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Disney vs. DeSantis: Case DISMISSED

Disney DeSantis lawsuit dismissed
Credit: Disney/Gage Skidmore/Canva

Nearly two years ago, now ex-Disney CEO Bob Chapek spoke out against Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill. The bill was dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill and was championed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Shortly after Chapek spoke out against the bill, Governor DeSantis began his crusade against the House of Mouse.

Bob Chapek Disney go woke go broke

Credit: Disney

Related: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Pushes for Massive Overhaul of Disney World Attractions & Rides

Mr. DeSantis and the Republican-led state legislature quickly dissolved the Reedy Creek Improvement District, which stripped Disney of its right to self-govern. They then voted to move Disney’s monorail system under state inspection control. The Governor appointed his own loyalists to lead the district formerly known as Reedy Creek. That new board is now having its own issues with the company.

Ron DeSantis

Credit: Gage Skidmore, Flickr

Related: Disney Slams DeSantis’ Disney Board With ANOTHER Lawsuit

After more than a year of dealing with the Governor, Disney officially filed a lawsuit against DeSantis. The company claimed that Mr. DeSantis had violated its First Amendment rights to free speech when he targeted them. Disney claimed that the governor had waged a campaign of retaliation against them, simply because they said something that he did not like.

florida governor ron desantis disney lawsuit lose presidential

Credit: Gage Skidmore/ Flickr

Related: Could Florida Department Shut Down the Disney World Monorail?

Now, a judge has sided with the controversial Governor. Disney’s case against Ron DeSantis has officially been dismissed.

District Judge Allen Winsor said that Disney did not have a claim of retaliation because the laws DeSantis created that targeted the company are “facially constitutional.”

bob iger and Disney

Credit: Disney

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

DeSantis’ lawyer had made that claim earlier when asking the judge to dismiss the case. The governor’s legal team said that it “didn’t matter” if DeSantis punished Disney, because the laws he passed looked constitutional. Because the laws appeared constitutional at face value, it doesn’t matter if it was created for a retaliatory reason.

The judge also determined that Governor DeSantis had every right to dissolve Reedy Creek and then appoint a board of his own loyalists.

Ron DeSantis

Credit: ABC

Related: Disney Gets a Big Break in Bringing Back Reedy Creek

Disney, however, highly disagreed with the judge’s ruling. Shortly after the ruling, a Disney spokesperson released a short statement:

“This is an important case with serious implications for the rule of law, and it will not end here. If left unchallenged, this would set a dangerous precedent and give license to states to weaponize their official powers to punish the expression of political viewpoints they disagree with.”

Walt Disney magic Kingdom park hopper

Credit: Disney

Disney has not said yet if it plans to appeal the judge’s ruling, but its statement appears to indicate such a move.

The ruling is relatively surprising, considering that Governor DeSantis admitted multiple times to going after Disney because they spoke out against him. He even admitted to retaliation in his new book. Many constitutional law experts said that Disney had a very strong case.

Do you think the judge should have dismissed the case? 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!

32 comments

  1. That’s what I have been saying since the beginning!

  2. Disney should absolutely appeal the ruling to dismiss. No govt or govt offial should ever be allowed to weaponize laws against companies that disagree with their hateful ideology! Desantis is a disaster!!!

  3. I am glad DeSantis won. He has no hateful ideology and has more respect for parents and their children then some Disney execs.

  4. Many large companies buying into a small. city over whelm the local government. Corporations do not own the city. The taxing authority is the city. Their city. Their rules

  5. Disney should absolutely appeal, as the ruling seems pretty political in nature. They should also cease any investments in the Florida market. It’s obviously impossible to pick up and move a 50 year old theme park, but it should remain just that: a 50 year old theme park. Time to let Florida know they no longer matter. Besides, Disneyland is better and has always been so.

  6. Disney should appeal. De Santis is bully using his legislation to punish those that speak up. We are heading down a slippery slope in this country.

  7. Yes, Disney should appeal the decision. DeSantis is setting an negative buyying example, what a thing to teach children! Someone doesn’t like what you said, then bully them and not let them have a differing opinion. He went public with his threats, which is retaliation. WDW should continue to explore leaving Florida and start to build outside of Flordia.

  8. I think Disney should appeal the Jugges decision. No government should have complete control over a private business. DeSantis is wrong.

  9. The fact is that Disney received special treatment for years making it nearly impossible for other parks to compete with them fairly. Disney kept raising its prices and thinking they were invincible. Universal slowly came up by making going to the parks affordable to those people who couldn’t afford Disney. Now that Disney has to play on a equal playing field they came in second place in parks this past year to Universal. The law enacted by the state representatives (if you remember how government works) make the law. The Governor is the executive branch which executes the laws. Based on the law as written it was determined by the Judge to be valid on its face. The representatives who made the law compromise all the counties in Florida not just the liberal counties. The Judge made the right decision based on the law not personal feelings.

    • Well said.

      DeSantis over Disney!

    • Well said.

      DeSantis wins again!!!

    • Stephanie, Please research this and then tell me that Governor DeSantis did not single Disney out for disagreeing with him!

      How many special taxing districts are there in FL?
      “There are over 1,700 Independent and Dependent Special Districts in the state, governed by more than 30 statutes, involving over 500 local governments. Special Districts provide limited purpose government on a local level.Sep 14, 2023

      And Stephanie that is exactly what Disney’s Reedy Creek was, a special taxing district rather like the “Villages”. I side with Disney!!!

  10. Lucious T Guinn III

    I would move Disney World to another state to see what they think then

  11. Disney is learning humility the hard way. Good for DeSantis and Florida.

  12. Disney should be governed under the same laws as Universal and Sea World

  13. Looks like the judge is living in the Swamp DeSantis created! Id like an investigation to see how the judge profited,if at all, from this verdict.

    Its completely insane to have a judge agree that DeSantis arbitrarily made up these laws to punish Disney and sees absolutely nothing wrong with that.

    Disney needs to go after the actual laws that were created by a big baby

  14. This decision was inevitable. The law behind it is distinct from the Parents rights act. The rights act may be one day ruled unconstitutional and if Disney is so upset over it that is where they need to use their money and publicity. The statute on the creation and dissolution of special use districts is well established. As long as those rules were followed Disney has no case against the government. It’s clear Disney is more concerned over the loss of control and ability to avoid outside oversight over their semi-governmental activities. There have been issues where they are probably not following rules. A simple example was not paying the income taxes on the passes and other benefits employees were given. By IRS rules these are compensation and subject to tax. Now the employees are liable to the tax. Look at the drainage issues. Any other business would have to fix that. Disney has been getting away with stacking the board with former and current employees by maintaining a trailer park and listing those as the legal residences of board members. This is common knowledge, it’s also unlawful. It was only a matter of time before the district would have been dissolved. I agree the initial cause is unfortunate, but is not a matter of law.

  15. Stephanie, Please research this and then tell me that Governor DeSantis did not single Disney out for disagreeing with him!

    How many special taxing districts are there in FL?
    “There are over 1,700 Independent and Dependent Special Districts in the state, governed by more than 30 statutes, involving over 500 local governments. Special Districts provide limited purpose government on a local level.Sep 14, 2023

    And Stephanie that is exactly what Disney’s Reedy Creek was, a special taxing district rather like the “Villages”. I side with Disney!!!

  16. I truly think everyone needs to think about this. So a governor, or the government does not like your point of view. You speak up, and you are punished with a new “law” using retaliation against what you believe. Seems like a lot of people need to go back and read some history books, and not the propaganda ones distributed to public schools, real history books, and see if you should not be reconsidering agreeing with a government silencing and punishing you for your views. If you’re on the right side of the law, you won’t mind. If you’re on the opposing side, you will pay a price. One of these days, those on the “right side of the law” at this moment, may find themselves on the opposing side one day. Then they will be the ones to once again scream about their first amendment rights, blah, blah, blah, it’s not fair, it’s wrong,etc. But until then, go back and learn what a democracy is, and do some research on the other types of government in the world. Slowly you will see we are not as free as you think, and we’re being controlled more and more every day. You should be scared….all of us should be scared, but history is always bound to repeat itself until the lesson is learned. Looks like we have a lot of generations to go before that may happen.

    • You really have no idea what this was all about, yet you ramble on with a lot of nonsense. This was about a Private company that was given some leeway and left unchecked developed its own sovereign status , when Disney tried it intervene with government issues and policies it brought them into the light , no other company or business had these and the state step in and levelled the playing field that Equitable to all businesses in the state .

      • Pamela Mallory-Ricker

        Your comment demonstrates just how little you understand about the First Amendment. Disney refused to kowtow to DeSantis “Don’t Say Gay” and DeSantis retaliated by dissolving a city, which is what the Reesy Creek Development really is. After all, it had its own police department, fire department, water department, etc. DeSantis denied Disney its right to free speech. Our entire government is based on that. It’s one of our most basic civil rights. And you support a member of our government who is attacking our fundamental rights? Are you sure you’re an American or did you just sleep through Civics and US history.
        And all of this fails to mention what this is going to do to the taxes of the other property owners in the surrounding county. All due to one .little man-child who had a snit fit because he didn’t get his way.
        D@mn r1ght, Disney should appeal.

  17. It sounds like the judge is bought and paid for like the rest of Meatball’s crew.

  18. Disney overreached when they decided to use their influence on government issues and policies , like ALL CONTRACTS they are renegotiating or even dissolved . Disney decided to shine the bright light on them and moved the Reedy Creek to the top of the stack and came back to bite Disney squarely in the mouse’s butt
    Now there finding out there not a mighty as they think and the Court has taken Disney down a notch or two and like all little kids they wanted to retaliate throw a childish tantrum and the Judge said sit down .

    • I am 62 and a 3rd generation Floridian. Disney is a corporation and has its failings like all companies. However, Disney built Central Florida, trust me, Orlando was a small city with farmland around it. The special district was granted so Disney could control the quality of the roads and the services it provided. It is not the only one in the state…there are over 1,000. It actually takes the responsibility of those services off of the surrounding cities, counties and state. They are the by far the largest employer in the area, and the economy would collapse if they pulled out. Governor DeSantis is now a lame duck politician that has egg on his face. Just sayin

    • Pamela Mallory-Ricker

      You need to reread the Constitution. This entire issue is based firmly on the First Amendment. DeSantis had a snit fit because Disney refused to allow him to control their right to free speech and sought to punish them. He dissolved Reedy Creek which provided fire, police, roads, etc. Now the local inhabitants are going to have to pay for it. How many of them do you think would even vote for him for dog catcher? He’s toast.
      Disney should absolutely appeal.

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