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The War is Over, and Disney has Beaten DeSantis

Disney/DeSantis fight will break new legal ground

It seemed like an odd thing to do at the time, but now, in retrospect, we were all being rope-a-doped by the Walt Disney Company. For those of you unfamiliar with the reference, it comes from the 1974 Rumble in the Jungle. “The Greatest” Muhammad Ali was taking on the big, lumbering George Foreman. Ali just let Foreman punch away until he tired himself out. Then, in the eighth round, when Foreman ran out of gas, Ali knocked him out.

Disney won the war with DeSantis

Credit: National Archives

So that’s what Disney was doing this entire time. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was full of bluster. He had beaten the Mouse House, stripped away their independent governing body, and instilled the Central Florida Tourism Oversight Board in its place—a group of five people loyal to DeSantis that would keep Disney in line.

And the entire time, Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger remained silent on the issue, only telling the media that Disney would not fight the creation of the new Board in court.

But what played out this showed that Disney was waiting for DeSantis to punch himself out before they delivered the knockout blow. Before the dissolution of the Reedy Creek Improvement District, Disney stripped it of all its power in plain sight. So, when the Central Florida Tourism Oversite District took over, they had no real power.

Disney won the war with DeSantis

Governor Ron DeSantis Credit: ABC

This week, former member of the Florida House of Representatives and elections attorney Juan-Carlos Planas took to Twitter to explain that there is minimal possibility that Disney will lose this fight in the courts and that Disney expected to win in court all along.

According to Planas, the only people who can sue are residents negatively impacted by a development agreement. Since there are no residents in the Reedy Creek Improvement District, it will be impossible for anyone to have the standing to sue. Essentially, Planas is saying that since no one lives in the district, no one can bring a lawsuit against the community, including the new board.

Should the Central Florida Tourism Oversight Board choose to sue, which they most likely will, it will come out in court that the nature of the new law was to restrict Disney’s content. Planas argues that the case will immediately be dismissed on First Amendment grounds, thus making the law that created the Board unconstitutional.

This is the final punch that Ali never gave Foreman as he was falling to the ground. As Plantas argues, that is what the Walt Disney Company just did to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

It just goes to show, don’t go to war with a multi-national, billion-dollar company, unless you know you’re going to win.

We will continue to keep you updated on this story at Disney Fanatic.


About Rick

Rick is an avid Disney fan. He first went to Disney World in 1986 with his parents and has been hooked ever since. Rick is married to another Disney fan and is in the process of turning his two children into fans as well. When he is not creating new Disney adventures, he loves to watch the New York Yankees and hang out with his dog, Buster. In the fall, you will catch him cheering for his beloved NY Giants.

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