Central Florida Tourism Oversight District to vote on $17B Disney expansion

Walt Disney World. Shutterstock/dorengo5.

By Crystal Harlan

May 31, 2024

Company officials have not revealed many details, but the agreement has raised speculation that Disney might be planning a large expansion, including the development of a fifth theme park.

Despite clashes with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration in recent years, The Walt Disney World Co. is gearing up to invest $17 billion in its properties over the next decade or two.

The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, the government agency that oversees Walt Disney World, will vote next week on the new development agreement.

Company officials have not revealed many details, but the agreement has raised speculation that Disney might be planning a large expansion, including the development of a fifth theme park that would join Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios. New smaller parks or attractions are another possibility.

However, Jim Hill, a theme park historian and podcaster, said he thinks Disney will focus on expanding its existing parks in Florida, rather than add a new one, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

“The hard reality is when you look at Florida and 43 square miles for theme parks, 30 plus resorts, that’s not going to go nearly as far as one might expect,” he said.

Disney will also commit $10 million to building “attainable” housing in the area. In Orange County, attainable housing would be earmarked for low-income households earning up to $77,200, WESH 2 reported.

The development would bring more tourists, hotels, restaurants, jobs, and economic development to Florida. For over a year, Disney CEO Bob Iger has been promising expansion that would create 13,000 local jobs over the next two decades.

The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District would fund road, solid waste, sanitation, stormwater, and other infrastructure projects.

The District replaced the Reedy Creek Improvement District after DeSantis led an effort to upend a decades-long arrangement that allowed Disney to self-govern itself in Florida. The change followed a feud between DeSantis and Disney over the governor’s “Don’t Say Gay” law.

 

RELATED: DeSantis’ Attacks on Disney Hurt Florida, Former GOP Officials Say

Author

  • Crystal Harlan

    Crystal is a bilingual editor and writer with over 20 years of experience in digital and print media. She is currently based in Florida, but has lived in small towns in the Midwest, Caracas, New York City, and Madrid, where she earned her MA in Spanish literature.

CATEGORIES: LOCAL BUSINESS
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