The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD), formerly known as the Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID), serves as the steward of the enchanting realm known as Walt Disney World Resort. Nestled within Orange and Osceola counties in Florida, this sprawling district spans 39.06 square miles (101.2 km2) and wields authority and responsibilities akin to a county government. Within its jurisdiction, it encompasses not only the cities of Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista but also stretches over unincorporated lands.
The inception of the present-day Central Florida Tourism Oversight District can be traced back to February 27, 2023, when the Florida Legislature enacted House Bill 9B. This landmark legislation superseded the Reedy Creek Improvement Act, which had been established in 1967 following the vision of Walt Disney and his eponymous media company during the planning phase of Walt Disney World. Walt Disney’s pioneering concept at the time was the “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow” (EPCOT), an innovative planned community aimed at testing new urban living concepts. However, the realization of this ambitious city project gave way to the development of a world-class resort akin to Disney’s other iconic parks.
Under the original Reedy Creek Improvement District, the entity operated with the powers of a government body but operated largely independent of governmental constraints. This dynamic shifted with the 2023 act, which granted the Florida governor the authority to appoint board members, replacing the original five-member Board of Supervisors that had been predominantly controlled by the Walt Disney Company, the largest landowner in the District.
In April 2022, the Florida Legislature passed a sweeping law abolishing the RCID and other special districts formed before November 5, 1968, sparking discussions of it being a response to Disney’s opposition to the controversial Parental Rights in Education Act, commonly referred to as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. The law’s enforcement, set to commence in June 2023, raised questions about the fate of the RCID’s $1 billion in bond liabilities.
However, on February 9 and 10, 2023, the state legislature decided to reverse most of these changes. They replaced the RCID board’s Disney-selected members with individuals appointed by the governor and stripped away certain aspects of the district’s authority, such as the ability to construct a nuclear power plant, airport, and stadium. The culmination of this transformation occurred on February 27, 2023, when Governor Ron DeSantis signed the bill into law, officially renaming the district as the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District.
In the wake of these changes, on April 26, 2023, Disney filed a lawsuit against Governor DeSantis, underscoring the intricate and evolving relationship between the district and the entertainment giant.
The story of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District is intrinsically tied to Walt Disney’s vision and his meticulous planning for what would become Walt Disney World. With multiple shell companies and strategic land acquisitions, Disney secured a vast tract of land near Bay Lake, Florida. The names of these companies, etched on the upper-story windows of Walt Disney World’s Main Street USA, serve as a testament to this ambitious undertaking.
On March 11, 1966, these Disney-owned subsidiaries petitioned for the creation of the Reedy Creek Drainage District, a move that laid the foundation for the expansive district we know today. Over the years, as the district grew, it exercised its powers, including the acquisition of property beyond its boundaries for public use. One such example was the acquisition of land for Canal C-1 (Bonnet Creek), which now stands as the Bonnet Creek Resort, a non-Disney resort.
The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, formerly the Reedy Creek Improvement District, serves as a testament to the enduring legacy of Walt Disney’s vision and the dynamic relationship between tourism, governance, and corporate stewardship in the heart of Florida.
The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District news keeps locals and tourists informed about important updates in the area.
Central Florida Tourism Oversight District board members are responsible for making decisions that impact the district’s operations and development.
Attendees gathered for the recent Central Florida Tourism Oversight District meeting to discuss plans for the upcoming tourist season.
The distinctive Central Florida Tourism Oversight District logo is easily recognizable and represents the district’s unique identity.
The ongoing Central Florida Tourism Oversight District lawsuit has raised questions about the district’s future and governance structure.
What is the tourism oversight district law in Central Florida?
The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District law, also known as the CFTOD law, came into effect on February 27, 2023. This law was enacted through the passing of House Bill 9B by the Florida Legislature. It was designed to replace the previous legislation, the Reedy Creek Improvement Act, which had been originally passed in 1967 at the request of Walt Disney and his media company during the early planning of Walt Disney World Resort. The CFTOD law brings significant changes to the district’s governance and authority, marking a new era in its development.
How many employees does the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District have?
The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District employs a significant workforce, with a proposed stipend of $1,400 or potentially more benefiting a total of 412 employees. This stipend is designed to be directly added to the paychecks of these individuals. It’s important to note that the district’s workforce is substantial, and this stipend aims to provide valuable support to its employees, demonstrating a commitment to their well-being and financial security.