Photo Credit: baynews9.com/Orange Co. Property Appraiser
Orange County records released on December 23 indicate Disney has just purchased more than 230 acres of land just west of Magic Kingdom. The land was purchased from Winter Garden-based Lake Reedy LLC by Disney subsidiary Compass Rose Corp. The 235-acre property is located near Reedy Lake, which is just northwest of Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course. In January of this past year, Disney bought 1,575 acres of Osceola County for $11 million adjacent to the ranch from the estate of Frank E. Brown.
This acquisition was expected to be used for water conservation and wetland mitigation. “Because of the nature of the property, it would be a prime candidate for a mitigation bank,” said John Adams, a partner with Central Florida Land Advisors, which was actively marketing the Brown property for that use.
The first deal Brown was ever offered by Disney was for his 6,750 acres of ranch and Reedy Creek swamp, which the company offered to pay him a reported $4.2 million for. If the purchase of land had gone through, it would have been used for Walt Disney World. GrowthSpotter reports that Disney had to settle for 27,000 nearby acres for the resort instead.
The sale, completed on December 23, 2019, was for $6 million, valued at around $25,321 per acre.
The property is located a short distance away from Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and is 100 acres larger than the Magic Kingdom theme park (which is comprised of 142 acres).
It remains yet to be seen what the property will be used for, but there is speculation that Disney wants to open a new theme park. Many Walt Disney World fans are hopeful this is the case. A fifth theme park at the ever-expanding Walt Disney World Resort might not be necessary right now.
John Gerner, managing director of Leisure Business Advisors LLC in Richmond, Virginia, proposes the theory that Disney may decide to use the land as an undeveloped barrier to keep outside companies from moving near the resort.
Its location may offer other uses, too. The land sits near the future site of Flamingo Crossings, which will be home to apartments and valuable hotels, plus various shopping and dining options for guests and visitors. The location would serve as the perfect place for a potential expansion, according to Gerner.
“It could be used for a more upscale, exclusive getaway that feels isolated on the edge of Disney property. They can have their own lake with the amenities of a getaway spot,” Gerner explained.
It’s estimated that Disney owns roughly 30,000 acres in Central Florida. This has not been confirmed yet, however. Disney’s 215 Celebration Place LLC purchased the 965-acre BK Ranch LC in Osceola County for $23 million in December 2018. The land, which is zoned for development off the old Tampa highway, was originally planned to be developed into 3,000 homes and 378,000 square feet of office and commercial space. BK Ranch could have rivaled Celebration had it been developed long ago. It is now up to Walt Disney World to decide what to do with it.
Melissa’s career in writing started more than 20 years ago. Today, she lives in South Florida with her husband and two boys.