis monorail inspection

Credit: Disney

Related: DeSantis’ Disney Takeover Hits the Parks

In April 2023, Disney filed a lawsuit against Mr. DeSantis, claiming a violation of its First Amendment Rights. The company claimed that the governor had retaliated against them because they said something he didn’t like. And the governor didn’t deny it. In fact, he admitted multiple times that he had, in fact, gone after the company for speaking out against the Parents Rights in Education Bill.

Ron DeSantis

Credit: Gage Skidmore, Flickr

DeSantis’ lawyers argued that, as long as the laws looked constitutional, it didn’t matter if they were created for a retaliatory reason. And, on January 31, federal judge Allen Winsor announced that he agreed with DeSantis.

Judge Winsor dismissed Disney’s lawsuit, ruling that the laws DeSantis signed against Disney were “facially constitutional.” The judge further stated that Mr. DeSantis had every right to dissolve Reedy Creek. He also had a right to appoint a board to oversee Disney World, made up of his own loyalists who had no experiences working in the theme park industry.

reedy creek fire department building at disney world

Credit: Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District

Related: DeSantis’ Disney District Ended First Responder Protection in Multiple Cities

Disney has not taken the ruling lying down.

On Thursday, February 1, Disney appealed Judge Winsor’s ruling. They filed the appeal in the federal appeals court.

Best snack at Disney World Kernel Kitchen

Credit: Disney

Shortly after the judge’s ruling, Disney released a statement, voicing their disappointment. A Disney spokesperson said that the judge’s ruling was setting a dangerous precedent. They worry about what could happen if politicians are allowed to make laws to punish companies with impunity.

DeSantis has not commented on the dismissal or the appeal.

Do you agree with the judge’s ruling? 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!

One comment

  1. DeSantis is just working his vendetta. That judge was very obviously bought and paid for by DeSantis. Either money talks or there’s a future favor to be had. No logically thinking judge would allow such a precedent to be set.

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