The fate of The Reedy Creek Improvement District–a special self-governing zone housing The Walt Disney World Resort and controlled by the Walt Disney Company–moves to the desk of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
We at Disney Fanatic have just learned that Florida’s House of Representatives voted to terminate the district 70-38 on Thursday, April 21, after passing in the Senate on Wednesday at a vote of 23-16.
According to The Wall Street Journal,
Florida lawmakers gave final approval to a bill that would end a special tax district that allows Walt Disney Co… to govern the land housing its theme parks, sending the measure to Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has made clear he would sign it.
If signed by Gov. DeSantis, Disney will start losing its special privileges in June 2023. It is unclear at this time just how this will directly affect the Mega-Resort.
The potential end of the Reedy Creek Improvement District is just one district that stands out from several created before 1968 that are targeted for termination by the same legislation that came in as an extension of a reorganization process of Florida’s districts already underway.
Set up at the request of Walt and his brother Roy in The Reedy Creek Improvement Act of 1967, the Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID) was originally intended for the masterplan urban development that was going to be EPCOT–a living city with thousands of people. Today, the only cities that exist in the district are Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista–cities arguably in name only with very few actual residents. The lack of diverse individual citizen opinion made RCID arguably a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company.
While the special district allowed Disney to bypass some taxes and bureaucratic red tape to develop the 27,000-acre property as they have, it has been up to Disney to pay for everything within the RCID. That means Disney had to pay for everything themselves from the roads to the Fire Department services.
However, Gov. DeSantis and his government in Tallahassee seem to want to put the Hollywood conglomerate in check, especially after the Mouse House announced it would actively work to use its influence to overturn Flordia state legislation. One way to do that is by stripping them of their special state privileges after 50 years.
This is a developing story.