Friday, Apr 19, 2024

Ron DeSantis admits getting married to Casey DeSantis at Disney World ended up being 'kind of ironic'

Ron DeSantis admits getting married to Casey DeSantis at Disney World ended up being 'kind of ironic'

The couple spoke publicly about their Disney World wedding for the first time, following a battle over a schools bill critics dubbed "Don't Say Gay."
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis opened up publicly for the first time about how he and his wife, Casey DeSantis, ended up exchanging their vows during a fairy tale wedding at Walt Disney World Resort — only to engage in a brutal battle with the family-favorite company 13 years later.

In an interview with Florida first lady Casey DeSantis, the Republican governor confirmed Insider's November 2022 reporting about the wedding, which had never been previously reported and wasn't widely known among the Florida political class.

"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," DeSantis said, according to a transcript and recording of the interview shared with Insider, which will air Monday on conservative SiriusXM Patriot radio.

In the interview, Casey DeSantis acknowledged that the revelation, which came ahead of Election Day, "created a lot of news." Her parents had the idea that they get married at Disney World because they always looked forward to visiting the theme park when she was growing up in Ohio, she said.

"And one of the other great things was the fact that they did a lot of the planning for you," she said of Disney's wedding offerings. "So it was I could just show up sort of thing. And it was really a lot of fun."

The comments confirm Insider's reporting, after interviewing a wedding guest, that Casey DeSantis "wanted something all-inclusive and put together."

The clip of the interview doesn't provide details about the wedding, but Insider previously reported that the DeSantises' ceremony was at the Grand Floridian's wedding pavilion, a chapel with arched windows overlooking Cinderella's Castle and the Seven Seas Lagoon. The reception was held at Epcot's Italy Isola, in a nod to the couple's Italian heritage.

When DeSantis was running for reelection in November 2022, he would frequently boast about his retaliation against Disney for opposing his Parental Rights in Education Act, the law opponents such as LGBTQ rights organizations have called "Don't Say Gay." He didn't mention during his campaign that he got married there.

DeSantis retaliated against Disney after its leaders said they'd work toward repealing the "Don't Say Gay" law by stripping the company of its self-governing status starting in June 2022. DeSantis is expected to sign another bill into law within days or weeks that would give him the power to appoint a state-run board to oversee the resort and theme park.

Disney is Florida's largest private employer and the company has championed gay rights since the 1990s.

The controversial schools law bans instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade, though it also contains nebulous language that such instruction in higher grades must be "age appropriate or developmentally appropriate."

Some Florida school boards have shown they're confused about how to follow the law, and critics have said they're worried about chilling the speech of LGBTQ teachers and about students being bullied or outed to families who don't accept them.

Casey DeSantis shared in the SiriusXM Patriots interview that she wouldn't be taking her three children to Disney World "until things change a little bit over there," though she acknowledged her wedding there was "a fun time" and revealed that her parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at the theme park.

She also opened up about her first date with the future governor, who is widely viewed as eyeing a 2024 presidential run.

The two met at a driving range at the University of North Florida. In a 2018 interview on First Coast News, Casey DeSantis shared that she was practicing her swing and looked over her shoulder to see whether she could grab an extra bucket of golf balls. DeSantis was behind her and thought she was looking at him.

Casey DeSantis said in the SiriusXM Patriots interview that she didn't know DeSantis would wind up going into politics. But ever since, Casey DeSantis has been an equal partner, masterful image maker, and a powerful confidante to her husband, Insider revealed in a feature about Florida's first lady.

"We went out and we had a beer," at family sports restaurant Beef o' Brady's, Casey DeSantis said in the forthcoming interview. "That was the first time that I had ever met a fella and just followed them in their car to a place to go get a beer. And actually, it was one of the best conversations I ever had, and we had a lot of fun."

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