ORLANDO, FL – After it effortlessly sailed through the state senate the day before, the Florida legislature passed a bill Thursday that is poised to revoke a special provision – known as the Reedy Creek Improvement Act of 1967 – that allows Disney World to essentially self-govern itself. The bill is expected to be signed into law by Governor Rob DeSantis as early as Friday.
If the Reedy Creek Improvement District is indeed dissolved by Florida lawmakers, Reedy Creek employees and infrastructure would be absorbed by Orange and Osceola counties as of June 1, 2023, at which time they would become responsible for all municipal services in Disney World, such as garbage collection and infrastructure maintenance.
In addition, any construction that Disney World would undertake going forward – such as new attractions, rides, or guest lodging – would have to go through inspection by the local municipality and permits would need to be obtained, which is presently not the case.
However, in its current form, the bill that would dissolve Reedy Creek would see tax revenue from Disney going to Orange and Osceola counties, but would also saddle Florida taxpayers with Reedy Creek’s debt and additional tax liabilities as well, unless changes are made to the bill before it takes effect in 2023.
With news of Reed Creek’s impending dissolution, Disney’s stock took a hard dive and is now a potential contender for one of the worst-performing stocks in 2022. In March 2021 Disney’s stock hit a record-high of almost $200 a share, but as the market closed Thursday, it had dropped 33 percent year-over-year to approximately $120 a share.
Disney and DeSantis have repeatedly butted heads as of late over the Parental Rights in Education Act – dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” law by critics, who claim it is discriminatory against LGBTQ people – which prohibits discussion or teaching of gender identity and sexual orientation in Florida public school classrooms from kindergarten through third grade.
Following an initial backlash for their lack of response to the proposed legislation – which was signed into law by DeSantis on March 28 – Disney has since become one of its more outspoken critics. The dissolution of the Reedy Creek is seen by many as punishment for Disney’s opposition to the law, an accusation that DeSantis has denied.