DeSantis Marks One Year After Eliminating Disney's Reedy Creek

DeSantis Marks One Year After Eliminating Disney's Reedy Creek

Grayson Bakich
Grayson Bakich
February 23, 2024

Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) held a press conference Thursday in Lake Buena Vista highlighting the changes brought by eliminating the Disney-owned Reedy Creek Improvement District, now the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District.

"We were here almost a year ago signing legislation to bring an end to really an anomaly of local government, which was the Reedy Creek Improvement District that was intended to help facilitate the development of a theme park but also a community where you would actually have people living there and voters who would eventually vote and then would elect people to run the district," said Gov. DeSantis.

He described how the envisioned system did not come to pass, "so the default of the district was that it was run by a single corporation, the Disney Corporation, and that is just not something that is going to work in a republican form of government."

Gov. DeSantis further described the impunity with which Disney was allowed to operate, such as tax breaks, regulatory exemptions, and a general lack of oversight from State authorities.

"It was clearly not a situation where it was emblematic of good, transparent government," the Florida Governor continued, further blaming the abuse of privileges by Disney as "human nature."

During the Q&A session, a reporter asked about special districts created after Reedy Creek and how they were different from it.

DeSantis answered that Reedy Creek was approved in 1967 before the Florida Constitution was ratified in 1968, meaning "They were given authority that would be unconstitutional under the current constitution."

"So when they are doing these things," he explained, "there is a valid use for it. But it is not going to be something where the corporation takes over the entire local government. It is a combination of the extraordinary authority that the Florida Legislature gave to Reedy Creek, and then the fact that Disney did not go forward with building the residential communities," which in turn allowed them to select leadership rather than hold popular elections decided by residents.

As a result, DeSantis's reforms were "a good story and an example of good government."

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Grayson Bakich

Grayson Bakich

Florida born and raised, Grayson Bakich is a recent recipient of a Master’s Degree in Political Science at the University of Central Florida. His thesis examined recent trends in political polarization and how this leads into justification of violence.

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