Florida Lawmakers Vote In Favor Of Reorganizing Disney’s Reedy Creek District
Florida lawmakers approved a bill on Friday that changes Walt Disney World’s Reedy Creek Improvement District, including removing the company’s control, giving it a new name, and replacing its board of directors.
Under the bill, Gov. Ron DeSantis would appoint five supervisors, subject to state Senate approval, to replace the board of directors. Previously, Disney chose the board.
The Orlando Sentinel reports that the other significant change would be changing Reedy Creek’s name to the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District.
However, the region’s vital operational procedures will remain unchanged. That includes the District’s ability to raise taxes and issue bonds to build and maintain the infrastructure serving the theme park.
The District can build roads and provide Disney property water, sewer, and fire protection services. It acts with the same responsibility and authority as a county government.
The administration says the legislation is necessary and that the Walt Disney Co. enjoyed “special privileges” through the District. In a statement, the administration said it was too much power for a single corporation to hold.
“This power amounted to an unaccountable Corporate Kingdom,” a spokesperson for DeSantis’ office said in a statement. “Florida is dissolving the Corporate Kingdom and beginning a new era of accountability and transparency.”
DeSantis and state Republicans targeted Disney after the company spoke out about DeSantis’ “Don’t Say Gay” bill. The bill aims to restrict classrooms from teaching about gender identity and sexual orientation from kindergarten through third grade.
The governor initially pushed for the dissolution of the Reedy Creek District in the wake of the company’s opposition to the law.
President of World Disney World resort, Jeff Vahle, said the company is aware of the legislation and is monitoring the situation.
“Disney works under a number of different models and jurisdictions around the world, and regardless of the outcome, we remain committed to providing the highest quality experience for the millions of guests who visit each year,” he said.