“Punitive, Irresponsible” — Former Disney CEO Comments on Reedy Creek Changes

After Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law that changes key aspects of the Reedy Creek Improvement District, we’ve been waiting to see what that might mean for The Walt Disney Company.

Reedy Creek Fire Marshal Sign in Disney World

We’ve kept an eye on Disney’s comments throughout the long battle, with executives sharing that they’re focused on making the parks a memorable experience for guests. And now, another Disney exec — former CEO Michael Eisner — has weighed in.

While the battle for Disney World’s Reedy Creek Improvement District (which will begin to operate under its new name — The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District) may be over, questions still loom about what exactly that means for Disney.

Cinderella Castle

Many believe that this law was retaliation for Disney’s response to Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Law — called the Don’t Say Gay Law by critics. After initially remaining silent, Disney issued a statement opposing the law, which apparently caught the ire of Florida’s governor and other lawmakers.

Governor DeSantis remarked that Florida had ended “the Corporate Kingdom,” and appointed the new Board of Supervisors to handle the District’s matters.

©Governor DeSantis via Twitter

Current Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products chairman Josh D’Amaro commented on the new board, saying he is optimistic about the future.

“If that new board understands the value that gets created here and how it positively impacts the Central Florida community, I think they will be aligned with our vision and will carry on the Reedy Creek soul that’s been in place,” said D’Amaro.


And now, former Disney CEO Michael Eisner has shared his thoughts on the new Reedy Creek board.

In an interview with CNBC’s Squawk on the Street, Eisner was asked about the district’s new structure and said, “I don’t think it’s meaningfully different. Yes, there are non-Disney people on that … board. I think they will become Disney-philes. They’ll love Disney. They’ll vote for the new.”

©AP Photo/Peter Kramer

“I have a lot of thoughts about (the culture war Disney finds itself in), none of which I’m going to tell you, because I don’t want to get into a culture conversation,” said Eisner.


But, he did remark that he thought the Reedy Creek situation had gotten “out of control” and “escalated to the point of ridiculousness,” reiterating the fact that he didn’t see any problems with the original Reedy Creek District.

“The way Disney built under Reedy Creek was better than all the way it was built around the rest of the country. The roads were thicker. The drains were deeper. … The hospitals were great. There was no problem there.”

©Reedy Creek

Eisner said the decision to change Reedy Creek was “punitive…cultural…irresponsible” and that it “shouldn’t have happened.”

Not only that, but when asked about DeSantis potentially running for president in 2024, Eisner commented, “I think it’s not wise politically to be anti-Disney.”

Frank Wells and Michael Eisner pose with some of their closet Disney pals. [The Walt Disney Company]
As for Eisner’s comments about the new Central Florida Tourism District not being “meaningfully different” from Reedy Creek, we’ll have to wait and see. We do know that the new Board will have some control over what Disney is and is not able to do.

It seems — for now at least — that Disney executives past and present aren’t too concerned with the changes, at least not openly. Whether or not the new district will have a significant impact on Disney World remains to be seen, but we’ll be on the lookout for any updates.

Reedy Creek Fire Department

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8 Replies to ““Punitive, Irresponsible” — Former Disney CEO Comments on Reedy Creek Changes”

  1. Well made Disney just needs to focus on making movies, keeping the parks enjoyable and reasonably priced for all to enjoy and keep out of the political game.

  2. Since DeSantis was overwhelmingly reelected, it is safe to say Floridians support the governor. Disney suppressed wage growth in Central Florida for decades and has brought out of control growth. I back the governor 100%. Disney has done Florida no favors.

  3. Gov DeSaster continues to wreak havoc in areas he knows nothing about. Because of personal vendettas he tries to exercise his authority selfishly. He’s a very small minded man

    1. Yet Florida easily reelected him, mainly due to how well he lead the state while everyone else tried to shut down. Despite having a state that is heavily populated by senior citizens, they weathered covid better than most. The only small minded are those that denigrate the accomplishments of Gov. DeSantis and the state of Florida. It could have been so much worse, they could have had Whitmer, Cuomo, or heaven forbid, Newsome.

    1. LOL, you think WDW will have it worse in FL under FL state oversight then it does anywhere else, esp. in a Blue state like CA? Hell, it was DeSantis that allowed WDW to remain open while CA Disneyland was forced closed for a year and a half. Can you imagine if DeSantis did what Newsom did, what financial dire straits the company would be in? And FL is low regulation, low taxes, and wages are typically lower for labor costs. It’s the reason Iger is STILL moving employees for CA to FL.