A brief timeline of DeSantis’s feud with Disney

1967: Florida’s legislature established the Reedy Creek Improvement District, a private government controlled by Disney World, which can administer its own police and fire departments, and run its water and sewage systems, among other things.


March 2022: Florida passes the controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill—officially called the Parental Rights in Education Act–which prohibits classroom discussions around gender identity and sexual orientation from kindergarten through third grade. Disney’s then-CEO Bob Chapek eventually speaks out against it.

April 2022: Florida legislation passes a bill to dissolve Disney’s special tax district by June 1, 2023. DeSantis doesn’t sign it into law because it would burden local governments with debt upwards of $1 billion.


July 2022: DeSantis signs the notorious “Don’t Say Gay” bill into law.

Feb. 8, 2023: The outgoing Disney-controlled board signs the development agreement that lets it retain most of its power for the foreseeable future. The Florida House votes to put the governor in charge of Disney’s special district.


Feb. 27, 2023: DeSantis signs legislation that ends Walt Disney World’s control over its special tax district. He replaces Disney-allied board members with five Republicans he handpicks.

March 8, 2023: The new board meets for the first time.

Mar. 16, 2023: DeSantis proposes to expand the “Don’t Say Gay” bill to all grades. The vote is scheduled for the following month.


Mar. 29, 2023: The new board, re-named Orange County Tourism Oversight District, seeks legal representation after realizing Disney has quietly retained control of most developmental processes. Disney says all its dealings were public and legal.

April 3, 2023: DeSantis asks Florida’s Chief Inspector General Melina Miguel to start a “thorough review and investigation” into the agreement. At Disney’s annual shareholder meeting, CEO Bob Iger tells shareholders, “Any action that thwarts those efforts simply to retaliate for a position the company took sounds not just anti-business, but it sounds anti-Florida.”


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