Walt Disney World loses control of its own district thanks to a new bill in Florida

Thanks to a new bill, Walt Disney World has lost control of its own district council to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, meaning it will lose some of the privileges and autonomy it has had since 1967.

As reported by The New York Times, 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 all five members of its board. The Florida Senate will confirm the choices.

The true impact of this decision is obviously yet to be seen, but it will enable, among other things, Florida to tax Disney to help fund road improvements outside the parks. Disney World will also be subject to further state regulatory review, which “could cause the cost of construction projects at the resort to go up.”

However, it’s not all bad news for Disney, 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 who don’t know, this controversial law prevents teachers in kindergarten through third grade from including anything related to sexuality or gender in their curriculum.

The Reedy Creek Improvement District was set to be abolished on June 1, 2023, but it was discovered that taxpayers in Orange and Osceola counties would have to pay for certain Disney World services such as fire protection, policing and road maintenance. Additionally, the district has about $1 billion in debt, and that would have been transferred to the counties if the district were abolished.

Therefore, Disney still retained most of the advantages it has enjoyed for the past 56 years, including “the ability to issue tax-free bonds and approve development plans without the scrutiny of 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 to become one of the state’s largest economic contributors and employers,” said Disney World . said the president, Jeff Vahle. “We are focused on the future and ready to work within this new framework and will continue to innovate, inspire and bring joy to the millions of visitors who come to Florida to visit Walt Disney World each year.”

It’s important to note that this new board cannot in any way decide what Disney builds or creates in the future, and Disney World already has approval to build another theme park, two additional water parks, and thousands of hotel rooms. . While it has no plans to move forward with any of these at this time, these options are available through 2032 under the current agreement.

Oh, and Disney won’t be able to build a nuclear power plant or airport at the resort, so sorry to the fans who have been waiting for these additions.

Blogroll image credit: AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

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Adam Bankhurst is a news writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamBankhurst is at Muscular contraction.

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