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IPFS News Link • Lawsuits

Disney Withdraws Lawsuit, Ending Final Conflict With DeSantis, Appointees

•, by Jana Pruet

A day earlier, the governor's appointees reached a deal with the company on how Walt Disney World would be developed over the next two decades, ending the remaining conflict between the two parties.

The development agreement was approved Wednesday night by the Republican governor's appointees to the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD), which oversees Disney World. According to a March settlement, the future of the federal lawsuit was contingent on the parties reaching a development deal.

As part of the 15-year deal, Disney agreed to invest $17 billion in Disney World over the next two decades, and the district committed to improving the infrastructure on the theme park resort's property. Disney's municipal services, including firefighting, planning, and mosquito control, among other things, were controlled by Disney supporters prior to last year's takeover by Mr. DeSantis's appointees.

"This new development agreement paves the way for us to invest billions of dollars in Walt Disney World Resort, supporting the growth of this global destination, fueling the Florida economy, and allowing us to deliver even more memorable and extraordinary experiences for our guests," said Jeff Vahle, president of Walt Disney World Resort.

The deal allows Disney to build a fifth major theme park and two more smaller parks, such as water parks, if it chooses. It also received approval to increase the number of hotel rooms on its property from nearly 40,000 to more than 53,000 and can add over 20 percent more retail and restaurant space. Disney will retain control of building heights so it can maintain an immersive environment.

In exchange, Disney agreed to donate up to 100 acres of Disney World's 24,000 acres for infrastructure projects, which will be under the district's control. At least half of the company's construction projects must be awarded to Florida-based companies. Disney also agreed to invest at least $10 million in affordable housing for central Florida.