top of page
  • Writer's pictureGotta Go Orlando

The Corporate Kingdom Has Come To An End - DeSantis Plan To Take Control Of Reedy Creek Moves Ahead

Updated: Feb 1, 2023

A plan has been announced Friday to introduce a bill into the Florida Legislature that would replace Walt Disney World's special self-governing power with a state-run board.

Reedy Creek Improvement District

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is pressing ahead with his plans to take control of the Reedy Creek Improvement District.

According to a notice filed in Osceola County, The Florida Legislature will receive Gov. Ron DeSantis’ plan to remake the special taxing district for Walt Disney World in the upcoming legislative session.

The notice said the government intends to seek a bill before the Florida Legislature related to the Reedy Creek Improvement District, which borders Orange and Osceola counties, and is home to Walt Disney World.

Notice is hereby given of intent to seek legislation before the Florida Legislature, during a regular, extended, or special session, of an act relating to the Reedy Creek Improvement District, Orange and Osceola Counties; amending, reenacting, and repealing Chapter 67-764, Laws of Florida, and decree in chancery no. 66-1061 (May 13, 1966); removing and revising powers of the District; increasing state oversight, accountability, and transparency of the District; revising the selection process, membership qualifications, and compensation for the governing body of the District; ensuring debts and bond obligations held by the District remain with the District and are not transferred to other governments by retaining the District’s authority related to indebtedness and taxation; revising the District’s authority over local permitting and regulation; revising the District’s regulatory framework and structure; instituting reporting requirements, including a review of the District’s remaining powers; describing the District boundaries and name; revising exceptions to general law and certain special acts; removing duplicative provisions; making conforming changes; creating an exception to general law; providing an effective date.

According to sources in his office, Gov. Ron DeSantis is pushing the effort, and the intended legislation will mandate that members of the board will be appointed by the governor.

The plan would also ensure that the company will pay upwards of $700 million dollars in unsecured debt accumulated by Disney’s special jurisdiction — known as the Reedy Creek Improvement District — and not Orange County taxpayers, according to the sources.

The action by DeSantis comes in retaliation to Disney's public opposition to the parental rights law, which took place under the ex-CEO Bo Chapek.

It remains to be seen how the return of Bob Iger, who is thought to be more politically adept than his predecessor, will factor into the situation, and if he can persuade DeSantis to halt the new plan going forward.

Although this notice has made today in Osceola County, no actual bill has been filed in the Florida Legislature for the upcoming legislative session as of yet.

Walt Disney World Entrance

Gov, DeSantis spokesperson was quite frank when he said in a statement today that “The corporate kingdom has come to an end,” Fenske also said. “Under the proposed legislation, Disney will no longer control its own government, will live under the same laws as everyone else, will be responsible for their outstanding debts, and will pay their fair share of taxes.”

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, until now that is.

Reedy Creek Improvement District


bottom of page