Disney Requests Second Court Delay Amidst Legal Battle Over Walt Disney World’s Control

ORLANDO, Fla. – Disney has requested a second court delay in its ongoing legal battle with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ appointees over control of Walt Disney World’s governing district. The entertainment giant accuses the governor’s office and his appointees of obstructing the legal process by withholding requested documents. In response, Disney is seeking more time to prepare its arguments and gather necessary evidence. The district employee’s deposition highlights the negative impact of the takeover by DeSantis’ appointees, resulting in around 50 employees leaving the district. The board of the district is scheduled to hold its monthly meeting later this week.

The governing district is responsible for providing municipal services, including planning, mosquito control, and firefighting, in the area that encompasses Disney World. Last year, DeSantis and the GOP-controlled Florida Legislature assumed control of the district’s board, following Disney’s public opposition to the state’s “don’t say gay” law. This law prohibits lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity in early grades. As the legal battle escalated, Disney, DeSantis, and the district have taken their disputes to both state and federal courts.

Disney’s request for a second delay came as it accused the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District and the governor’s office of delaying document production. The company claims that these delays have hindered its ability to prepare for the case. The district, however, argues that it has already provided the necessary documents and accuses Disney of engaging in a politically motivated fishing expedition. Disney’s motion will also address the district’s request for an immediate ruling without a full trial.

The recent deposition by Erin O’Donnell, the district’s public records administrator, shed light on the turmoil caused by the takeover. O’Donnell cited the politically motivated board as a key reason for the departure of employees. While some procedures have been formalized under the new leadership, the distracting nature of the shakeup and the backgrounds of some DeSantis’ appointees have negatively impacted morale. The presence of Bridget Ziegler, a co-founder of the conservative group Moms for Liberty who has faced accusations of hypocrisy, has added to the distraction.

Despite the challenges, the district continues to operate and provide essential services to the Disney World area. Disney’s legal battle with DeSantis’ appointees is likely to continue as both sides seek to assert control over the governing district. The request for a second delay indicates the significance of the case and the complex issues at stake. It remains to be seen how the court will rule and what implications the outcome will have for the future governance of Walt Disney World’s district.