In the mid-1960s, the Walt Disney World Company proposed building a recreation-oriented development on 25,000 acres of property in Central Florida. The property sat in a remote area of Orange and Osceola County, so secluded that the nearest power and water lines were 10-15 miles away. Neither Orange nor Osceola County had the services or the resources needed to bring the project to life.
In 1967 the Florida State legislature, working with Walt Disney World Company, created a special taxing district – called the Reedy Creek Improvement District – that would act with the same authority and responsibility as a county government.
Walt Disney World could then move ahead with its vision to turn 38.5 square miles of largely uninhabited pasture and swamp land, into a global destination resort that welcomes millions of visitors every year.
The new legislation said that landowners within the Reedy Creek Improvement District, primarily Walt Disney World, would be solely responsible for paying the cost of providing typical municipal services like power, water, roads, fire protection etc.
Local taxpayers, meaning residents of Orange and Osceola County, would not have to pay for building or maintaining those services.
The District BY NUMBERS
- 134 miles of roadways and 67 miles of waterways built and maintained
- 250,000 daily guests
- 6-8 minute response time for fire and EMS
- 60,000 tons of waste managed
- 30 tons of aluminum, paper, steel cans, cardboard and plastic containers recycled every year
- 22,800 water samples collected by scientists from 1,500 locations on the property for testing every year
- 90,000 analyses conducted to make sure that water quality meets or exceeds state and national standards. Water draining from the south end of the District is generally cleaner than when it entered at its north end.
- 2,000 vendors, suppliers and contractors used to provide a high level of public services for visitors