Gov. DeSantis, appointees to Disney World governing board ask that Disney lawsuit be dismissed

Disney World
Request for dismissal argues that federal court has no jurisdiction over Governor, administration officials and gubernatorial appointees.

Attorneys for Gov. Ron DeSantis, a state agency and his appointees to a revamped board that governs Disney World are asking a judge to dismiss a federal lawsuit in which Disney claims its free speech rights were violated by the takeover of its governing district. The lawsuit states this happened in retaliation for Disney’s opposition to the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” legislation championed by the Florida governor.

Attorneys for DeSantis, the secretary of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity and the DeSantis appointees to the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District filed motions Monday asking that Disney’s lawsuit in federal court in Tallahassee either be dismissed, put on hold or that they be dropped as defendants.

The federal court lacks jurisdiction over the Republican governor and the state agency’s secretary, who are immune to the lawsuit, and the governor and secretary don’t enforce any of the laws at issue so Disney lacks standing to pursue its claims, attorneys for the state of Florida argued in their motion to dismiss.

“Although Disney has grabbed headlines by suing the Governor, Disney — like many litigants before it who have challenged Florida’s laws — has no basis for doing so,” the motion states.

In their motion, the DeSantis’ appointees to the Disney World governing board asked a federal judge to either dismiss the case or put it on hold until after some of the same issues raised in the federal lawsuit are resolved in state court where the board has a lawsuit pending against Disney.

The DeSantis appointees took over the Disney World governing board earlier this year following a yearlong feud between the company and DeSantis. The fight began last year after Disney, beset by significant pressure internally and externally, publicly opposed a state law banning classroom lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity in early grades, a policy critics call Don’t Say Gay

As punishment, DeSantis took over the district through legislation passed by Florida lawmakers and appointed a new board of supervisors to oversee municipal services for the sprawling theme parks and hotels. But before the new board came in, the company made agreements with previous oversight board members who were Disney supporters that stripped the new supervisors of their authority over design and construction.

In response, DeSantis and Florida lawmakers passed legislation that repealed those agreements.

The board sued Disney in state court in an effort to maintain its control of construction and design at Disney World.

DeSantis, who announced his campaign for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination in May, has used the fight with Disney to burnish his “anti-woke” credentials and demonstrate his ability to push a conservative agenda.


Republished with permission from The Associated Press.

Associated Press


  • M. Mouse

    June 27, 2023 at 4:29 pm

    The little louse shouldn’t have messed with the mighty mouse. Now he wants mommy to make it all go away. Waaaaaa.

  • Dont Say FLA

    June 27, 2023 at 5:16 pm

    Rhonda sure likes to play stupid games. Too bad taxpayers “win” Rhonda’s stupid prizes

  • TD

    July 6, 2023 at 4:52 pm

    Immunity from suit. Told you, ‘tards. Search the comments on this site, including the article “Reedy Creek ‘fix’ might have to wait, legislative leaders say” from April. I predicted exactly this, in extreme detail. Now we wait for the opinion, or if necessary, the appeal. The judge is Winsor, a Trump appointee.

    • TD

      July 6, 2023 at 4:55 pm

      Also my comment on the article “Disney ‘engaged in a caper worthy of Scrooge McDuck,’ lawyer for state-run board contends” from April 19.


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