The Ongoing Feud Between Disney and Florida Governor Escalates

The ongoing feud between the Walt Disney Company and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has escalated in recent weeks, with DeSantis ordering a state investigation into Disney’s interactions with the former governing board of the Reedy Creek Improvement District. The district had provided Disney with overwhelming government-like control over the land housing its parks, but earlier this year, at DeSantis’ direction, the Florida legislature passed a bill stripping leadership of the district and giving government oversight to a DeSantis-appointed board.[0] However, before the new board could take control, the outgoing leadership approved a declaration granting Disney “prior review and comment” over proposed property changes.[1]

Disney CEO Bob Iger has criticized DeSantis’ actions against the company, calling them “anti-business” and “anti-Florida.”[2] The feud began last year when Disney voiced opposition to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which limits classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in public schools.[3] Disney vowed to help have the bill repealed, but DeSantis has accused the company of attempting to undermine Florida’s duly-enacted legislation.[4]

Despite the controversy, Disney has stood by its actions, stating that all agreements between the company and the Reedy Creek board were “appropriate” and “discussed and approved in open, noticed public forums in compliance with Florida Government in the Sunshine law.”[5] Meanwhile, DeSantis has accused the board of engaging in “collusive and self-dealing arrangements” and suffering from “serious legal infirmities.”

The ongoing battle has prompted DeSantis to order a state investigation into Disney’s interactions with the former governing board, with DeSantis stating that “while a company has First Amendment rights, it does not have the right to run its own government and operate outside the bounds of Florida law.” The investigation is the latest counterattack in the continuing dispute between the entertainment giant and the Florida governor.

Despite the controversy, Disney has announced plans to invest more than $17 billion at Walt Disney World over the next 10 years, creating an estimated 13,000 new jobs within the company and generating thousands of indirect jobs.[6] However, the ongoing feud with DeSantis has cast doubt on the future of Disney’s operations in Florida and raised questions about the company’s ability to maintain its control over the land housing its parks.

0. “4 big questions about Disney and Ron DeSantis, answered” Tampa Bay Times, 4 Apr. 2023,

1. “Disney is in a land war with the state of Florida” The Verge, 4 Apr. 2023,

2. “Disney CEO Bob Iger rips Ron DeSantis over ‘anti-Florida’ retaliation” CNBC, 3 Apr. 2023,

3. “Disney chief knocks DeSantis’s attacks on company as ‘anti-Florida’” The Hill, 3 Apr. 2023,

4. “Disney’s Iger slams DeSantis’ actions as ‘anti-business,’ ‘anti-Florida'” Business Insider, 4 Apr. 2023,

5. “DeSantis wants state investigation into Disney power play” POLITICO, 3 Apr. 2023,

6. “Bob Iger calls Florida actions against Disney World ‘anti-business'” CNN, 3 Apr. 2023,

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