For more than a year, Disney has been embroiled in a heated fight with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. During that time, the Governor and the state legislature stripped Disney World of its right to self-govern. DeSantis dissolved the Reedy Creek Improvement Act and appointed a new board to oversee the area. The new board’s intention was to have near-complete control over Walt Disney World Resort. However, just before the new board — called the Central Florida Tourism Oversight Committee — took over, Disney and the Reedy Creek board made several deals.
One of those land agreements made between Disney and Reedy Creek said that Disney would have control over the special district until 21 years after the death of the youngest living descendant of King Charles. The board, and the governor, did not take kindly to the land deals and quickly said that they would investigate to see if the deals are legal. According to legal experts, Disney and the old Reedy Creek board followed the letter of the law before signing the deal.
On April 26, Disney filed a lawsuit against Governor DeSantis and the Central Florida Tourism Board. Disney claimed that they were being targeted simply for exercising their First Amendment right. Just days later, the board announced that they were suing Disney. The board claimed that they were suing Disney to fight Disney wanting to maintain control, fighting the will of Florida voters. They also claimed that the deals Disney made with Reedy Creek were “backroom deals” that will not stand up in court.
Less than one week after The Central Florida Tourism Board announced its countersuit against Disney, Governor DeSantis signed a bill that voids the deals Disney made with the old Reedy Creek board. Because DeSantis signed that bill, Disney has asked a federal judge to dismiss the lawsuit filed by the new board. Disney claims that, because of the new law, the board’s lawsuit is moot.
Per a report from CNBC:
Disney on Tuesday asked a Florida court to dismiss a lawsuit by the board of supervisors that Gov. Ron DeSantis had handpicked to oversee Walt Disney World’s operations.
The court filing argues that the lawsuit has been rendered moot after DeSantis signed a bill that voided Disney’s development deals, which are at now at the center of the long-running conflict between Disney and the Republican governor.By signing that legislation, DeSantis essentially carried out the same action that the board is asking the court to take, Disney argued.
Last week, Disney expanded and amended its lawsuit against Governor DeSantis, even using his own words against him. Disney is claiming that the governor is waging a war of retaliation against them. The House of Mouse is claiming that DeSantis has been targeting them since they spoke out against Florida’s controversial Parental Rights in Education bill. The retaliation includes dissolving the Reedy Creek Improvement District and putting the Walt Disney World monorail under state inspection control.
DeSantis has largely ignored the lawsuit from Disney. When he has been asked about it, he brushes it off and claims that the lawsuit is purely political.