Legislature passes bill to retroactively cancel Disney agreement kneecapping new board

REEDY CREEK 2 (Large) (1)
The fight over Disney World's government continues.

The Legislature has passed a bill seeking to retroactively invalidate Disney’s agreement with its outgoing board — a contract now at the center of an ongoing civil lawsuit.

Senators approved SB 1604 with a 27-13 vote Thursday evening. The bill is seeking to roll back an agreement Disney made with its old Reedy Creek Improvement Board in the weeks before the state fired those members and Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed his own board members in their place.

Sen. Joe Gruters, a Republican from Sarasota who previously voted against the bill requiring Disney World’s monorail to be subjected to state inspections, broke ranks again and voted against SB 1604.

Republican lawmakers pushed the amendment targeting Disney onto SB 1604 because the new state board complained Disney’s agreement limits the new board’s power.

The new board, whose appointments were confirmed by the Senate Thursday, sued Disney this week.

“In an effort to stymie Florida’s elected representatives, Disney covertly cobbled together a series of eleventh hour deals with its soon-to-be-replaced puppet government. Disney hoped to tie the hands of the new, independent Board and to preserve Disney’s special status as its own government in the District for at least the next thirty years,” the new board said in the lawsuit.

Disney, meanwhile, also is suing DeSantis and the new board members in federal court, alleging the company was retaliated against for exercising its freedom of speech.

Under SB 1604, an independent special district is prohibited from following any development agreements within three months of a law changing how those board members were selected.

The amendment also calls for a special district’s new board to review any development agreements within four months of taking office.

During Thursday’s brief debate, Sen. Jason Pizzo asked the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Blaise Ingoglia, if he was aware of the legal fight brewing over Disney and its new board over the agreements.

“This is an entirely honest and truthful, serious question. Any of the amendments — particularly this one — the basis of a lawsuit now filed by the district against Disney?” asked Pizzo, a Democrat from Hollywood.

“Not that I’m aware of. I have no knowledge of that,” said Ingoglia, a Republican from Spring Hill, who contended he hadn’t heard about the Disney legal fight that’s attracted national headlines in recent days.

The House approved SB 1604 Wednesday despite Democrats’ opposition, saying the bill sets a dangerous precedent for the state getting involved with private companies’ contracts.

“Beyond the Disney drama, let’s just talk about the notion of canceling a contract that you don’t like,” said Rep. Anna Eskamani, a Democrat from Orlando, during the debate.

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 .


  • SteveHC

    May 4, 2023 at 7:10 pm

    Sounds like a unilateral retroactive cancellation by a third party (State of Florida) of a properly executed agreement between two other entities (Disney and Reedy Creek). Hmm… 😉

    • Tallahassee Insider

      May 4, 2023 at 11:23 pm

      Yep. Completely illegal.

      There is no way this stands in court, and anybody who says otherwise has absolutely no idea what they’re talking about.

      The Florida Republican Party has gone completley insane.

      • Earl Pitts American

        May 5, 2023 at 8:18 am

        Good morning Insider,
        I’m not sure how a former mayor, America’s Govornor’s former opponent, and a man who just stepped out of a Federal court room has the time to come here and post his leftist rant. But here you are. Glad you lost your bid for the Govornors Mansion my dude.
        Thank you Insider,
        Earl Pitts American

  • Liberal Lunatic

    May 4, 2023 at 7:54 pm

    Duck Fisney. Take your woke politics back to Kalifornia or ask for a sit down with our Governor that won handily back in November. He speaks for the majority here in Florida. The majority does not want your Kalifornia vision. Accept that and sit down and talk.

    • PeterH

      May 4, 2023 at 8:04 pm


      The Florida voters never were asked to approve a lawsuit concerning Disney!

      The fact remains Disney will outlive this Disney crybaby.

      • Liberal Lunatic

        May 4, 2023 at 8:24 pm

        Think of Disney as Bud Light on steroids. Also look at the USN and their complete disregard for the defense of the US and the embrace of woke culture with this ridiculous drag queen BS. Really? How do you explain the fact of the these flag officers supporting this? Joe Biden is the most incompetent CIC in my lifetime. God help us.

        • WhatNow

          May 5, 2023 at 5:07 am

          “God help us”??? What in G-d’s name are you talking about here? Disney and the USN have absolutely NOTHING to do with “drag queen BS” as you put it. AND btw your other comments about the USN are utter nonsense and just make you look plain crazy here.

          • Liberal Lunatic

            May 5, 2023 at 7:16 am

            How so? Joe Biden is incompetent as CIC. China laughs at our military recruiting wacko drag queens to help enlist new sailors. Can I say sailor or does that offend you? By chance did you serve any time in the military or are you just a Monday morning quarterback?

        • Linwood Wright

          May 5, 2023 at 10:50 am

          You would have made a great Nazi.

          And yes, i’m serious. You just seem to be following whatever talking points the Right is making up for you, and the then puking them back up in the comment section.

    • nail

      May 4, 2023 at 10:45 pm

      Do you call 1/5 of the state the majority? Maybe it’s that new math DeSantis has the kids not learning.
      Gerrymandering,, the Proud Boys and voting police, sent to scare Dems away from the polls, and allowing DeSantis to break his own law of no ID for ONLY 2 hurricane districts, that were GQP, and not allowing the other 6 districts that were Dem to do the same. On top of this, afraid to let the DOJ in to inspect the ballots being counted. Something that has been done for 20 years of GQP governors! My question, what did he have to hide? We will find out shortly1
      Please, MAGATs can’t win unless they cheat, lie and steal. No difference with this empty ill fitting suit with white go go boots.

    • Dr. Franklin Waters

      May 4, 2023 at 11:25 pm

      “Woke Politics”. LOL

      Go look up the definition of Manufactured Outrage. You seem to be a victim of it.

    • Josh Green

      May 4, 2023 at 11:36 pm

      Give me a break. None of you people gave one single rats azz about Disney or Reedy Creek until Dear Leader DeSantis told you too. You people are honestly pathetic & sad. Just following your Cult Leaders around like little Lemmings, without a single original thought of your own. Plug your brain into AM Talk Radio! They’ll tell you what to think!

      And now suddenly it’s all “Duck Fisney this” and “Woke” that!
      So predictable. You’re being used. These GOP leaders you love and adore like David Koresh are just whipping you up with manufactured fear and nonsense to get you to follow them over the cliff.

      THINK for yourself for once. Damn.

      See? This is why Conservatives hate higher education. They know that Critical Thinkers tend to lean left. While the dumb-dumbs who need others to tell them what the think lean Right.

      Now go blast a keg of Bud Light or something while you’re following whatever other nonsense is trending on Truth Social.

    • WhatNow

      May 5, 2023 at 5:18 am

      I have news for you, dude – it’d probably be far easier and faster for Disney to even *gradually* relocate Disney World and its *77,000 jobs* out of Florida than it would for Disney reps to try and get DeSantis and/or his henchmen to engage in any rational conversation with them over this stuff (or about anything else under the sun for that matter).

      • Liberal Lunatic

        May 5, 2023 at 7:20 am

        Where’s the sign up sheet to help them move? I will gladly volunteer my time for free to help those Kalifornian’s move back to Kalifornia. The state needs revenue and people. For the first time in its history it lost a Congressional seat. Now why is that for all you Democrats?

        • Bill O'Rights

          May 5, 2023 at 2:09 pm

          Stop and think for a moment (its hard and hurts sometimes), but if Disney stopped operations in Florida, the state would be facing a deficit to the tune of a few billion dollars a year. There would be a near total collapse of the Florida economy with almost 80,000+ people added to unemployment benefits. There are hundreds of private businesses (e.g. hotels, shops, restaurants, tour agencies) in the surrounding area that would likely go under within a matter of months without the tourists visiting. The state would more than likely need to leverage an income tax, which could result in a lot of retirees relocating.

          In short, Florida needs Disney as much as Disney needs Florida.

    • seldomseensmith

      May 5, 2023 at 7:39 am

      You go girl. Must be tough for you to even write with Trump dripping out of your mouth and your anus

    • Craig V Wolf

      May 5, 2023 at 9:29 am

      Desantis can’t handle it. Oh, by the way did you know he got married there to Casey??? Wow he should be ashamed of himself. What’s to keep him from going into any company who disagrees with his polices, sounds like he is a scared little boy who got sand kicked in his face by .. wait for it … a mouse.


    • Emery

      May 5, 2023 at 11:00 am

      Define Woke..”my man “

      • Josh Green

        May 5, 2023 at 2:32 pm

        Everything they don’t like is “Woke”.

  • PeterH

    May 4, 2023 at 7:59 pm


    One member of DeSantis’s board recently declared that State taxes would need to be increased to pay for qualified attorneys to manage the State’s lawsuit against Disney.

  • Earl Pitts American

    May 4, 2023 at 9:02 pm

    Good evening America, dook 4 brains lefties, and good evening to my fine American Hero who goes by the name which confounds lefties, “Liberal Lunatic”,
    The spanking of Disney has just begun. I see Bob Iger desperetly called Rick Scott and enlisted his help to try and get Desantis, Florida’s Greatest Govornor in History, to back down on Disney, to kiss Disney’s Stink B.hole, and to signel Floridians dont mind all that queer @55 $#IT Disney streams onto our kids TV’s.
    Well I, Earl Pitts American, dont want Desantis to respond to Scott. But I, Earl Pitts American, dont mind – R. Scott $TFU. Boom ( that was the mike drop )
    Thank you America,
    Earl Pitts American

    • Elliott Offen

      May 5, 2023 at 12:05 am

      👆 Needs help for schizophrenia and intellectual devastation.. also psychotic narcissist.

    • WhatNow

      May 5, 2023 at 5:23 am

      – Take your meds, dude – you’re “talking Looney Tunes” here, not Disney…

  • Andrew Finn

    May 4, 2023 at 9:07 pm

    Cannot wait for the chance to vote against every single spineless lap-dog legislator that just says “yes master” every time Fuhrer DeSatan snaps his fingers and demands they do something. Can’t wait for Disney to totally destroy our “Mussolini Wannabe’ in court. His reaction will be priceless to watch.

    • Liberal Lunatic

      May 4, 2023 at 9:25 pm

      I’m with you Andrew but I will vote against your dictator Biden and his cronies. The dictator will not even negotiate with the Repubs on the debt ceiling. Not only is he incompetent but he spends money like a drunken sailor. Speaking of sailors what is going on with the USN? I mean drag queens to recruit fighting men and women? No wonder the illegals cross daily by the thousands. We are more concerned wokeness, letting criminals go free and paying reparations to people in a state that did not support slavery. God help us all as the US goes down the toilet.

      • Tom

        May 5, 2023 at 12:08 am

        👆Alex Jones and Mike Lindell propaganda.

      • WhatNow

        May 5, 2023 at 5:25 am

        “The dictator will not even negotiate with the Repubs on the debt ceiling.” – Not true, dude. Try watching and reading REAL news for a change.

  • Earl Pitts American

    May 4, 2023 at 9:13 pm

    But wait there’s more:
    Has anyone noticed Florida citizen “The Donald” has taken a hands off no comment position to all the queer @55 $HIT Disney streams onto Florida’s kids TV’s?
    Boom (that was the “followup” mike drop).
    Thank you America,
    Earl Pitts American

    • Liberal Lunatic

      May 4, 2023 at 9:26 pm

      Earl Pitts is a true American Hero. I don’t know you but I consider you a friend.

    • Elliott Offen

      May 5, 2023 at 12:07 am

      Neither Orange Hitler or Mini Hitler AkA Florida Xi Jinping will win in 2024. Mike drop my azz .. you were dropped on your head as a child.

      • Earl Pitts American

        May 5, 2023 at 8:32 am

        Good morning America,
        Smelliot works for me, Earl Pitts American, and his job is to follow up my genious posts, with wacky leftist slanted commentary, specifically designed to whip the real dook 4 brains leftist poster(s) into a frenzy. Everyone should give a big tip of the hat to my man, Smelliott, for doing such a great job of making me, Earl Pitts American the hero I am!!! Everyone should be blessed to have such a great employee like Smelliott.
        Thank you my man “Smell”, putting you in for another pay raise,
        Earl Pitts American

  • Ron DeSantis Sucks

    May 4, 2023 at 10:06 pm

    Article 1, Section 10 of the Florida Constitution: “No bill of attainder, ex post facto law or law impairing the obligation of contracts shall be passed.”

    Article 1, Section 1, Clause 1 of the US Constitution: “No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.”

    Disney is going to own the governor’s mansion by the time this is done.

  • Ron DeSantis Sucks

    May 4, 2023 at 10:07 pm

    Article 1, Section 10 of the Florida Constitution: “No bill of attainder, ex post facto law or law impairing the obligation of contracts shall be passed.”

    Article 1, Section 1, Clause 1 of the US Constitution: “No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.”

    Disney is going to own the governor’s mansion by the time this is done.

  • Nancy

    May 8, 2023 at 12:59 pm

    Not for public—
    Hi – does Florida Politics have a FB page?
    I frequently post your articles on NextDoor group 😁

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704