This morning, the Reedy Creek Improvement District held a public planning meeting at 9 am EST. These meetings are generally somewhat routine, but in what could be called a continuing streak of potentially great news for Walt Disney World, there were several big updates. The long term land use plan was updated with several items. Each of them individually could have a major impact on the resort in upcoming years.
More Hotel Rooms
In what is probably the least surprising and most “normal” update, RCID was allowed to add additional hotel rooms to the plan. This needs to happen any time new resorts are built, or existing resorts are expanded. I don’t think any of us expect Disney to be done building resorts in Orlando, and this gives them the capacity to plan and announce new projects or expansions.
Two Additional Minor Parks
Here’s where things start to get interesting. The long term land use plan was updated to allow for the addition of two more minor parks. What are minor parks? Our very own detail-oriented Len Testa asked that question just to be sure, and he was told “like water parks”. This doesn’t mean that Walt Disney World will certainly and suddenly be doubling the number of water parks it offers. Obviously, they operated their water parks at half capacity for most of the years following the pandemic closure, so they don’t think they have a capacity problem.
But it will be interesting to see if they take these additions and come up with something totally new and very different from what we expect. This was probably my most-surprising update, and I’m excited to see if things get planned and announced in the coming months (or years …)
One More Major Theme Park
Okay, I saved the best for last. As a reminder, before you get all hyped up and start planning an Lord of the Rings theme park in your head (no? just me?), this doesn’t guarantee that anything is going to happen or get announced any time soon. But it means that the possibility is there. So Reedy Creek Improvement District has allowed for the potential of an additional major theme park. Think, fifth gate.
[By Len Testa, 4 pm Wednesday, January 11, 2023] Today’s meeting introduced a “land use” approval resolution for 1 additional major park and 2 additional minor parks to comply with Reedy Creek’s 2032 Comprehensive Long Term Plan. Reedy Creek’s 2020 Comprehensive Long Term Plan, which was adopted in 2010, included provisions for the same number of additional parks (see page 2A-11, roughly page 31 in the 2020 Comprehensive LTP PDF).
It looks like the 2020 plan was adopted as the 2032 plan during the May 25, 2022 Reedy Creek meeting, according to agenda item 6-I of the meeting minutes.
So there are a couple of interpretations of today’s land use resolution:
- The parts of the 2020 plan dealing with these parks never had a land use resolution approved, even though the plan was in effect for a dozen years
- The land use resolution for the 2020 plan was approved, and this is something else
If the land use resolution was never approved for the 2020 plan, then the obvious question is “Why do it now?” And one answer is that given what’s going on with the RCID, it’s better to get that approval from this board of supervisors now, than wait and potentially have to work with another board. (My second question would be “Why just ask for one theme park and two water parks? Why not ten?”)
The next public planning meeting for RCID will happen in February. What do you think of all of the news from today? Any wish lists for any of the additions to the plan?