ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Disney and the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District have come to an agreement that will clear the way for future land development.

What You Need To Know

  • The CFTOD got behind Disney's $17 billion development plan

  • It calls for projects on 17,000 acres of land that is not part of district property

  • Disney said it planned development on its Florida property in the next 10-20 years

  • The tourism oversight district scheduled a final hearing on the proposed agreement June 12

The CFTOD met Wednesday morning to discuss the agreement between the district and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

The deal would allow Disney to develop on 17,000 acres of land that is not part of district property. The land could be used for projects such as hotels, retail property, restaurants or even theme parks.

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts proposes putting $17 billion into capital investment in the next 10-20 years. It committed to $8 billion in spending over the next 10 years.

The development plan is expected to create new jobs and generate additional state and local revenues.

The board voted unanimously in support and scheduled a final hearing on the proposal for June 12.

Disney did not provide information about what the development project, or projects, entails but said rumors of a fifth theme park are pure speculation at this time. 

A comprehensive plan filed in 2022 for the then-Reedy Creek Improvement District that covers through 2032 allows for the addition of one major theme park and two minor theme parks before 2032.

According to the proposal unveiled Wednesday at the CFTOD meeting, Disney said it planned to buy a minimum of 50% of construction goods and services related to design, development and construction of its project, or projects, with Florida businesses.

A minimum of $10 million would go toward “attainable” housing projects.

Disney also committed to provide the land for the public infrastructure necessary to support new development up to 100 acres.

The CFTOD agreed to provide the public services and facilities needed to support the development. It committed to update the land development regulations by September 2024 and the comprehensive plan by the third quarter of 2025 to reflect provisions of the agreement. 

The district also said it would ensure landowner support and coordination regarding the projects at an amount equal to their impact on the district.

The agreement, which has a term of 15 years, follows the recent settlement of a lawsuit between Disney and the state. The litigation stemmed from legislation championed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis that dissolved the Reedy Creek Improvement District that had been under control of Disney for decades. The CFTOD was established by the state to replace Reedy Creek and support and administer many aspects of the economic development and tourism within the district’s roughly 25,000 acres within its boundaries. It oversees land use and environmental protections within the district and provides essential public services such as fire protection, emergency medical services, potable water production, treatment, storage, pumping and distribution, reclaimed water distribution, chilled water systems, wastewater services, drainage and flood control, electric power generation and distribution, and solid waste and recyclables (collection and disposal) and operates and maintains all public roadways and bridges.

Sitting in the audience and speaking in favor of the proposed deal was George Miliotes, owner of Wine Bar George at Disney Springs.

“There was concern when the two people who hold some thrall over what’s going to happen to us,” Miliotes said. “We want to see them get along and move forward.”

Miliotes, whose restaurant has 80 employees, and others said they hope they can all benefit from the additional development.

“There’s 80 other families that I can help out, and then, I’m in a small restaurant at Disney,” he said. “There're huge restaurants, places that are 10 times as big as mine, so they have 10 times the employees. That flows down to everybody.”