Town Built by Disney Turning Against DeSantis

Disney DeSantis Fight

Once upon a time, the Walt Disney World Resort actually had a town filled with people. It is called Celebration, and while it is no longer owned by Disney, its independent residents don’t appear to take too kindly to the fight between Disney World and Governor DeSantis.

DeSantis, Reedy Creek

According to the Washington Postmost people are not too happy with the situation. Originally created as part of Disney World and arguably as a consolation prize for EPCOT, Celebration was founded as a neotraditionalist settlement based around five pillars: “health, education, technology, sense of community and sense of place.”

It was emancipated from The Walt Disney Company and sits outside the Reedy Creek Improvement District–now the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District–in 2004. However, the ties to The Most Magical Place On Earth remain strong.

“You have a lot of Disney fanatics in this town, a lot of them moved here or bought a second home here because of Disney,” said Lauren Gunnyon, the executive director of Celebration. “But you do have a wide range of political views.”

Yet, as the fight for control between Disney and DeSantis progresses further into its second year, Celebration residents of all backgrounds appear to be siding with the Mouse.

Celebration compared to the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District

Credit: Reedy Creek Improvement District GIS Portal/ WaPo

“Disney just kind of makes magic happen,” said David Grasso, 38, whose family was some of the first to move into the community in 1996. “Disney really invested in us, and they were very invested in making Celebration work.”

“I had one resident who was just in here saying he is very supportive of Governor DeSantis,” Gunnyon said. “And I just had another resident here saying, ‘He’s crazy. What is he doing? This is Disney!’”

But it seems like not everybody in Celebration is pointing fingers at the Florida Governor.

“Disney should have never gotten political,” one anonymous resident shouted. “Disney lost a lot of support. They had a good thing going, but they put their foot in their mouth.”

Celebration Florida

Credit: Celebration, Florida

After losing its special district to State control and having the extraordinary development agreements with the former Board of Supervisors voided, Disney has now elected to take Governor DeSantis to court. While many speculate that the Republican Governor will lose, only time will tell of the Magic Kingdom will get their first real win in this battle.

About T.K. Bosacki

Born and raised in Tampa, Florida, TK Bosacki is a professional writer, amateur adventurer, and lifelong Disney Fanatic. His Disney Park days include Space Mountain, Tower of Terror, Kilimanjaro Safaris, and Nomad Lounge. He believes in starting at the Canada pavilion (IYKYK), and the Monorail is superior to all Ferry Boats.

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