DeSantis Appointed Board Declares Reasons for Nullifying Disney’s Last Development Agreement with Reedy Creek

Lisa Stump

DeSantis Appointed Board Declares Reasons for Nullifying Disney’s Last Development Agreement with Reedy Creek

The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District Board has released a document outlining the reasons why they plan to declare Disney’s final development agreement with Reedy Creek null and void.

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Board Declares Reasons for Nullifying Agreement

The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District Board, formerly known as the Reedy Creek Improvement District, will meet on Wednesday to declare the February 8, 2023 Development Agreement and Declaration of Restrictive Covenants created by the Reedy Creek Improvement District and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts void and unenforceable.

Before this meeting takes place, the board publicly released legislative findings, including their reasoning for nullifying the February 8 agreements. Most of their arguments stem from the fact that the legal counsel discovered a deficiency in required notification; they state legal issues with Reedy Creek posting notices of the new Developer Agreement include both timing and reaching all interested parties.

They claim Disney’s announcements regarding changes to Reedy Creek legal agreements were not sufficient to appease the law:

Prior to the January 25 and February 8 Board meetings, the District published notices of intent to consider a development agreement in the Orlando Sentinel. The notices were published on January 18 and 27, respectively. The Orlando Sentinel is a newspaper of general circulation and readership in both Orange and Osceola Counties. Such notices published in the newspaper did not fully inform the public or other property owners of the purposes or contents of the development agreement and how other property owners and the taxpayers of the District were affected by such proposed agreement. 

The document also claims “the benefits of the development agreement are entirely one-sided,” and “the District receives nothing in return.” The Board claims that the only potential benefit to the District in the development agreement is that, when Disney obligates the District to construct public facilities that require land that Disney owns, Disney will not “request payment for the land in excess of fair market value.”

The last page of the legislative findings, point 92, states, “Neither the development agreement nor the restrictive covenants are in the best interest of the District or the taxpayers or public, and the Board has no desire to readopt or ratify such instruments.”

If you’d like to read the full document, you can find it here. The information regarding Reedy Creek begins in the section labeled 8.1.

Disney’s Support of Reedy Creek

Most recently, Disney has taken to their official community outreach site to share their view of the Reedy Creek Improvement District in a new post. Entitled “The Value of Disney Reedy Creek to Florida,” the new post was added as the battle between Disney and Governor Ron DeSantis continues.

Take a look at our full coverage here.

Disney & Governor DeSantis

Ron DeSantis in front of Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World

Governor DeSantis and The Walt Disney Company initially clashed over the corporation’s opposition to a much-debated and controversial Florida law regarding classroom instruction and discussion on sexual orientation and gender identity in public schools, alongside various other recent state laws and proposals in a similar vein.

Bob Chapek was Chief Executive Officer of Disney at the time and initially remained silent and passive on the issue — until massive internal criticisms from cast members and controversy over Disney’s practice of making hefty political contributions to campaigns and individuals allegedly against their own stated human principles came into focus.

In an apparent act of retribution over this expression of dissent, the Governor moved forward with various verbal and legal assaults on Disney, including the dissolution of Reedy Creek and transfer of power directly under his control. DeSantis argues he is attacking a rather vague perception of something he calls “woke politics,” invading the state. He further says he aims to put the people of Florida first through his actions: “Disney has gotten away with special deals from the state of Florida for way too long. It took a look under the hood to see what Disney has become to truly understand their inappropriate influence.”

The Governor insists he will double down on efforts to punish Disney through methods both in the Legislature and the Central Florida Tourism Oversight Board. Notably, he promised to hike Disney’s hotel taxes and institute tolls on the roads around Walt Disney World Resort property.

What are your opinions on the latest developments with the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District? We’d love to see your opinions in the comments below.

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