Disney and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis have been battling over Orlando’s Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID) for the better part of a year, and it seems as though the battle may be over — at least for now.
After much anticipation, we finally have an update on the status of the bill that could change Disney’s special district from here on out.
To bring you up to speed, Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID) functions as its own county with the ability to make decisions about emergency services, sewage, and more.
But following Disney speaking out against Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Bill (known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by critics), a bill was passed and later signed into law that would dissolve RCID by June 2023.
The governor shared that he would be coming up with a new structure and plan for how Reedy Creek would work, and in early 2023 we found out what that plan was. A new bill was drafted that would make several key changes to RCID.
Firstly, the bill would strip Reedy Creek of its power to create a nuclear power plant (which was not something Disney had ever seriously considered), and it would also impose new reporting requirements for the district. The new district would still retain power over sewage and emergency services, the ability to issue bonds, and more.
Additionally, Reedy Creek would be allowed to do business as-is for two years to allow time for the necessary legal and financial changes to take place.
Next, the Governor will be able to appoint all five members of the Board of Supervisors for the District, but his selection must be confirmed by the Senate. While the effective date of the bill would end the term of all current members of the board, they are permitted to continue serving until a successor is appointed and qualified. While these new board members aren’t required to live in the Orlando area, they must be Florida residents, and they are not permitted to serve more than three consecutive terms. You can read the full details of the bill here.
The bill was also written so that it would go into effect as soon as Governor DeSantis signed it into law — which brings us to our latest update.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has officially signed the bill to change Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District as we know it. The governor held a press conference on February 27th, 2023, at which he declared, “Florida Ends the Corporate Kingdom.”
Now, Reedy Creek will slowly have to begin operating under its new name — The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District. According to The Orlando Sentinel, DeSantis has already made his choices for the new Board of Supervisors:
“Bridget Ziegler, a member of the Sarasota County School Board and a supporter of Moms for Liberty; Seminole County attorney Michael Sasso; Attorney Martin Garcia of Tampa as chairman; Ron Peri, CEO of The Gathering USA, a ministry that focuses on faith and culture; and Clearwater attorney Brian Aungst.”
At the press conference, DeSantis’ team was handing out a paper to various members of the media according to WESH News’ Anika Hope.
This is the paper that Governor DeSantis’s team provided to media at the Reedy Creek press event this morning. pic.twitter.com/st0OEDeBaA
— Anika Hope (@AnikaHopeTV) February 27, 2023
The governor also reiterated that these changes meant Disney would start “paying its fair share of taxes,” which is something he has continued to mention throughout the war for Reedy Creek. But, Disney has been one of the “largest property taxpayer(s) in Orange County,” according to The Orlando Sentinel, and the company does pay taxes.
The governor spoke directly about Walt Disney’s vision for Disney World and telling people the “truth” when they lose their way. But, DeSantis’ new board holds no power over Disney’s creative decisions and what happens in the parks.
They’ll be on the board that oversees the new district, which controls decisions regarding the land where Disney is located. Think regulations for emergency services on Disney property, land use, debts, and various things like that. There won’t be much decision-making power when it comes to the next roller coaster or table service restaurant.
You can watch the full press conference below.
Florida Ends the Corporate Kingdom https://t.co/N7lJA1BSXb
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) February 27, 2023
We’ll continue to keep an eye out for more updates on Reedy Creek, so stay tuned to DFB for more.
See Why Disney May Not Fight the Death of Reedy Creek
Join the DFB Newsletter to get all the breaking news right in your inbox! Click here to Subscribe!
What do you think will happen with the Reedy Creek District? Let us know in the comments!
The post “There’s a New Sheriff in Town” — Florida Governor DeSantis Ends Disney’s Reedy Creek District first appeared on the disney food blog.