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Disney Gets a Big Break in Bringing Back Reedy Creek

Reedy Creek Reinstatement bill
Credit: Disney/CNBC

All the way back in April 2023 — which seems like a lifetime ago — Florida Governor Ron DeSantis officially dissolved the Reedy Creek Improvement District. Reedy Creek had been in place since 1967 and essentially allowed Walt Disney World to function as its own government. Reedy Creek would pay its taxes, but they would not have to go through the red tape for things like permits and construction. They were also in charge of Disney World’s electrical grid, internet, first responders, and more.

reedy creek fire department building at disney world

Credit: Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District

After dissolving Reedy Creek, DeSantis hand-picked a new board and renamed the area The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District.

Since then, things have not gone well for DeSantis’ new board. Things with Disney have gone from bad to worse, with the two locked-in dueling lawsuits. Then, there are the mass resignations that are happening within the CFTOD. In less than a year, dozens of qualified employees — some of whom have been there a long time — have quit. They have reported that morale is at an all-time low, calling the CFTOD board members “unqualified and incompetent.”

Central Florida Tourism Oversight District

Credit: Joe Burbank

Related: ‘Disney Defenders’ Demand the Return of Reedy Creek

Since its dissolution, thousands have been fighting to end the CFTOD and reinstate Reedy Creek. The first big attempt to legally bring back Reedy Creek was made in November 2023, but several Republican lawmakers walked out of the meeting. That meant that a vote on Reedy Creek could not take place.

But now, things have changed.

Reedy Creek fire department

Credit: RCFD

Related: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Pushes for Massive Overhaul of Disney World Attractions & Rides

On Friday, January 5, Orange County legislators backed a proposal to bring back Reedy Creek. Orange County is one of the counties where the Walt Disney World Resort is located. State Senator Linda Stewart said that Reedy Creek is essential to the area, because the new CFTOD board is not being “transparent” and they have broken the way the district should operate.

Disney discrimination

Credit: Disney

Related: DeSantis Lawyer Says “It Doesn’t Matter” If He Punished Disney

While this is a big win for Disney in its fight against DeSantis and the CFTOD, the repeal is still a long way off from becoming a reality. Orange County is one of the most liberal areas in the state. So, it makes sense that Orange County legislators would back it. However, the deal has to pass through the State House of Representatives and the State Senate.

Ron DeSantis

Credit: Gage Skidmore, Flickr

Both the state House and the state Senate are Republican-controlled, with many of the legislators supporting the dissolution of Reedy Creek. Legal experts think that it is unlikely that they would vote for the reinstatement of Reedy Creek.

Would you like to see Reedy Creek make a return? Let us know in the comments!

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!

21 comments

  1. Reedy Creek should be reinstated. DeSantis is a joke and just throwing his political prowess around. Lord knows I would not vote for him should he be running for president. God help this country if he should become president. Biden has already made a big mess.

    • Disney is corrupt and Reedy Creek is an integral part of that corruption. There is absolutely no way Disney should have automony. Disney is notorious for its malfeasance against the state of Florida.

  2. Yes Out things back the way they belong!

  3. Yes, Reedy Creek needs to be reinstated. DeSantis is a dictator, his way or no way. People have every right to speak their mind. Thought this way a free country. Guess Florida isn’t included! Heaven help us if he becomes president!!!

    • It has run fine prior to the change, now government is taking over and it’s already a mess. Let Disney run it again!

      • Actually no it wasn’t. Disney has been allowed to operate without inspections on things like the monorail. If inspections are brought on because of losing reedy Creek Disney will have to bring the monorail up to code or face massive fines.

        • No, Reedy Creek was not acting independently of Disney but giving preferential treatment to Disney. The new Board is treating Disney as they would anyone else, which is how a board for an independent entity should conduct business.

  4. Reedy Creek should be reinstated. It worked well for over 50 years until DeSantis interfered. The board is a joke, made up of DeSantis supporters and cronies. He placed people on there who will do his bidding, including someone who was formerly on the ethics committee (another joke) and a Moms for Liberty cofounder who engages in threesomes with her husband and another lady. Yet our governor is so concerned that Disney is adversely influencing our youth. The whole situation makes me sick. If it ain’t broke…

  5. There have been some underhanded dealings by the members assigned by DeSantis. Appointing a 911 contract to a company connected to the Board members withOUT putting it up for job bids. The company ended the deal after there were many complaints. It was the company who called it off, and said they would bid for the contract just like every other company. The board members didn’t put a stop to this unethical job procedure. They didn’t think twice and were moving forward with it, even if there was no transparency from the board members’ end. They wanted their favors and money. The board members know nothing about running a guest driven parks system. They can sit back and collect their insanely exorbitant job salaries for doing nothing. DeSantis has become excessive compulsive over his need to ‘correct’ Disney… but the jokes on him… it makes him look off balance and unethical. Disney employs the most people in our central Florida area location. Disney brings in the tourism to the Mom & Pop stores, hotels, businesses lined up down the I4 or 192 corridor. Disney gives back to this community by experiences working with local charities, financial support in things such as the excess of energy from their solar farms, creating food, toys, school supply drives for the community. DeSantis is a hypocrite as he is allowing Universal to come up with their own district autonomy, like Disney had. Universal, Sea World, Busch Gardens, LegoLand stepped forward to push back at DeSantis’s rhetoric. He’s not going after them. He went after Disney because he figured he’d get national attention that way. Not very bright…. is he?

    • Disney does a lot for the homeless issue in the local community. Oh and the sky high rents are also partially Disneys fault as well.

      They do a lot for Orlando. A whole lot of negative things.

  6. As a Brit, I’d like to know just what Disney did to de Santis to make him behave in that way. Maybe he’s jealous of the positive influence that Disney has :).

  7. Gary Brueningsen

    Reedy Creek was never ‘disolved’….doing so would have transferred several billion dollars in municipal bond debt onto Orange and Osceola county tax payers. The FL legislation only removed the existing board, replacing them with Desantis political allies. You should actually read the legislation.

  8. Of course Reedy Creek should be reinstated.

  9. Reedy Creek has run Disney for more than 50 years and built EPCOT,DISNEY HOLLYWOOD, and had no problems till DeSantis put his people in place epic failure there. Bring back Reedy Creek and let Disney fix itself.

    • To everyone saying that Reedy Creak should be reinstated and that everything was fine for fifty years, look up the recent government audit conducted on the district. The audit was done by several high experts in their fields. People that literally wrote the book on how to conduct such investigations.

      What they found was that Disney gained complete control over the district from the beginning. That Disney acted as if the district was established only for its benefit. That over the years the Disney acted illegally in paying bribes to board members. The board members are government officials. Additionally that many of the Municipal Bonds issued by the district were solely beneficial to Disney. This puts in jeopardy those bond’s tax status.

      There were many more problems found by the audit. Most of them known or suspected before. All of them justifying the State’s action in dissolving the district and reconstituting it under the current laws governing special districts.

      Stop sniffing the pixie dust.

  10. So I guess some of you think Newson is a great governor? Or JB is good at running the country. Maybe after a few years of paying for illegal immigrants will change your mind? Disney is all about the money. Backing Disney when they have been charging more for less. They are not doing anyone any favors. No problem with Reedy Creek as long as they pay their fair share like every other special district. Their stocks are tanked so obviously they are not running a good business. Movies have tanked at the box office. Pushing an agenda with everything they do. DeSantis is an awesome governor. Protecting parents and children’s rights. Protecting Florida. We would only be so lucky to have DeSantis in charge of the country. If not DeSantis then Trump. The state of our country is a mess but Florida is one bright spot. Must be a lot of rocks some people are living under.

    • You’re entitled to your opinion, but I respectfully disagree that DeSantis is an awesome governor. Instead of his petty feud with Disney all because they exercised their First Amendment rights, he ought to focus on everything else going on in Florida, namely the cost of living, which is outrageous. When you mess with the bull, you get the horns. Disney has some of the best lawyers around, and DeSantis is trying to get the case dismissed because he’s afraid, and rightfully so.

  11. Reedy Creek should be reinstated. It should never have been disbanded and now you see the result just because De Santis threw his toys out of the pram. Reedy Creek worked very well for all those years and other places should learn from it.. It is far too successful to be used as a political football by self-important so-called politicians who are just throwing their weight around rather than what’s best for the area. Disney is forever, politicians are smoke in the wind.

    I should point out that as a resident of the UK, I have no political affiliation with any US party and I’d say the same whoever was temporarily in power

  12. Reedy Creek should be reinstated to Disney who managed it so well before our governor decided to fight with Disney.

  13. Desantis did the right thing by dissolving reedy creek. Whoever heard of a corporation that is it’s own entity when everyone else, including other corporations have to follow what the government says. In my opinion, this type of arrangement of reedy creek, basically is its own unit of government who’s to say that reedy creek could break away from the state of Florida much less the United States. Otherwise the reedy creek arrangement prior to being dissolved I believe could open up some heafty law suits as we probably would all like to be ready creeks with our homes, businesses and assets. So desantis did the right move. Thank you!

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