A Brief Look At Walt Disney World's Reedy Creek Improvement District

If you've ridden on a Walt Disney World bus and found yourself staring out the window to pass the time, it's no doubt that you've noticed the brightly colored public services buildings - one of which is labeled in bold, red LCD letters "RCFD". You probably guessed from the yellow trucks with flashing lights that the "FD" stands for Fire Department. But would you have guessed that "RC" stands for Reedy Creek?

RCID Creates A Foundation That Magic Is Built UponRCID Creates A Foundation That Magic Is Built Upon

Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID), named for one of the fictitious companies that Disney used to acquire sufficient land, was created so solve the specific problems of bringing a world-class entertainment facility to an undeveloped area in Central Florida. When Walt Disney first visited the area, there were few roads and the nearest public utilities were 10-15 miles away. It was unreasonable to expect local taxpayers to pick up the tab to develop the necessary infrastructure; likewise, Walt Disney World could not be built within the constructs of the local ordinances. The compromise was to create RCID, which would essentially make Walt Disney World self-governing. The company would be responsible for raising its own revenue and in turn, it would have the authority to create its own rules.

Walt Disney's dream for the "Florida Project" was to build an Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (EPCOT). Although the vision that Walt presented to the world in 1966 never came to fruition in quite the way he described it, RCID latched on to the core philosophies of his plan to create a municipality that brings a new standard of efficiency to local government. The system of roads was constructed from scratch to match the needs of the company and they include features like oversized, color-coded signs and an adequate number of traffic lanes to match demand in a given area. Independent Fire and Emergency Medical services were established and at an average of 6-8 minutes per call, RCFD currently boasts one of the fastest response times in the country. A building code also had to be developed for the district. Today, that code remains one of the most stringent in the country and it was developed as such to guarantee that innovative building techniques and safety would always band together to create inspiring and dependable structures at Walt Disney World.

RCID Emergency Response Is Some Of The Country's FastestRCID Emergency Response Is Some Of The Country's Fastest

In addition to the achievements in infrastructure, planning and management, Reedy Creek is a fiscally and socially responsible entity. The district generates approximately $270 million dollars in local tax revenue that more than covers their annual operating expenses. RCID is also socially responsible, conducting water quality studies on more than 90,000 samples per year to insure that the Florida Everglades do not suffer any negative environmental impacts from the increased land use of their northern neighbor. In fact, studies have repeatedly proven that water is cleaner when it leaves RCID en route to the Everglades than it is when it arrives at RCID.

The next time your Walt Disney World bus drives past RCFD, take a moment to consider all of the creative planning and solution-oriented negotiation that happened nearly 50 years ago to make your vacation possible!

Statistics from RCID.org

A big thanks goes out to Guest Author Holly L. for sharing her love of Disney History with us. If you'd like to read more from Holly, you can find her sharing her adventures on our member forum.

crazycatperson wrote on Wed, 08/13/2014 - 22:25:

crazycatperson's picture

Very interesting! I've wondered about "RCFD" every time I happened to pass by. Now I know.

Kristen K. wrote on Sat, 08/16/2014 - 17:54:

Kristen K.'s picture

I love this story - Reedy Creek is one of the most unique features of Walt Disney World. It's fascinating!

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly. If you have a Gravatar account associated with the e-mail address you provide, it will be used to display your avatar.

More information about formatting options