Neither Disney Nor DeSantis, There’s One Winner in Florida Feud

disney desantis feud california
Credit: Gage Skidmore, Flickr; Disney / Canva

While many are speculating whether the Walt Disney Company or Florida Governor Ron DeSantis will emerge as the winner in their feud, some are arguing there’s only one real winner, and it’s neither party.

The Disney vs. DeSantis feud has been making headlines for months, and multiple shots have been fired back and forth. There have been lawsuits and press conferences (though not necessarily called specifically in relation to the feud) wherein both parties have addressed the issue. Many have argued that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis won, and others the Walt Disney Company. However, one outlet highlighted a winner that some may not have considered, and it’s neither Governor DeSantis nor Disney.

Accusations fly that Disney gave DeSantis huge donation

“Partners” statue in front of Cinderella Castle, Magic Kingdom Park, Walt Disney World Resort / Credit: Disney

Related: DeSantis’ Board Considering Settlement With Disney

The Disney vs. DeSantis feud has seen both sides losing out on various investments. The Walt Disney Company canceled its Lake Nona campus, which certainly impacts the state of Florida in terms of economic opportunity, but it also impacted Disney itself, considering many employees had already set in motion their plans to move.

On the flip side, the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District board (formerly called the Reedy Creek Improvement District board) also has been working on agreements that make Disney’s functioning in the Sunshine State much harder. Walt Disney World doesn’t have quite as easy a ride in the state as it once did.

Iger's return has been filled with failures

Disney CEO Bob Iger / Credit: Jeremiah Daws, Flickr

Related: Chief Justice John Roberts Just Sent a Message to DeSantis, Bring Disney Feud to Supreme Court and You’ll Lose

However, in all of this, one incontestable winner has emerged: the Golden State, AKA California. Disney has made clear in no uncertain terms that they will take their business to states that support their ventures, and California Gov. Gavin Newsom has made sure to make clear that he intends to be a friendly figure when it comes to the Walt Disney Company.

The Street reported,

Newsom, a liberal Democrat, has embraced Disney for the LGBTQ+ values and inclusivity it has supported, which DeSantis has taken issue with. Newsom recently attended Disneyland’s Pride Nite and made clear that his rival’s open intolerance was making California an attractive place for Disney and other companies to do business.   

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis / Credit: Gage Skidmore, Flickr

Related: Disney Has the Last Laugh! Experts Say DeSantis’s Time is “Limited,” Disney Feud “Not Paying Off”

“In California, we don’t just tolerate our diversity, we celebrate it and all the ways it makes us stronger,” Governor Newsom said in a statement. “Our inclusivity and acceptance attract new talent and ideas that drive our economic growth and make California a hotspot for world-leading companies to grow and prosper.”

Former Medtronic CEO Bill George believes that “DeSantis has done lasting harm to Disney’s investments in Florida.”

Head found Disney attraction

Sleeping Beauty Castle, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort / Credit: Disney

It stands to reason, then, that Disney will take its business to the other state where they have a firmly established presence; Disney calls it Disneyland Forward.

“We want to bring more Disney investment to Anaheim. However, this becomes more challenging under our current approvals and the limited space available in our Parks today. Without updates, new Disney experiences and placemaking, created from our beloved stories, will likely never find their way to the Disneyland Resort as they have to other parks throughout the world,” the company said.

The company concluded that if the state of California works with them (namely, acting on the zoning changes Disney needs to expand Disneyland), “new lands and adventures like those underway at Tokyo DisneySea and Shanghai Disneyland could inspire new experiences here.”

About Priyanka Kumar

Priyanka is a writer, artist, avid reader, and travel enthusiast based in Chicago. In her free time, she is probably walking by the lake, catching up on the latest releases on TV, or spending inordinate amounts of time rewatching Moana, Encanto, and her Disney Channel life-long favorites Zack and Cody wreak havoc on the Tipton.

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