TALLAHASSEE, FL – If a new proposed bill is passed in the Florida Legislature to dissolve the Reedy Creek Improvement District – the body that currently allows Walt Disney World to effectively self-govern its property – Ron DeSantis would have the ability to appoint all five leaders of the new Orlando special tax district that would be formed in its place, effectively putting it entirely under the direct control of the Republican Governor.
The bill, released Monday, would remove the Reedy Creek Improvement District – which covers nearly 40 square miles in Orange and Osceola counties – and replace it with a new entity known as the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, which would oversee the entirety of Disney’s theme park attractions, including Disney World, EPCOT, and more.
Disney has controlled the district since it was first established in 1967.
If the bill passes, it will make good on a promise that DeSantis made in 2022 to take over the Reedy Creek Improvement District after a spat with the entertainment giant over their public opposition to a state law that restricts teacher/student discussion on gender and sexual identity in school classrooms.
The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District would bar anyone who has been a Disney employee during the past three years – or their relatives – from serving on its board.
If the bill is passed, it is almost certainly to be challenged in court by Disney, as the company would stand to lose a large degree of the control that they have over their theme park; currently, the Reedy Creek district handles 911 calls, fire protection, the power grid, planning and land use decisions, road maintenance, mosquito abatement, flood control, and water quality.
Under the new bill, Disney would no longer have control over these measures, which would then be handled by Orange and Osceola counties.