Fact Check

Did Fla. Gov. Ron DeSantis Get Married at Disney World?

The governor is now locked in a battle with the entertainment company.

Published Apr 18, 2023

 (Twitter/RonDeSantisFL)
Image Via Twitter/RonDeSantisFL
Claim:
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis got married at Disney World in 2009.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been locking horns with Disney since 2022, when the media and entertainment conglomerate denounced his signing of legislation that prohibits classroom instruction and discussion about sexual orientation and gender identity in certain grades. In April 2022, he announced legislation that would override Disney's efforts to sidestep state oversight of its theme parks. 

But DeSantis has a personal connection to Disney, as claimed by a Twitter user who wrote, "Did you know DeSatan got married  at @WaltDisneyWorld. He really is a  vile  little  man." 

The tweet came in response to a battle for control over land where Disney World is located. The issue gained more traction when DeSantis suggested building another amusement park, a prison, or a state park on land that borders Disney World. 

DeSantis did indeed get married at Disney World in September 2009, something he acknowledged in his February 2023 memoir, "The Courage to Be Free." 

In a chapter titled, "The Magic Kingdom of Woke Corporatism," he described how it was his then-fiancee's wish to be married at Disney World: "When Casey first broached the idea of getting married at Disney World, I was surprised because I did not know people even got married there [...]. As it turned out, Disney World has a nice wedding chapel attached to the Grand Floridian, the Victorian-themed hotel close to the Magic Kingdom." 

He added, "My only condition was that no Disney characters could be part of our wedding. I wanted our special day to look and feel like a traditional wedding. [...] I didn't want Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck in our wedding photos." 

His wedding venue had been reported first by Insider and then Washington Post before the release of his memoir. Insider spoke to Casey DeSantis' former friends and colleagues, who expressed surprise at the choice of venue, saying she was "not really a Disney person" but "wanted something all-inclusive and put together." 

Insider also published the DeSantis' marriage license, which lists the wedding location as Lake Buena Vista, Florida. This is the same community listed in Disney World's mailing address. 

The Washington Post also spoke to a number of wedding guests who confirmed the location. One guest said it rained that day and added that after the ceremony, guests went to the World Showcase at Epcot overlooking the Spaceship Earth ball, where a station meteorologist warned about the perils of the outdoor gathering. 

DeSantis in a February 2023 interview with SiriusXM Patriot radio, meanwhile, spoke about the choice of venue: "In looking forward to what we ended up doing as governor and some of the face-offs that we had with some major institutions in Florida, it's kind of ironic." 

He also spoke about not wanting any Disney characters present. "I was like, we can do it where you want but [...] she said, 'No, no. No characters or anything.' It actually was really nice," DeSantis said. "We never would have thought that, how many years later, we would be tussling with Disney in a political office. But life can be unpredictable." 

Disney World, which is the state's largest private employer and corporate taxpayer, has pushed back against the governor on various issues. CEO Robert Iger previously called DeSantis "anti-business" and "anti-Florida" for his actions against the company. 

Given that DeSantis himself has acknowledged his wedding venue, and that it has been widely reported on, we rate this claim as "True." 

Sources

Barnes, Brooks. "DeSantis, in Latest Volley Against Disney, Suggests Punitive Steps." The New York Times, 17 Apr. 2023. NYTimes.com, https://www.nytimes.com/2023/04/17/business/ron-desantis-disney-world-florida.html. Accessed 18 Apr. 2023.

Cho, Winston. "Ron DeSantis Reveals Plan to Fight Disney Over Florida Special District After Board Snafu." The Hollywood Reporter, 17 Apr. 2023, https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/business/business-news/ron-desantis-florida-special-district-1235382760/. Accessed 18 Apr. 2023.

"Contact Us." The Walt Disney Company, https://thewaltdisneycompany.com/contact-us/. Accessed 18 Apr. 2023.

Jiménez, Jesus, and Giulia Heyward. "What We Know About the DeSantis-Disney Dispute." The New York Times, 31 Mar. 2023. NYTimes.com, https://www.nytimes.com/article/disney-florida-desantis.html. Accessed 18 Apr. 2023.

Kurtz, Judy. "DeSantis Says He Insisted on 'No Disney Characters' at His Disney World Wedding." The Hill, 28 Feb. 2023, https://thehill.com/blogs/in-the-know/3877261-desantis-says-he-insisted-on-no-disney-characters-at-his-disney-world-wedding/. Accessed 18 Apr. 2023.

Leonard, Kimberly. "DeSantis Went to Battle with Disney, but He Didn't Mention He Got Married There." Business Insider, https://www.businessinsider.com/ron-and-casey-desantis-got-married-at-disney-world-2022-11. Accessed 18 Apr. 2023.

Leonard, Kimberley. "Ron DeSantis Admits Getting Married to Casey DeSantis at Disney World Ended up Being 'Kind of Ironic.'" Business Insider, https://www.businessinsider.com/desantises-reveal-how-they-decided-on-ironic-disney-world-wedding-2023-2. Accessed 18 Apr. 2023.

Sampson, Hannah. "Ron DeSantis, Who Denounced Disney, Actually Got Married There." Washington Post, 5 Nov. 2022. www.washingtonpost.com, https://www.washingtonpost.com/travel/2022/11/04/ron-desantis-casey-disney-wedding/. Accessed 18 Apr. 2023.

Nur Nasreen Ibrahim is a reporter with experience working in television, international news coverage, fact checking, and creative writing.

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