The Ongoing Disney vs. DeSantis Battle: Politics, Power, and Legal Disputes

Title: The Ongoing Battle Between Disney and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis: A Case of Politics and Power[0]


In recent months, a legal dispute between The Walt Disney Company and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has garnered significant attention. The battle revolves around allegations of political retaliation, constitutional rights violations, and the legality of contracts between Disney and the Reedy Creek Improvement District. This article aims to provide an in-depth analysis of the ongoing legal battle, shedding light on the various claims, counterclaims, and the potential implications for both parties involved.


The conflict between Disney and DeSantis began in 2022 when former Disney CEO Bob Chapek publicly criticized Florida’s controversial Parental Rights in Education Act.[1] This act prompted a series of legislative changes that fundamentally altered the governance of Disney World’s special district, previously overseen by the Reedy Creek Improvement District.[2] DeSantis appointed a new board, the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD), which led to strained relations between Disney and the resort.[3]

Disney’s Lawsuit

Disney filed a federal lawsuit in April 2023, alleging that state officials and the CFTOD violated the company’s constitutional rights. They claimed that the actions taken against them were a result of expressing a political viewpoint unpopular with certain state officials. However, Disney recently narrowed its federal complaint to focus solely on First Amendment grounds, specifically accusing the governor of retaliating against them politically.[4]

The State Lawsuit[1]

In response to Disney’s federal lawsuit, the CFTOD filed a lawsuit in state court, challenging the legality of Disney’s previous agreement with the Reedy Creek Improvement District. This agreement undermined the power of the DeSantis-appointed board over the Disney World district.[1] The state lawsuit primarily revolves around contractual disputes and does not directly address the political aspects of the conflict.

Controversial Moves and Reactions

Disney’s decision to file federal lawsuits against the CFTOD and state officials has sparked controversy. Critics argue that the filing of these lawsuits was unnecessary and served as a publicity stunt rather than a legitimate legal strategy. Martin Garcia, Chairman of the CFTOD, criticized Disney’s actions, claiming that their retraction of certain federal claims demonstrated the baselessness of their original charges.[5]

Governance Practices and Urban Planning Quagmire

Proponents of DeSantis argue that Disney exploited the generosity of the people of Florida through the Reedy Creek Improvement Act, leading to governance practices that caused urban planning challenges.[1] The Act, initially designed to foster economic development, allegedly resulted in a quagmire of governance issues. Critics point out that the current legal battle exposes the flaws in the system and calls for reforms.

Budget Cuts and Legal Fees

The ongoing legal battle has had financial implications for both parties. The proposed budget for the CFTOD in 2024 includes a significant cut of over $3 million in road repair and maintenance at the Walt Disney World Resort.[6] This reduction in funding comes as legal fees continue to rise for the district.[7] It is worth noting that the district’s budget also includes provisions for millions in legal fees to sustain the legal fight against Disney.


The legal battle between Disney and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is a complex and multifaceted dispute that combines political, constitutional, and contractual issues. While Disney claims political retaliation and constitutional violations, the state lawsuit primarily focuses on contractual disputes.[1] The ongoing legal battle has financial implications and has led to a strained relationship between Disney and the CFTOD. As the lawsuits progress, the outcome remains uncertain, but the implications for both Disney and DeSantis could be significant.

0. “DeSantis’ Disney board wants to cut millions from road fixes at the park. Meanwhile, it’s facing huge legal fees to keep fighting Mickey Mouse in court.” Yahoo News, 14 Sep. 2023,

1. “DeSantis-appointed board chairman says Disney dropping most federal charges proves they were ‘bogus'” Colorado Springs Gazette, 14 Sep. 2023,

2. “The Chairman Of Disney World’s New Oversight District Went Off About The Old Arrangement: ‘Corporate Cronyism'” CinemaBlend, 14 Sep. 2023,

3. “Previous Ban on Disney World Annual Passes Now Being Reconsidered, Report Claims – Inside the Magic” Inside the Magic, 14 Sep. 2023,

4. “DeSantis: Disney’s First Amendment claim ‘bogus’” Clay Today Online, 14 Sep. 2023,,84660?

5. “CFTOD calls the Disney and Reedy Creek relationship ‘one of the greatest examples of corporate cronyism in modern …”, 13 Sep. 2023,

6. “Central Florida Tourism Oversight District Propose $3.1 Million Cut to Roadway Repair and Maintenance Around Walt …” WDW News Today, 13 Sep. 2023,

7. “Central Florida Tourism Oversight District Plans to Cut More Than $3 Million on Walt Disney World Area Road …” DAPS MAGIC, 14 Sep. 2023,

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