Editor’s Picks: Daily Signal, Daily Wire HAMMER Corrupt Leftists at Disney

December 4th, 2023 11:29 AM

On Monday morning, our friends at the Daily Wire and the Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal absolutely shredded Disney and Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID), the special taxing and self-governing district created in the mid-1960s, as an independent audit found Disney exhorted total control over the group meant to hold it to account as it continued to attract business and tourism to its central Florida theme parks.

The Daily Wire’s investigations editor Brent Scher had the exclusive on the report and said the audit found Disney “perform[ed] a ‘bait and switch’ on the state, and used its ‘complete and unaccountable governmental power’ to ‘maximize its profits’ at ‘the expense of the public good.’” 

Scher said the report revealed Disney’s influence oper ations over the RCID, which Governor Ron DeSantis dissolved this year, marked “the most egregious exhibition of corporate cronyism in modern American history.”

Scher had more on what the audit entailed (click “expand”):

The audit consisted of a forensic audit of the district’s finances, as well as an analysis of governing structures and urban planning. It found that Disney used shady tactics to maintain its control of power, hand-picking government officials, and making payments to district employees that were “akin to bribes.” It also used the district to avoid taxation, and thrust costs on taxpayers in surrounding communities.


Disney told Florida it would build a city around a single theme park, complete with “affordable housing, transportation, and other community services,” the report noted. [George Mason University Law Professor Donald] Kochan explains that Disney “quickly abandoned its city-building pretense.” It instead built the modern Disney World, consisting of several theme parks, four golf courses, and dozens of hotels — with no housing and services only offered to tourists.


“The historical record demonstrates that Disney disdained voters from the outset and did not want its special district or its corporate choices to be subject to public accountability through popular elections,” Kochan states. “Documentary evidence from Walt Disney himself makes clear that he did not want permanent residents in his model community.”


The report lays out how even the democratic aspects of the RCID were meticulously controlled by Disney. Board members, for example, were only eligible if they owned land in the district, so Disney would temporarily deed plots of inaccessible land that board members could hold during the duration of their service, and forfeit it back to Disney at the end. The company would even continue to pay the property tax for the board members.

The system ensured that the board “would be responsive to Disney’s preferences and would serve Disney’s interests,” the report states.

Scher’s piece went onto highlight special treatment for Reedy Creek employees, including Disney passes and discounts not available to the general public. In other words, hefty bribes to allow Disney to operate as they wished.

Over at the Daily Signal, managing editor Tyler O’Neil stated plainly that Disney “controlled the local government around the site of Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, for decades” and the audit found Reedy Creek employees were even labeled Disney employees (called “cast members”).

O’Neil’s deep dive focused on these improper benefits, including “special-access tickets to Disney parks” (except Disney’s parks in Tokyo) for “employees, retirees, members of its Board of Supervisors, and certain VIPs” and were doled out with what he said was the “[understanding] that their passes were not available to the general public.”

“The Reedy Creek district also used the complimentary tickets as an incentive to recruit employees. Even after RCID leadership decided to remove the mention of complimentary tickets from recruitment documents, these leaders still used the passes as an incentive. RCID spent millions of taxpayer dollars on the passes, and still received steep discounts from Disney,” he added.

Later on, O’Neil detailed additional, undisclosed benefits that included half off the sticker price of Disney cruises and steep cuts when buying Disney merchandise (click “expand”):

Disney managed the complimentary tickets and other benefits for employees of the Reedy Creek Improvement District by issuing RCID employees a personnel number known as a “perner, using the exact same system for Disney “cast members.” Disney used these perners to track RCID employees’ park attendance, spending, and other uses of the Disney benefits.

The Reedy Creek district provided employees with a 50% discount on Disney cruises for booking up to three rooms—the same discount available to Disney employees. District employees needed to inquire about the discount, however, because the RCID did not appear on the cruise line’s list of Disney employees.

A cruise director told one employee of the district that RCID didn’t appear on the list “due to the sunshine state laws” of Florida.


Although RCID paid Disney the cost of these cruise discounts at the end of the year, most employees of the district who used the benefit didn’t know this. At least one employee who used the discount asked someone to “please extend by appreciation to the [Disney] World Corporation for this benefit.”


Employees of the Reedy Creek Improvement District received a discount on Disney theme park merchandise and could shop at stores exclusively reserved for Disney employees. These locations offer discounted Disney merchandise and Disney items not made available to the general public, such as old decorations from Disney resorts and hotels.

To read more on Disney’s cartoonish levels of corporate corruption, check out Scher’s findings here and O’Neil’s report here.