A central Florida county on Friday issued a notice of its plans to seek legislation that would allow for dissolving Walt Disney World’s self-governing area to appoint a state-run board to manage the district while a spokesperson for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Friday that “Disney will no longer control its own government” under the proposal.
“Notice is hereby given of intent to seek legislation before the Florida Legislature, during a regular, extended, or special session, of an act relating to the Reedy Creek Improvement District,” said a notice from Osceola County on Friday. Reedy Creek, established in the 1960s, is the name for Disney’s self-governing district and is located in Osceola and Orange counties and allowed Disney to control the land currently occupied by its massive theme park.
Friday’s notice also stated that Florida lawmakers will take up legislation “increasing state oversight, accountability, and transparency” of Reedy Creek district. Republicans currently hold supermajorities in both chambers of the Florida legislature, although a bill hasn’t been filed in the Legislature as of Friday.
The move to dissolve Reedy Creek is backed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has been a frequent critic of Disney’s jumping into the political arena to back leftist causes. Disney is one of the largest employers in the state and Walt Disney World is one of the world’s most popular theme park attractions.
“The corporate kingdom has come to an end,” Taryn Fenske, a spokesperson for DeSantis, told Fox News in a statement on Friday. “Under the proposed legislation, Disney will no longer control its own government, will live under the same laws as everyone else, will be responsible for their outstanding debts, and will pay their fair share of taxes.”
The decision to impose “a state-controlled board will also ensure that Orange County cannot use this issue as a pretext to raise taxes on Orange County residents,” she added. That statement was also posted by a Twitter account associated with DeSantis.
Last April, DeSantis signed a bill to dissolve Reedy Creek’s special tax status in the state, weeks after the company’s CEO criticized a recent Florida law that barred teachers from encouraging classroom discussions about sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through grade 3, or in a manner that is not age-appropriate. It’s not immediately clear how the bill would impact the latest proposal.
The Florida Legislature voted last year to abolish Reedy Creek on June 1, 2023, but they said there could be a possibility the district is reconfigured. DeSantis said he wanted to have the state control the board and pay taxes needed to maintain its properties and theme park.