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  • Writer's pictureGotta Go Orlando

Disney's Reedy Creek set to get new name & DeSantis approved Board Members

Updated: Feb 7, 2023

Today, Monday, February 6, Florida lawmakers have been taking part in special session to discuss, among other topics, the governments proposed takeover of Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District.

Now after months of uncertainty, they have given up on trying to dissolve Disney's special taxing district, and have revealed a new plan to take control.

This involves renaming Reedy Creek Improvement District, and putting a state board in charge, with all members hand picked by Gov DeSantis, thus putting the area around Walt Disney World under state control.

The 189 page bill, House Bill 9B confirms that the Reedy Creek Improvement District will not be dissolved on June 1 as previously announced. Instead, it will be re-named the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, a government-controlled district that would elect a board of supervisors, who would then be expected to propose a list of changes to the district’s power within one year.

The bill states that all 5 board members would be personally approved by DeSantis, with confirmation from the senate.

Plus, anyone who has been a theme park employee, officer or director in the past three years would be prohibited from serving on the board, along with their relatives, meaning DeSantis will have a large say in the future of Walt Disney World, via the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District.

The bill reads, “The board of supervisors shall submit to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, within 1 year after the effective date of this act, and every 5 years thereafter, a report that includes a review of all remaining powers and authorities included herein and any recommendations for consideration of eliminating said powers and authorities for potential repeal by the Legislature.”

The bill states that the district will not be dissolved, and will be permitted to operate under the Reedy Creek name for up to two years in order to ensure all necessary changes are carried out.

In effect, Disney will lose control of the district upon the creation of the board of supervisors, whom are selected exclusively by DeSantis.

The bill is expected to be considered during a special session of the state legislature this month.

The bill also calls for the district to continue honoring outstanding debt and will retain powers of taxation.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis

Prior to today's special session, Walt Disney World and new CEO Bob Iger have remained largely silent on the issue, issuing no official statements on the uncertainty of Reedy Creek Improvement District, and as yet they have still not commented on the new bill.

The Reedy Creek Improvement District is a special purpose district created by state law in May 1967 that gives The Walt Disney Company governmental control over the land in and around its central Florida theme parks.

At the time, the land Walt Disney wanted to build his Kingdom on was little more than uninhabited pasture and swamp, but Orange and Osceola Counties did not have the services or resources needed to bring the project to life, so the state legislature worked with Disney to establish the Reedy Creek Improvement District.

This allowed Disney to get the money and resources needed to build Walt Disney World without constantly going through local governments, and turning the pastures and swamps into what we now know as Walt Disney World Resort.

Through the act, landowners within the district, including Walt Disney World, are solely responsible for paying the cost of providing municipal services. That is, local taxpayers do not have to pay for these services.

The district essentially acts as its own county government and encompasses the cities of Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista.

Disney currently has responsibility for providing municipal services like power, water, roads and fire protection – but are freed from dealing with legal red tape or paying taxes for services that benefited the broader public.

 Reedy Creek Improvement District


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