With uproar canceling Disney gathering, Florida Democrats reset Leadership Blue Gala in Tampa

Beautiful donkey in green field with cloudy sky
The Leadership Blue Gala is one of the state Democratic Party's bigger annual gatherings.

Florida Democrats have announced a new date and a new location for its big annual fundraiser after its original plans — at Disney World — erupted in controversy.

Now, the event that is one of the Florida Democratic Party’s bigger annual gatherings will be the weekend of July 15-17 at the JW Marriott in Tampa on Water Street.

The President of the Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus said he would be pleased to attend the gala at its new venue. His group had been planning not to go to the original event and urged others to skip it as Disney had remained publicly silent when the state adopted a new “parental rights law,” which critics dubbed “Don’t Say Gay” legislation.

“We appreciated at the time that FDP (Florida Democratic Party) heard everyone’s concerns and moved Leadership Blue away from Disney,” said Stephen Gaskill, who called the original decision to have the event at Disney “tone deaf.”

“We’re excited to participate at the new location, and the new date and be on site.”

Disney’s CEO Bob Chapek came under fire from employees and theme park fans over his silence on the controversial Florida bill (HB 1557) that regulates what educators can teach about sexual orientation and gender identity. Disney employees walked off the job in protest.

Disney officials have since come out and said the law should not have passed and promised to work at getting it repealed. And that stance has resulted in Republican politicians returning their Disney donations and Gov. Ron DeSantis threatening to take away the media and entertainment behemoth’s special taxing privileges.

Gaskill said he was happy to see the reversal, but now is still not the right time to have a large-scale gathering at Disney.

“It was the wrong time to be going to Disney,” Gaskill said of the originally scheduled event. “The company is working on LGBTQ+ issues and we’re prepared to help them with that.”

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].


  • Itold Usoh

    April 13, 2022 at 11:38 am

    THIS is what the Democrats are focusing on? They are about to lose two very high profile races, have lost the registration advantage, and are facing huge down ballot apathy. It’s like Captain Smith on the Titanic obsessing over food and beverage service while the ship is a few minutes from splitting in two.

    • Alicia

      April 20, 2022 at 5:12 pm

      Umm…you realize the “registration advantage” was a massive illegal scheme changing dems to Republicans, right? It’s all over the news. Do you not watch actual news, or just cherrypicked conservative “news”? They’re now screwing with Disney and that results in higher taxes for citizens. It’s your biggest tourist attraction and employer and keeps your taxes low (or for income tax, non-existent). Yet you think screwing with them is a good idea cuz you got mad about a bill. Super smart. You shot urselves in the foot. They’re now going to spend billions turning the entire state blue, even if they have to move people there from Cali and “make new jobs” to do it. They’ve already got over 2K coming in. Well done, lmao.

  • martin

    April 13, 2022 at 1:25 pm

    The Dem party is devoid of leadership, as well as direction. They insist on pandering to silly fringe minority groups, and allow the likes of the “squad” to hold sway.

    Go Republican Red come this November.

    • Until none are left

      April 13, 2022 at 11:32 pm

      Republicans are like Russians.
      They come in waves and you just gotta hold them back with steel

  • TONY

    April 13, 2022 at 2:44 pm

    “Disney had remained publicly silent when the state adopted a new “parental rights law,” which Perverted Pedophiles dubbed “Don’t Say Gay” legislation.”

    There, fixed it.

    • Not really concerned

      April 13, 2022 at 3:22 pm

      Since your party is nothing but 80 year olds now calling people pedophiles is probably one of the last things it’s going to do ever

      • Impeach Biden

        April 14, 2022 at 7:03 am

        Do you mind posting the ages of some of the Democratic leadership? Pelosi? Biden? Now do us all a favor and pay off your student loans.🤣

  • Guns

    April 13, 2022 at 7:11 pm

    Republicans usually kill their kids so….

    • Impeach Biden

      April 14, 2022 at 7:02 am

      The subway shooter in New York. What do you think Republican or Democrat?

      • My opinion?

        April 14, 2022 at 10:31 pm

        Should have been republican man.

        No one would miss Tucker if he got him in that subway or something lol

  • Tommy Knocker

    April 14, 2022 at 9:13 am

    Why? Disney might have been slow but they stepped up in the end. Dems are getting absurd. They need to fight back against republKONs if our republic stands any chance and wasting time on nonsense like this isn’t cutting it

  • Richard

    April 14, 2022 at 10:11 am

    So instead, they will go to a non-union hotel.

Comments are closed.


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