Disney Fights Back Against DeSantis

walt disney burbank building
Credit: Disney

The legal battle between the Walt Disney Company and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis continues.

RELATED: Disney v DeSantis Battle Heads to the White House

Judging the Judge

Last week, Governor DeSantis requested that Judge Mark Walker recuse himself from overseeing the Disney v DeSantis case due to his previous statements regarding a state retailing against Disney. Attorneys representing Governor DeSantis and the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District stated, “an appearance of partiality that would lead a reasonable observer to question whether the court is predisposed to ruling that the state retaliated against Disney.”


Credit: ABC

As a result, the judge paused the current case to review the request.

As of Thursday, May 25, the Walt Disney Company lawyers have argued that Judge Mark Walker’s comments do “not prescribe the hair-trigger disqualification standard defendants suggest.”

A Yearlong Battle

The current lawsuit comes amid the year-long feud between the Walt Disney Company and Governor Ron DeSantis.

It originally began in 2022 with the bill that was passed titled the Parental Rights in Education (known by critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill). After remaining silent for a while, Disney did take a stand opposing the bill (now law) in the state of Florida.

The result of their pushback against the state government has turned into a year-long battle putting the House of Mouse against the state of Florida, where Walt Disney World resides. It has resulted in lawsuits filed by Disney against Governor DeSantis and the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District and a lawsuit filed by Governor DeSantis’ board against Disney.

The Walt Disney Company Lawsuit

Credit: The Walt Disney Company

The Disney lawsuit argues, in part, that the governor and Florida lawmakers retaliated against the company due to voicing its opinion on the bill (now law) which the company argues was within their first amendment right.

Walt Disney World has since lost the ability to self-govern itself in the state of Florida through the Reedy Creek Improvement District.

In addition, the Walt Disney Company has canceled a $1 billion project in Lake Nona. It was a plan to build an employee campus and relocate many of its staff from  California to Florida. Although there has been some debate as to whether or not the cancellation of this project was due to the Walt Disney Company’s finances versus the feud with the state of Florida, one hast to think its fight with the Florida government played at least a small part in the decision.

Lake Nona

Credit: Disney

RELATED: Disney Shocks By Announcing Move OUT of Florida

Pushback From All Sides

In related news, Governor Ron DeSantis just announced his plans to run for president in 2024. It remains to be seen how this will affect his feud with the Walt Disney Company. The fight between the state of Florida and the House is Mouse has garnered much criticism from Democrats, Republicans, and elected officials both current and former, including former President Donald Trump.

Trump Hall of Presidents

Credit: Disney

RELATED: Donald Trump Defends Disney

Who will “win” between DeSantis and Disney? We may not know that answer for another year (or four).


About Steven Wilk

Steven has a complicated relationship with Disney. As a child, he visited Walt Disney World every few years with his family. But he never understood why kids his age (and older) were so scared of Snow White or Alien Encounter. He is a former participant of the Disney College Program (left early…long story), and he also previously worked in Children’s publishing, where he adapted multiple Disney movies and TV shows. He has many controversial opinions about Disney…like having a positive view of Michael Eisner, believing Return of the Jedi is superior to The Empire Strikes Back, and that Toy Story Land and Galaxy’s Edge should have never been built (at least not at Hollywood Studios). Every year for the past two decades, Steven has visited either Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Aulani or went on a Disney Cruise. He’s happy to share any and all knowledge of the Disney destinations (and he likes using parenthesis a lot…as well as ellipses…)