Mickey Mouse, Disney Bend the Knee to DeSantis After Two-Year-Long Battle

Mickey Mouse, Disney Bend the Knee to DeSantis After Two-Year-Long Battle

Disney has settled their lawsuits against DeSantis, officially acknowledging their new governor-appointed board

Liv Caputo
Liv Caputo
March 27, 2024

ORLANDO, FL—In the newest development of one of the strangest—and surprisingly long-running— Florida feuds, Disney has officially dropped its lawsuits against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

Walt Disney Co. filed suits in hopes of regaining and solidifying their property rights in special district Reedy Creek. They searched for increased power to the theme park after DeSantis appointed a new board that both oversees and enforces taxes from the corporation to the city of Orlando.

The settlement agreement on Wednesday requires Disney to acknowledge that its grasp at last-minute deals it made with Reedy Creek are now null and void.

"No corporation should be its own government," DeSantis' Communications Director, Bryan Griffin, said of the Disney settlement. "Moving forward, we stand ready to work with Disney and the District to help promote economic growth, family-friendly tourism, and accountable government in Central Florida."

Disney and DeSantis battled over a Parental Rights in Education bill—the so-called "Don't Say Gay" measure in 2022, leading DeSantis to start stripping away the corporation's position as a special tax district.

After attempts to remove special tax district Reedy Creek altogether failed, DeSantis instead created the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CTFOD) to encompass Disney. This included a governor-appointed board to hold the theme park financially accountable to the city of Orlando.

This essentially ended a slew of tax breaks and powers enjoyed by the park, angering the corporation. Hours before the CTFOD took over, Disney quickly entered into a series of deals with the Reedy Creek board—hoping to prevent the new board from enforcing their powers.

Wednesday's settlement by Disney shows their begrudging acceptance of the CTFOD and the acknowledgment that their last-minute Development Agreement with Reedy Creek is "null and void"

Wednesday morning also sees a potential new boss of Walt Disney World's CTFOD board—Stephanie Kopelousos. Recommended by the Governor, the five-member board will consider whether to install her into the job of administrator.


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Liv Caputo

Liv Caputo

Livia Caputo is a senior at Florida State University, working on a major in Criminology, and a triple minor in Psychology, Communications, and German. She has been working on a journalism career for the past year, and hopes to become a successful reporter after graduation. Her work has been cited in Fox News, the New York Post, and the Daily Mail

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