Gov. DeSantis threatens toll roads, development in his ongoing Disney feud

DeSantis Versus Disney
'There will be additional legislative action taken in Tallahassee that will nullify what they tried to do at the 11th hour,'

Gov. Ron DeSantis is escalating the fight between the state and its largest tourist attraction, Walt Disney World.

Disney has been under fire from Republicans since last year when the company took a public stance on the state’s parental rights in education legislation, which critics call the “Don’t Say Gay” law.

As revenge, the Legislature approved a new law this year taking control of a Disney-appointed government board that oversees the resort’s infrastructure and emergency services. DeSantis appointed five new members to run the board.

But the latest twist has been Disney’s old governing board approving long-term deals stripping the state-controlled board of its power. The agreements were approved in a public meeting in the final days before the state took over.

Speaking Friday in Ocala, DeSantis vowed the state will work to overturn the agreements made by the old board.

“There will be additional legislative action taken in Tallahassee that will nullify what they tried to do at the 11th hour and then potentially arm the board with the ability to make sure that this is run appropriately,” DeSantis said. 

“We need to make sure that people understand whether you’re an individual or you’re a corporation that you don’t get to play by your own rules.”

On Thursday night, DeSantis hinted at other steps the state could take against Disney as he spoke at the conservative private Hillsdale College in Michigan.

“We’re not just going to void the development agreement they tried to do. We’re going to look at things, like taxes on the hotels, we’re going to look at things like tolls on the roads, we’re going to look at things like developing some of the property that the district owns,” DeSantis said, according to Florida Playbook published by Politico reporter Gary Fineout.

“They are not superior to the people of Florida. So come hell or high water, we’re going to make sure that policy of Florida carries the day. And so they can keep trying to do things. But ultimately we’re going to win on every single issue involving Disney, I can tell you that.”

DeSantis has already called on Florida’s Chief Inspector General to investigate the old board.

Earlier this week, Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger called out DeSantis for punishing Disney when the company exercised its right to freedom of speech. Iger called it “anti-Florida” and “anti-business” to attack Disney which Iger pointed out is the state’s largest employer, draws in millions of visitors every year and is preparing to spend $17 billion over the next 10 years at Disney World.

Gabrielle Russon

Gabrielle Russon is an award-winning journalist based in Orlando. She covered the business of theme parks for the Orlando Sentinel. Her previous newspaper stops include the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Toledo Blade, Kalamazoo Gazette and Elkhart Truth as well as an internship covering the nation’s capital for the Chicago Tribune. For fun, she runs marathons. She gets her training from chasing a toddler around. Contact her at [email protected] or on Twitter @GabrielleRusson .


  • Beat him again

    April 7, 2023 at 2:14 pm

    I hope Disney shoves the magic so far into Ron he starts whistling steamboat Willie

  • M. Mouse

    April 7, 2023 at 2:18 pm

    DeSantis sounds like a profoundly small man. It’s his small world, after all. Squeak!

  • Enlightened357

    April 7, 2023 at 2:56 pm

    I don’t understand how making visitors and Floridians to pay higher hotel taxes and tolls will hurt Disney?

    • Ron DeSantis wears High Heels

      April 7, 2023 at 3:28 pm

      It will hurt Florida as a whole, since tourism is one of our biggest industries. But he gets to look like a Tough Guy™ in front of his base of Crayon Eating Mouthbreathers who care more about the Culture War then their own well being.

      The typical DeSantis supporter would let him take a dump in their own mouth if it meant a liberal had to smell it.

  • Dr. Franklin Waters

    April 7, 2023 at 3:25 pm

    Making Florida’s number one tourist attraction more expensive to visit is tooootally a winning strategy, Ron.

    And no, this isn’t about ending their “Special Privileges” or whatever BS he likes to spin. It’s about pure political retaliation from a small little ManBaby who is so thin skinned and petty he couldn’t handle any criticism at all.

    Otherwise he’d be attacking The Villages too. They’re the largest special district in the country.

  • PeterH

    April 7, 2023 at 3:26 pm

    DeSantis is the epitome of a new breed of Republican. When did the Republican Party decide to turn on expanding profitable businesses? DeSantis should realize that Orlando would not exist as an international tourist destination without DisneyWorld. Wake up Floridians.

    • TD

      April 7, 2023 at 11:30 pm

      Right, Orlando might be something other than a giant POS instead. Couldn’t have that, now, could we?

      • cacarr

        April 17, 2023 at 11:45 pm

        It would be a smaller and somewhat dirtier, somewhat meth-ier POS, if it weren’t for Disney. If only, *sigh*

  • Ron DeSantis wears High Heels

    April 7, 2023 at 3:29 pm

    Going to war with the biggest Media Empire on the planet.
    What could go wrong!

  • JD

    April 7, 2023 at 3:52 pm

    How is this not weaponizing the Florida AG office? How is this not weaponizing the State government? Oh right, it is.


    Take your licks “America’s” governor. Let it go… Let it go…

    “It’s not the heat. It’s the stupidity.”

  • Keeping your Political Grave, DeSantis

    April 7, 2023 at 3:58 pm

    The rest of the country HAS noticed this, and they all see that you’re a little tyrant.

  • tom palmer

    April 7, 2023 at 4:21 pm

    You cannot make this up! Toll roads? There are already two or three around Disney’s periphery and more coming. That’s why that section of I-4 is a parking lot all day.Take over development? Florida officials don’t have a great record on getting things right.
    Crybaby Meatball has met his match and then some.

  • Bill McSued and Fired

    April 7, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Trump will run third party and split the vote which will ensure a Democratic victory. Ron will end up moving to The Villages and dying his hair blue. Conservatives can’t govern… way too pro rich and exploitation. Also slave keepers with the mass incarceration.

  • Bill Pollard

    April 7, 2023 at 5:37 pm

    DeSantis could end up making a hue mess of the Reedy Creek area. Is it possible that Disney could relocate to a state that would treat it better?

    • David Pakman

      April 7, 2023 at 5:45 pm

      Atlanta has a major regional and international airport there. They would make up the cost of relocation in no time.

      • joey

        April 7, 2023 at 7:05 pm

        Problem is that GA is crazy GOP also. I think Cancun will be great.

    • Ron DeSantis wears high heels

      April 7, 2023 at 7:48 pm

      No. Moving DisneyWorld will never happen in a million years. It’s a complete non-starter.

      The place is as large as San Francisco and represents 50 years and billions of dollars in infrastructure.

      They WILL outlast Ron DeFascist though and can continue to win legal battles while making a fool of him on the international national stage. This is the largest media company on Earth and it’s not smart to pick fights with groups like that.

      • TD

        April 7, 2023 at 11:33 pm

        You post comments on a blog telling people not to stand up to bullies, because that would be to “pick fights” with power.

        Big rebel you are.

  • Ocean Joe

    April 7, 2023 at 7:57 pm

    When revenge is all you got, double down.

  • Going to Universal

    April 7, 2023 at 9:50 pm

    Time to bring down the hammer on the Tragic Kingdom. Florida dosen’t need their money and our children are safer without their woke messaging and crappy made-in-china products.

    • Billy the Bamboozler McBuzzard

      April 7, 2023 at 10:46 pm

      Epic troll post 👍

    • Ian

      April 8, 2023 at 10:49 am


    • Michelle

      April 10, 2023 at 2:29 am

      You ride short bus right?

  • Earl Pitts American

    April 7, 2023 at 9:54 pm

    Good evening lefties,
    Let me, Earl Pitts American, give you a heads up on whats going down. Disney thats whats going down.
    Over the weekend I, Earl Pitts American, am holding mandatory marching order and deployment meetings with all State Agency heads.
    Revenue is going to back audit all Disney sales, property tax, for all Disney properties and cruise ships, along with child support orders for all Disney excutives.
    We are stopping all Disney self regulation for food and beveradge service and auditing their books for proper tax remitance and compliance.
    We are going to set up a new state Branch Office of The FL Dept of Ag. & Consumer Services located on Disney property to keep close tabs on all State regulated Disney functions along with an office of consumer complaints under the Dept of Ag and consumer services to look into price gouging and anything else our citizens and tourists wish to bring to our attention. Again yes our “Office of Disney Complaints” will be located right there in a prominate location on Disney property. If we determine a refund is in order, we will issue it on the spot to the customer, and bill Disney for the refund plus a $650.oo service fee to offset Florida’s expenses.
    We will interview all Disney employees for information on any labor violations, disputes, and bill Disney for all legal fees in assisting their employees.
    Basically this is just what I am able to share with you right now. But we will be bringing in our Dept of Health, Enviromental Protection, Wildlife Management (Disney has violated Gopher Tortus, certin Owls, and other wildlife protection laws along with some serious pollution and land use laws).
    Finally America thats alI I Earl Pitts American, am authorized to share with our beloved citizens and tourists at this time. But take my word America, Florida will own The Florida Majic Kingdom lock, stock, and barrel withn 12 months time.
    Other than that take some time with your familys and church this Easter weekend and enjoy yourselves. I, Earl Pitts American, will be working hard for you all this weekend and beyond.
    Thank you America,
    Earl Pitts American

    • Gator Nation

      April 7, 2023 at 10:17 pm

      Florida is luck to have you Earl. Happy Easter!

      • Earl Pitts American

        April 7, 2023 at 10:40 pm

        Thank you Gator Nation,
        And Go Gators!
        I will make you and Florida proud!
        Thank you again,
        Earl Pitts American

        • Pill Mill Bill McSquatter

          April 7, 2023 at 10:49 pm

          Go back to Mike Lindell and Alex Jones website you troll.

          • Michelle

            April 10, 2023 at 2:30 am

            Good one

    • Earl Pitts is a Pedophile

      April 8, 2023 at 1:41 am

      Reminder to everybody that Earl Pitts is a pedophile
      Click the link in my name for more info.

      800.04(4)(a) Lewd or Lascivious Battery; Sex With Victim 12 To 15

  • Geddy Lee

    April 7, 2023 at 11:30 pm

    I have always said that the only person who could stop DeSantis is
    . . . DeSantis. How can we, as conservatives, ever utter the phrase looking at taxes outside of the context of cutting them? And tolls is just a five-letter word for taxes.

    Developing property the district owns, that Disney governed for fifty-five years . . . isn’t that what Chavez did? How is this conservatism? Don’t blow it, Governor DeSantis.

    • Ron DeFascist

      April 8, 2023 at 1:43 am

      DeSantis is a Big Government authoritarian.

      He’s conservative in the sense that he wants government small enough to be only one guy. Him.

    • cacarr

      April 17, 2023 at 11:54 pm

      He wants to be Vladimir Putin when he grows up.

  • TD

    April 7, 2023 at 11:36 pm

    “that Disney governed for fifty-five years”

    Yes, by all means, defend THAT, you strategic genius.

  • so darn woke

    April 8, 2023 at 7:57 am

    Rona, I well understand that you don’t get to play by your own rules! I’m a person but apparently you are not. You, Rona, are petty and shallow. You, Rona, and a disgrace to our State. Shame on you for pissing away more tax dollars on your quest to be so anti-woke. We are woke to you Runduh Santos!

  • Earl Pitts American

    April 8, 2023 at 8:04 am

    Good morning lefties,
    Look at how all lefties shut the ________ up after I, Earl Pitts American, spill a little Truth, Justice, and The American Way into their perverse, twisted, demented, leftist indoctrinated pea brains.
    Run along now leftist pea brain babies.
    I, Earl Pitts American, will pray the deamons leave your demented heads at Easter Sunrise Service.
    Thank you America,
    Earl Pitts American

  • Earl Pitts American

    April 8, 2023 at 8:37 am

    Good morning Billy,
    Stop bad mouthing Earl Pitts American’s bestest friend “Gator Nation” thats discrimination Billy.
    Thank you Billy,
    Earl Pitts American

    • Earl Pitts is a Pedophile

      April 10, 2023 at 11:46 am

      Earl Pitts is a convicted Florida sex offender.

      Lewd, Lascivious batt sex w/victim 12-15 years old; F.S. 800.04(4)(a)

  • JD

    April 8, 2023 at 9:15 am

    What truth Shitts the Pitts, digital herpes?

    Enlighten us.

    This campaign by MoRon DeSantis is a gross mismanagement of TAXPAYER funds to go after a good steward company (and one that has been for over 50 years in the state of Florida).

    And for what? Exercising their first amendment rights? Seems authoritarian to punish them for exercising that….. you know – like Mussolini. Or don’t you like the Constitution Mr. Pitts? If corporations are people and can donate to SuperPAC, then they are afforded the same rights and privileges. And if the argument is it was a “special district”, then let’s do away with the special districts. Let’s revert the bonds to the counties. Oh wait, they were going to and realized they couldn’t without screwing them.

    And then let’s move on to the Villages special district and eliminate that too, a MoRon DeSantis stronghold.

    This debacle won’t do anything but just – WASTE TAXPAYER Money because the Governor dug a hole. Like Clinton said, “When you are in a hole, stop digging.” Or better yet, he needs to listen to Elsa, “Let it go…”


    “It’s not the heat. It’s the stupidity.”

  • Jeanne

    April 8, 2023 at 9:33 am

    Recall election needed. DeSantis is a terrible steward of our resources.

    • Boaz

      April 10, 2023 at 9:23 am

      You should pursue your recall petition. You may benefit from reading applicable Florida statutes on recall elections, provided you can find them. Your post is yet another example why civics should be taught. Never mind. Please use all your time, money, and resources to pursue your dream of a recall election.

  • Rude Eye

    April 8, 2023 at 9:51 am

    This is Little Ronny’s personnel pissing contest paid for by the taxpayers. If Little Ronny thinks he is doing this and the rest of “his” legislative actions in the best interest of Floridians, why not let us Floridians decide what best for us and not have his ‘indoctrination’s’ shoved down our throats. The Governor is elected to serve the people of Florida as a democracy and not to serve as a dictator.

    • Boaz

      April 10, 2023 at 9:35 am

      Wasn’t he re-elected in a landslide? As a former U.S. president once said in response to controversial policies, elections have consequences.

  • Keystone Keys

    April 8, 2023 at 10:45 am

    Florida was around long before Disney. Florida will survive and thrive, with or without Disney.

    • Ian

      April 8, 2023 at 11:49 am

      There was 50000 people in Orlando before Disney. Go the f back to PA clown unless you want to split the taxes for 250000 people.

  • Ian

    April 8, 2023 at 11:02 am

    Never seen a guy care less about the people that elected him, Ever!

    • Boaz

      April 10, 2023 at 9:37 am

      It’s good to see someone on this platform concede he was elected and re-elected.

      • Rob Desantos

        April 11, 2023 at 1:50 pm

        By morons.

  • Ian

    April 8, 2023 at 11:29 am

    So you’re going to make 77000 Disney employees that already can’t afford to live her, 77000 voters tolls every day because you’re a little bitch that got made a fool out of by a mouse.

    • Dan

      April 8, 2023 at 1:51 pm

      Disney just gave them a $5 an hour raise. They got the money.
      If they don’t like it, they don’t have to work for a woke company.

      Disney can go to hell for all I care. They’ve ruined every franchise they’ve touched. They’ve destroyed movies and cartoons I grew up with as a child. It’s not the same company anymore. I have zero respect for the monster that company has become.

      • It happens

        April 10, 2023 at 11:32 am

        Sorry disney took Star Wars and made your dreams of a bad father figure turned good into a cash grab vader

        Guess your gonna have to go talk your dad now lol

      • Bert Stimson

        April 10, 2023 at 11:25 pm

        Oh Dan, you never knew Disney anyway, you sad little man.

  • PeterH

    April 8, 2023 at 1:20 pm

    From CNN…… Ron DeSantis Perfect timing!

    “….When Disney finally struck back and thwarted, for now, a DeSantis-led state takeover of its long-standing special taxing district, it was the Republican governor who was seemingly caught off guard. The same February morning Disney pushed through an agreement with the district’s outgoing board that secured control of its development rights for decades to come, DeSantis had declared to cameras and supporters, “There’s a new sheriff in town.”


    50 years ago Disney built magic out of the swamp called Orlando! Other family entertainment venues arrived and piggybacked off of Disney’s success in the decades to follow. Sorry DeSantis but Disney has better lawyers and have probably already supplanted your uneducated fool hardy board with knowledgeable authentic experts in the field of hospitality.

  • Dan

    April 8, 2023 at 2:13 pm

    Screw Disney. They’ve ruined everything with their woke nonsense. Star Wars…ruined. Marvel…ruined. Splash Mountain….cancelled. And all these re-makes of their classic stories are absolute garbage. They are nothing but race-swapped characters with poorly executed story lines. It’s all cringe to watch these movies.

    Opposing the Parental rights bill was the last straw for me. Disney has taken the position that Florida parents don’t have a right to have a say in their own child’s education.

    • Man oh man

      April 10, 2023 at 11:27 am

      I have not seen republicans this mad since they went to that play in Washington lol

    • Bert Stimson

      April 10, 2023 at 11:22 pm

      Ok old white groomer

  • Boaz

    April 10, 2023 at 9:43 am

    People on the Left used to be irate about Disney’s special privileges. Times have changed, but hypocrisy endures. Corporatism is not the same as the free market, and elections have consequences.

    • Bert Stimson

      April 10, 2023 at 11:21 pm

      You are either incorrect or a liar, probably both.

  • Corruption in Florida

    April 10, 2023 at 10:03 am

    DeSantis is anti-business an anti-Floridia .

    Even if he imposes additional taxes, all he will do is hurt tourism for the state of Florida and also for those that do enjoy going to Disney. They will end up paying more and they won’t be mad at Disney. They will know that Ron DeSantis is the mouse killer.

    He’s a very evil man with a very small mind

  • Corruption in Florida

    April 10, 2023 at 10:20 am

    I would also add that if Iger
    Ran for president he would literally destroy DeSantis. Americans don’t want another dictator.

  • Bert Stimson

    April 10, 2023 at 11:19 pm

    This tiny man is proving to be truly unAmerican. Let it go, you petty wannabe dictator…. At least this will dent his presidential general-election prospects since he again shows himself out of step with our national character.

  • KeithP

    April 13, 2023 at 3:09 pm

    This is not political retaliation
    No not at all.
    Abuse of power is disguised as the Will of Floridians
    How did the change of the Reedy Creek District New Tourism board not notice a public hearing and news publication on the changes that were approved taking back the powers it should have never been punished for. Sounds like great new leadership
    What a joke RON

  • cacarr

    April 17, 2023 at 11:57 pm

    Bill Buckley Jr is rolling in his grave. This is conservatism?

Comments are closed.


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