SeaWorld San Diego may soon face a lawsuit from its home city.
The San Diego City Council voted Monday to pursue legal action against the park, alleging that SeaWorld owes $12 million in unpaid rent, penalties and interest. City Attorney Mara Elliott said in a statement, “It is the only city lessee to use state-mandated closures during COVID as a pretext to withhold rent.”
According to Times of San Diego, SeaWorld’s rent is based on either a percentage of its gross income from admissions and in-park purchases or a yearly minimum, whichever is larger. The park was closed from March 2020 by COVID-19, and beyond opening some animal exhibits before the winter 2020 COVID wave, did not bring its rides back online until April 2021.
In a statement to Fox 5 San Diego, SeaWorld said, “While as a matter of policy we don’t comment on potential litigation, we have enjoyed a long relationship with the City and remain hopeful that we can resolve this matter. We have partnered with the City for nearly 60 years – conducting thousands of animal rescues, numerous recycling drives and many other events. We also have paid more than $146 million in lease payments to the City of San Diego since 2010. We appreciate all the City has done and we look forward to addressing this situation.”
Disney asks Florida judge to dismiss DeSantis board lawsuit
The Walt Disney Company has filed a motion in Florida court to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the board overseeing Disney World’s governmental district.
The Central Florida Tourism Oversight Board — all appointed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — filed a suit earlier this month to void a contract approved by the Disney-controlled Reedy Creek Improvement District in its final days. The developer agreement assured that Disney retained effective control over development on Disney World property. DeSantis has also signed a law voiding the agreement, which Disney argued in its motion “makes any order this Court could issue—in either party’s favor—legally irrelevant.”
Disney also argued its own federal suit against DeSantis and the board takes precedence. That suit uses DeSantis’ own statements to allege that he and the new board are unconstitutionally retaliating against Disney as revenge for the company opposing the state’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law, which forbids discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in public school classrooms.
Board spokesperson Alexei Woltornist told the Orlando Sentinel, “This motion by Disney is entirely predictable and an acknowledgement they know they will lose this case.”
Universal Japan closing Spider-Man ride, but Orlando version isn’t going away
Universal’s Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man ride is closing — in Japan, that is.
The Universal Studios Japan version of the dark ride opened on Jan. 23, 2004 and will close on Jan. 22, 2024. That’s because Universal held a 20-year licensing contract for the Marvel rights in Japan, predating Marvel’s acquisition by Disney.
For any fans of the original Spider-Man attraction at Islands of Adventure in Universal Orlando, don’t fret. Thanks to a 1994 licensing agreement, Universal has the theme park rights to Spider-Man and many other Marvel characters east of the Mississippi River forever, so long as Universal properly maintains its Marvel rides and pays royalties.
Universal Japan also announced that it was permanently closing two shows, Terminator 2: 3-D and Backdraft, both of which had not operated since the COVID-19 pandemic began.