First Meeting of Central Florida Tourism Oversight Board Includes Suggestion of Dissolving Lake Buena Vista, Chairman Says There Will Be ‘Broader Representation’

The first meeting of the board of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (previously the Reedy Creek Improvement District) took place yesterday, March 8, at B Resort & Spa near Disney Springs. Orlando Business Journal shared insights from the meeting, including the suggestion that the cities of Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista be dissolved.

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The new board consists of chairman Martin Garcia, Clearwater attorney Brian Aungst Jr., Winter Park attorney Michael A. Sasso, Moms for Liberty co-founder Bridget Ziegler, and CEO of The Gathering Ron Peri. Board members are required to be Florida residents who have not worked in the theme park industry within the past three years.

The meeting began with public comments, including from many employees of Reedy Creek Fire Department and the family members of first responders lost in the line of duty. They spoke about improving access to resources needed to keep up with safety needs. RCID firefighters have supported the state takeover following years of reports of inadequate staffing and broken down fire trucks.

During the meeting, Aungst said of Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista, “Whether or not these two cities are legally necessary is an important question.” He said that for now, he wants the district to oversee the law enforcement contracts of those cities or ensure they cannot supersede the district’s building codes and land-planning powers.

Ziegler said she would like to see COVID-19 restrictions like masks and vaccines made similar to statewide law, which prohibits mask and vaccine requirements. She did not share specifics of what this meant, and Walt Disney World Resort does not currently require masks or vaccinations for guests.

“Finding the proper balance,” Ziegler said, “I am cognizant of that. I believe the role of government is to be limited. I believe that also no corporation should have benefits over private citizens.”

Garcia said that the new board will institute many changes but that this does not mean the previous board did a bad job, only that it was for different management.

“Our constituency group is everyone who works and plays in the district and lives in the district and lives in the state of Florida,” Garcia said. “You all didn’t elect us. But the people of Florida elected a governor who appointed us. There will be a broader representation.”

Garcia stressed that there is more to learn, saying, “We are, as Mickey would say, all ears at this time.”

The rebranding of the district was also discussed. District administrator John Classe Jr. said the process is ongoing but there is not yet a timeline for the exact rollout to rebrand the hundreds of vehicles, trash cans, manhole covers, and more.

Classe also said the rating on the ad valorem and district’s bonds has returned to what it was prior to the recent legislation.

Disney Parks Chairman Josh D’Amaro is hopeful about the new board and Walt Disney World President Jeff Vahle previously said they are “ready to work” with the board.

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3 thoughts on “First Meeting of Central Florida Tourism Oversight Board Includes Suggestion of Dissolving Lake Buena Vista, Chairman Says There Will Be ‘Broader Representation’”

  1. Never going back to Disney or any of its attraction again. Thank Dusatan for making Disneyland into DuhSantisland. What a load of crap he’s trying to sell.


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