Latest board meeting signals new chapter for Disney and Central Florida Tourism Oversight District

Apr 25, 2024 in "Reedy Creek Improvement District"

Posted: Thursday April 25, 2024 10:23am ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District held its first board of supervisors meeting yesterday, the first time since the settlement agreement with Disney was reached.

In a significant shift from its beginnings in 2023 as a Ron DeSantis-directed takeover of Disney's Reedy Creek Improvement District, the meeting felt more like an actual gathering of governance and less like a political spectacle.

Instead of the now departed CFTOD Chairman Martin Garcia railing against Disney, the agenda included awarding contracts for chilled water, network security and video upgrades, waste stream disposal, recycling efforts, energy plant upgrades, sediment removal, landscaping improvements, and a twenty-year contract for the purchase of 74.5 megawatts of solar energy.

Reporting on the district's management was newly appointed CFTOD administrator Stephanie Kopelousos. Also in attendance was new board member Craig Mateer.

Announced in late March, the Walt Disney Company and the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District reached a settlement agreement that will potentially see both sides drop their respective lawsuits. Speaking earlier this month, Disney CEO Bob Iger described the agreement as a "win-win" for Disney.

The key provisions of the agreement from Disney's perspective are that the district commits to reviewing and potentially revising the 2020 Comprehensive Plan, with consultations involving Disney. Furthermore, the subsequent negotiations for the new development agreement are tied to Disney's decision to either continue or halt its federal lawsuit against CFTOD and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, indicating the agreement's broad scope and potential impact on Disney's operations.

Responding to a question about investing in the parks during a recent investors call, Iger said, "The agreement we reached with the Central Florida tourism oversight district last week will actually enable us to pursue the kinds of significant investment in our Florida parks that you're talking about. We achieved a win-win result with that deal. In terms of our ability to pursue future development opportunities, but also in terms of the 1000s of direct and indirect jobs, and economic opportunity in the state that will come with our investment in new projects. So as we've discussed regarding our $60 billion capital expenditure plans, is much more coming to our parks around the world, including in Florida."

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Chip Chipperson7 minutes ago

No, the agreement isn't a cap, it's a minimum and the actual requirement ($8B over 10 years, with the remainder over the 10 years after that) is less than the company has already stated they intend to spend. It is just a way to give Disney the agreement that the District had previously challenged while also making it look like the District's Board got a "win."

danlb_200012 minutes ago

I really don't understand this. Can the state limit, or even want to limit, how much Disney invests in Florida? If Disney were to spend 18 billion would the be punished for that?

Goofyernmost1 hour ago

I can't speak for anyone else but the political climate in Florida managed to take my four decade love of Florida (not just because WDW was there, but that helped) and smashed it against the rocks. Until the people of the state of Florida decide that instead of focusing on the misinformation they have been told and protect the human beings that live or might visit there, I will never spend another dime in the state. I didn't spend a year of my life in Vietnam serving for my country only to have a bunch of Neanderthals' take away everyone's rights except for what they consider to be theirs alone. This isn't really political, it is just how I, personally, feel and how the decisions of others have affected how I relate to the place. So many blame Chapek for not being diplomatic enough, but when it comes to the rights of all people to be defended, just saying it, is the only way to have done it. Don't get me wrong, I think he was an idiot, but even a broken clock is right twice a day. He was right to strongly defend the thousands of Cast members of the Disney Company and is the foundation of our constitution the all of us have the right to be critical of the Government and not be punished for it. That really is the only reason for the 1st amendment and actually applies actually only when directed at the Government.

Goofyernmost1 hour ago

That 10 million number is so ridicules. Disney spends that much on mop handles alone. I think that when the new "king" is elected as governor in 2026 RCID will return and just keep the new name to save money and calm the terminally power hungry giving the board control back to WDW. Maybe they can get all those lawyers to vacation there with their families and get all those legal fees back in less than a week.

mkt2 hours ago

What you view as “political activism with philosophic goals” was viewed by them at one point as a sound business strategy. They didn’t do it for the goodness of their heart, or desire to make lasting cultural and societal change: they did it because they thought they could make money in doing so. They’re a business, not “true believers”.

MisterPenguin3 hours ago

The Lending Tree "poll" was posted here to point out how political bias is affecting how some people opt for or against a Disney vacation. But, this tangent is now about the incredulity and mechanics of borrowing, which has it's own thread here...

Figgy14 hours ago

more or less

DisneyJayBama4 hours ago

“Disney is not a political activist with philosophic goals they want to achieve.” You may want to tell Disney that!

bwr8275 hours ago

They’re a loan company and want to increase brand awareness. So, they picked an interesting topic that generally relates to their business and is likely to get media pickup and funded a survey. Now they’ve got some attention and conversation going, and in the process they’ll get mentions about who they are and what they do.

John park hopper5 hours ago

Am I understanding this-- the state of Florida is allowing Disney to invest 17 billion but Disney is not obligated to spend 17 billion

Bullseye19679 hours ago

Ouch! I wouldn't care to push over 20% of potential customers away, but is Lending Tree really a polling company? Why would they have a Disney poll?

mkt15 hours ago

mkt15 hours ago

Like I said repeatedly, this was a shakedown for political contributions.

Stripes16 hours ago

DeSantis has gone from labeling The Walt Disney Company a bunch of pedophilic groomers to publicly celebrating their future investments and expansion of power in his state. And all it took was money. Give it 5 years.