Lake Buena Vista
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 cooperation and commitment between the Reedy Creek Improvement District and Walt Disney World Company is as strong today as it was when the District was created in 1967. The result is an example of how a working partnership between business and government can be prosperous for both sides.
One of the busiest places in America, the District’s boundaries include: 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, 1 sports complex, 175 lane miles of roadway, 67 miles of waterway, the cities of Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista, an environmental science laboratory where the continuity of water quality is monitored, an electric power-generating & distribution facility, a natural gas distribution system, water and wastewater collection & treatment facilities, a solid waste and recyclables collection & transfer system, plus over 40,000 hotel rooms and 100’s of restaurants and retail stores.