Walt Disney World Loses Control of Its Own District Thanks to New Florida Bill

Thanks to a new bill, Walt Disney World has lost control of its own District’s Board of Directors to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, meaning it will lose some of the privileges and autonomy that he had since 1967.

As The New York Times reported, Disney World’s Reedy Creek Improvement District will now be known as the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District and DeSantis will have the power to appoint the five members of its board of directors. The Florida Senate will then be the one to confirm the choices.

The true impact of this decision obviously remains to be seen, but it will, among other things, allow Florida to tax Disney to help fund road improvements outside the parks. Disney World will also face more state regulatory reviews, which “could skyrocket the cost of construction projects at the resort.”

It’s not all bad news for Disney, however, as DeSantis originally wanted to abolish Disney World’s special tax district following Disney’s opposition to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” legislation. For those unaware, this controversial law prevents K-3 teachers from including anything about sexuality or gender in their curriculum.

The Reedy Creek Improvement District was scheduled to be abolished on June 1, 2023, but it was discovered that Orange and Osceola county ratepayers would have to pay for certain Disney World services such as fire protection, police and road maintenance. Additionally, the district has approximately $1 billion in debt, which would have been transferred to the counties had the district been abolished.

Thus, Disney still retained most of the benefits it enjoyed over the past 56 years, including “the ability to issue tax-exempt bonds and approve development plans without review by certain local regulators.”

Disney also chose not to fight this bill and agreed to work within its framework.

“For more than 50 years, the Reedy Creek Improvement District has operated to the highest standards, and we appreciate all that the District has done to help our destination grow and become one of the greatest economic contributors and state employers,” Disney World said. chairman, Jeff Vahle, said. “We are focused on the future and ready to work in this new setting and we will continue to innovate, inspire and bring joy to the millions of guests who come to Florida to visit Walt Disney World each year.”

It’s important to note that this new board will in no way decide what Disney builds or creates in the future, and Disney World already has permission to build another theme park, two additional water parks, and thousands of hotel rooms. . While he has no plans to move forward with any of these at this time, these options are available through 2032 with the current deal.

Oh, and Disney won’t be able to build a nuclear power plant or an airport on the resort, sorry for fans who were hoping for those additions.

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Adam Bankhurst is a reporter for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamBankhurst and on Tic.

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