The Ongoing Feud Between Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Disney: A Two-Year Battle

The ongoing feud between Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and entertainment giant Disney has reached its second year, with both sides taking aggressive actions against each other. The battle started last year when Disney opposed the Florida bill that critics named “Don’t Say Gay,” which forbids instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in public schools for kindergarten through third grade.[0] DeSantis then targeted Disney, attempting to strip the district where Disney is based of its self-governing status and replace the board that oversaw the area.[0] However, a Disney-allied panel signed a long-lasting development agreement that drastically limits the governor’s control.[1] According to DeSantis, lawmakers in the state are working on a bill to invalidate the aforementioned agreement.[1]

Former President Donald Trump and former New Jersey governor Chris Christie have both criticized DeSantis over his conflict with Disney.[2] Trump wrote in a post on his social network Truth Social that DeSantis is being “absolutely destroyed by Disney” and suggested that the company would be justified in leaving Florida.[3] Christie said during an interview that he doesn’t think DeSantis is a conservative based on his actions towards Disney.[4]

The controversy has become an opportunity for DeSantis’ possible rivals in a presidential primary to attack the Florida governor.[1] DeSantis’ conflict with Disney has drawn criticism from both Trump, a current presidential candidate, and Christie, a possible contender for the 2024 race.[1]

In response to the ongoing dispute, DeSantis has fired the existing controlling board of the Reedy Creek Improvement District and replaced them with a five-member body that he picked himself, including one who helped craft the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.[3] Additionally, the state legislature also introduced legislation that would overturn the development agreement, which means the special district and DeSantis’ appointees will be able to exert greater control over allowing construction on Disney’s land.[5]

DeSantis has also announced plans to change rules so Walt Disney World’s monorail and theme park rides will be subject to state inspections, as large theme parks in Florida now have their own inspection processes in place instead. This move comes after DeSantis claimed that Walt Disney World Resort is no longer “above the law” and would be subject to state inspections of the Monorail and the attractions within the parks.

However, the feud between DeSantis and Disney has been criticized by some as a distraction from real-life issues. State congresswoman Anna Eskamani said that it continues to be a distraction for them to focus on real-life issues by continuing the Disney versus DeSantis drama. Meanwhile, a Walt Disney World spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment about Wednesday’s actions.[6]

0. “DeSantis-picked board passes resolution to have ‘superior authority’ over Disney” ABC Action News Tampa Bay, 19 Apr. 2023,

1. “Disney tells its lobbyists to step up fight against DeSantis and his allies in Florida” CNBC, 20 Apr. 2023,

2. “Disney vs. DeSantis: Florida lawmakers join fight for control” Tallahassee Democrat, 19 Apr. 2023,

3. “What’s Going On With the DeSantis-Disney Debacle?” Vogue, 19 Apr. 2023,

4. “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis loses again to Disney”, 20 Apr. 2023,

5. “DeSantis Disney Board Meeting: Here’s How Governor And His Appointees Could Change Disney World” Forbes, 20 Apr. 2023,

6. “DeSantis-backed board moves closer to nixing Disney pact” POLITICO, 19 Apr. 2023,

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