Just a few days after Ron DeSantis was inaugurated for his second term as Governor of Florida, a notice was posted to the Osceola County website stating that legislation would be put forward that would allow local Florida lawmakers to take over management of The Walt Disney Company’s Reedy Creek Improvement District.
This is the latest strike in a culture war Disney arguably started when the Burbank-based conglomerate threatened to use its power to revoke The Parental Rights in Education Law. In an effort to put the company back in its place, lawmakers in Tallahassee discovered that the Reedy Creek Improvement District, the Disney-owned property on which sits The Walt Disney World Resort, had not been properly amended to fit under the ratified Florida State Constitution, and a near-super majority vote in the House of Representative and Senate approved legislation that would terminate the districts and the Mouse House’s privileged autonomy.
The notice highlights Tallahassee’s intent on putting lawmakers in charge of removing special powers and increasing transparency of the district itself.
Reedy Creek Improvement District
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 WESH2, Governor DeSantis’ office released a response to the notice saying,
“The corporate kingdom has come to an end. 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. Imposing a state-controlled board will also ensure that Orange County cannot use this issue as a pretext to raise taxes on Orange County residents.”
Ever since the announcement came that the Reedy Creek Improvement District would be dissolved in the summer of 2023, concerns were sparked in Orange, and Osceola Counties regarding how the immense debt Reedy Creek was paying off would be distributed to the resident taxpayers outside the district lines. However, Governor DeSantis has continued to ensure the people of his state that the debts are Disney’s, and they will remain so through the transition. This notice and the Governor’s office’s response appear to reflect that intent while stripping the district of its special privileges.
Meanwhile, it should be noted that operations in Reedy Creek and The Walt Disney World Resort will continue as normal for further notice.
We at Disney Fanatic will continue to update our readers on Disney Parks news and stories as more developments come to light.