The reshaping of the Walt Disney World Resort’s district began on Wednesday morning, and except for flies on the wall, no one was the wiser.
On Wednesday morning, appointees to the newly-named Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (formerly the Reedy Creek Improvement District) began the process of reshaping Disney World’s governing body. The board proposed several measures, including the elimination of a planning board within the district, as well as the prohibition of mask mandates and COVID-19 vaccination requirements for Disney World Guests.
When the five DeSantis-appointed board members met on Wednesday morning, their official agenda included statutes prohibiting anyone from being barred from the board’s offices on the grounds of not wearing a face mask or not producing proof of a COVID-19 vaccination. The outline for the meeting also included a resolution granting the board’s “superior authority” over Disney World’s special district–an area that encompasses some 27,000 acres, including the cities of Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
The meeting agenda also nodded toward a possible changing of the guard as it relates to the administration’s staff, as job descriptions for the special district’s administrator and other staff positions were noted.
DeSantis and the newly-appointed board for the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District are working feverishly to bounce back from the shock of discovering that in early February, the former Disney-appointed board members met and passed a development agreement that approved Disney’s land use for multiple new projects between 2023 and 2034. The Disney board also approved several restrictive statutes that ultimately rendered the new board members powerless to make decisions and implement changes within its jurisdiction.
During a news conference on Monday, Governor DeSantis discussed upcoming legislation that would scrutinize the parks and resorts at Disney World even further, including new legislation that would require Disney World’s rides to undergo state inspections. The current law states that rides at theme parks with fewer than 1,000 employees are subject to state inspections, while rides at theme parks with more than 1,000 employees are not subject to the inspections but are required to submit a report that details any injuries, illnesses, or events that manifest themselves inside the theme parks and require a 24-hour (or longer) hospital stay.
Disney CEO Bob Iger said during a recent interview with TIME Magazine that he is open to meeting with Florida’s governor to hash out their differences in a battle that has been brewing since March 2022.