Ron DeSantis, a fierce Disney critic, got married there


For months, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has criticized the entertainment giant for signing legislation that would have hurt Walt Disney Co. by opposing legislation he initiated and removing the company from special tax zones.

DeSantis, who is up for re-election next week, was a groomsman at a Disney wedding before attacking the company. He married former Jacksonville news station WJXT anchor Jill Casey Black, Casey’s co-worker, on September 26, 2009, at Walt Disney World.

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Neither the governor’s office nor his campaign responded to questions about the wedding. Disney did not respond to a request for comment.

Insider first reported the wedding venue on Friday based on the accounts of three anonymous people; According to the press, 150 people participated. Earlier last month, the New York Times reported that the couple’s marriage certificate listed Lake Buena Vista in central Florida, which is controlled by Disney. The Washington Post also obtained the marriage license.

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Bruce Hamilton, a longtime WJXT anchor, spoke to The Washington Post on Friday about attending a 2009 Disney wedding. Another station employee, a wedding guest and a former co-worker of the bride confirmed the Disney location to The Post in an email.

The ceremony, which took place in the Victorian-style Grand Floridian Resort’s wedding chapel, was “very elegant,” Hamilton said.

DeSantis, who served as a military lawyer in the U.S. Navy, wore his official white uniform decorated with medals. Photos of the smiling couple on social media match the church’s decor at the time.

“I don’t think Mickey was there at all,” Hamilton said.

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After the ceremony, guests moved to the World’s Fair at Epcot, where the spaceship saw the globe, and one of Hamilton Station’s meteorologists said he had warned about the dangers of outdoor gatherings. It was raining, Hamilton said.

Isola Italia at Epcot, which Disney described as a “private island terrace,” according to an insider, was the venue for the reception.

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Although DeSantis has not commented on the news of her wedding, she has had plenty of barbs to throw at Disney in recent months. He attacked the company after CEO Bob Chapek opposed a law banning the discussion of sexuality and gender identity in elementary schools and a “don’t say gay” bill among critics. The governor is widely believed to be a likely candidate for the 2024 presidential election.

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The fight escalated into April when the governor signed a bill stripping Disney of its special tax status. This structure allowed the company to develop Central Florida into the world’s premier theme park.

Part of the resort business: “Fairytale” weddings that promise “magical” holidays and “memories that will last forever.”

Tens of thousands of Disney fans have married at the company’s theme parks, hotels or cruise ships over the past 30 years. According to the Washington Post in 2017, Disney has hosted more than 30,000 weddings since September 1991.

The wedding pavilion at the Grand Floridian is “our most popular wedding venue,” according to the company. Minimum costs for pavilion events range from $12,500 to $35,000; An Italian isola ranges from $10,000 to $17,000 minimum.


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