Recently, a lot has been going on with Disney World’s system of self governance, and something major just happened.
The Florida Senate and House recently passed a bill that would dissolve Disney World’s Reedy Creek Improvement District, which essentially allows Disney World to act as its own county, and now, the bill has taken another step forward.
The law eliminates the 55-year-old district as well as a few other similar districts in Florida by June of 2023. The districts can be reestablished in the future, though.
The passing of the bill comes after Disney CEO Bob Chapek spoke out against the Florida Parental Rights in Education Act, which critics call the “Don’t Say Gay Bill.”
The bill started as just an idea from a Florida representative. Then it eventually gained the support Governor DeSantis. This led to it being added to a special legislative session. Then, the Florida Senate and House of Representatives passed the bill, sending it to the desk of the Governor to be signed.
The bill says in part that “any independent special district established by a special act prior to the date of ratification of the Florida Constitution on November 5, 1968, and which was not reestablished, re-ratified, or otherwise reconstituted by a special act or general law after November 5, 1968, is dissolved effective June 1, 2023.”
The Reedy Creek Improvement District was established in 1967, so it qualifies as a district that will be dissolved.
The Reedy Creek Improvement District essentially allows Disney World to act as its own county, making key decisions and governing the land it operates on in Disney World. Reedy Creek can establish its own building regulations and provides certain services to Disney World, like emergency services.
When the Reedy Creek Improvement District is dissolved, control over 40+ square miles of land owned by Walt Disney World should go back to the two counties the land is in — Orange and Osceola. The counties will then have to provide emergency services and more to the area Reedy Creek currently services.
But, the counties would have to provide these emergency services with the same amount of tax money they have now.
As Dr. James Clark, a political analyst and senior lecturer in the University of Central Florida Department of History, explained to us, Disney’s special district of government doesn’t exempt them from paying property taxes, so these counties will now have to pay for these services without any real expanded income.
Disney is Central Florida’s largest taxpayer, paying nearly $300 million per year in property taxes to Orange and Osceola counties, as well as about $250 million in other state taxes. Since establishing the Reedy Creek Improvement District 55 years ago, Disney has built its own roads and infrastructure throughout their resort with their own money.
To learn more about how this change could impact local residents, click here.
This change could also impact how Disney gets approval to build certain projects, because now it will have to seek approval from the local governments. In short, as Political analyst Jim Clark once said, the repeal could “be a disaster for Disney.”
To find out more about how this bill could impact Disney World and others, check out our posts below:
- The Single Change That Could Equal Disaster for Disney World
- BREAKING: Threat Against Disney World’s Self Governance Becomes More Real
- Analysts Say Florida Stripping Disney World’s Power Could Cost Residents and Counties
- Lawmaker Calls Reedy Creek Vote a Smokescreen in Tallahassee
Stay tuned to DFB for more Disney World news and updates.