Disney Plans $17 Billion Investment in Florida Theme Parks After Resolving Legal Dispute

Disney has announced a $17 billion investment into its Florida resort, potentially adding a fifth major theme park at Walt Disney World. This comes after settling a prolonged legal dispute with Governor Ron DeSantis' appointees. The new development agreement promises significant economic growth and expanded facilities, reaffirming Disney's commitment to Florida.

Madison Hayes
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A father and daughter enjoy a sunny day at Walt Disney World, Florida, symbolizing the joy and magic that Disney's planned $17 billion investment aims to enhance.

In a landmark move, Disney has announced plans to invest $17 billion into its Florida resort, potentially paving the way for a fifth major theme park at Walt Disney World. This follows the resolution of a prolonged legal dispute with appointees of Governor Ron DeSantis.

This investment highlights our commitment to Florida and sets the stage for unprecedented growth,

said a Disney spokesperson.

Months after resolving their legal battle, Disney and the Central Florida Tourism and Oversight District are set to approve a development agreement. This agreement, negotiated after a March settlement, could see Disney significantly expanding its presence in Florida over the next decade or two.

The new agreement, which the DeSantis-appointed supervisors will vote on Wednesday, includes the construction of a fifth theme park and two minor parks. Additionally, Disney plans to increase its hotel capacity from 40,000 to over 53,000 rooms and expand its retail and restaurant spaces by more than 20%.

Disney will donate up to 100 acres of its property for district-controlled infrastructure projects and will commit at least half of its construction contracts to Florida-based companies. The company also plans to invest at least $10 million in affordable housing for Central Florida residents.

This settlement ended almost two years of litigation triggered by DeSantis’ takeover of the district after Disney opposed Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law. The controversial 2022 law, championed by the Republican governor, bans early grade classroom lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity.

DeSantis’ takeover of the district was seen as retaliation against Disney’s opposition to the law. The company sued, claiming its free speech rights were violated. While a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit in January, Disney appealed. As part of the March settlement, Disney agreed to suspend its appeal.

The resolution of this dispute allows us to focus on what we do best – creating magical experiences for our guests,

noted a senior Disney executive.

Before the district’s control shifted to DeSantis appointees, Disney’s allies had signed agreements giving the company control over design and construction at Disney World. The new board members claimed these agreements undermined their authority and sued to have them voided. These state court lawsuits were dismissed as part of the settlement.

With the new development agreement, Disney is poised to expand its Florida operations significantly, continuing its long-standing influence in the region. This investment underscores Disney’s commitment to its Florida base and signals potential economic growth and job creation for the state.

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Madison Hayes is a dedicated financial journalist at bankonlineusa.com. She graduated from Boston University with a degree in Economics and Journalism. Known for her clear and engaging writing, Madison simplifies complex financial topics, covering personal finance, investment strategies, and market trends. Passionate about financial literacy, she also volunteers to teach finance basics in her community.
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