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Disney Defying DeSantis? Mouse House To Reportedly Double Down On Florida With $17B Investment

Walt Disney Co

Walt Disney Co. (NYSE:DIS) is not one to be cowed down by the Flordia state government’s maneuverings, spearheaded by Governor Ron DeSantis, and remained increasingly committed to the state.

Disney President Robert Iger, center, CEO of The Walt Disney Company,.attends the University of Southern California’s 140th commencement ceremony in Los Angeles on May 12, 2023. Iger was there in support of keynote speaker Kevin Feige, producer and president of Marvel Studies. GENARO MOLINA/BENZINGA

Disney is set to invest $17 billion in central Florida’s Walt Disney World hub over the next decade, CEO Bog Iger and Parks Chief Josh D’Amaro have been hinting over the past few months, CNBC reported. The investment will result in the creation of 13,000 jobs, the report added.

The entertainment giant’s stance assumes importance as DeSantis has officially announced his candidacy for the 2024 Republican presidential primary via Twitter.

D’Amaro reportedly told at the JPMorgan Global Technology, Media and Communications Conference that the $17 billion investment gives a sense of how aggressive the company is being in Walt Disney World.

Among the plans are the transformation of EPCOT Theme Park, the new Stars Tours attraction and the new Tiana attraction, the executive reportedly said. The investment will also go into some of the “blue sky” ideas Disney presented in 2022 at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, California, he added.

This illustration photo shows the live Twitter talk with Elon Musk with a background of Ron DeSantis as he announces his 2024 presidential run on his Twitter page, May 24, 2023, in Los Angeles, California. Republican Ron DeSantis kicked off his 2024 presidential campaign May 24, 2023, with a live event opposite Twitter boss Elon Musk that descended into farce as it was beset by technical bugs. CHRIS DELMAS/BENZINGA

Disney lending voice against Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law, which prohibits discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity among young children in school, landed it in the crosshairs of DeSantis.

Bob Chapek was the CEO at the time when Disney voiced their opposition to the bill. His leadership led to souring relations with DeSantis. Chapek was later ousted by the Disney’s board of directors.

In retaliation, the Governor revoked the special administrative status Disney enjoyed for governing the land around its Florida Disneyland. The Iger-led company filed a lawsuit against DeSantis, alleging that the state was engaged in witch-hunting. The company also pulled the plug on a $1 billion project for shifting some of its California workforces to Florida.

A recent survey by Axios showed that Disney’s reputation among the Republicans suffered a blow, taking the company’s overall reputation ranking lower. Reports suggest the standoff with Disney would hurt DeSantis as well.

Produced in association with Benzinga

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