Central Florida Oversight District reconsiders its plans to eliminate Walt Disney World Annual Pass benefits for its employees

Sep 13, 2023 in "Reedy Creek Improvement District"

Posted: Wednesday September 13, 2023 6:15pm ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

During tonight's Central Florida Tourism Oversight District board meeting, CEO Glen Gilzean revealed that the district continues looking for a new solution to the proposed changes to its Walt Disney World Annual Pass benefit for district employees.

In an email sent to Central Florida Tourism Oversight District employees in August, administrator Glen Gilzean said he is ending the Walt Disney World Annual Pass program benefit.

The removal of the Walt Disney World Annual Pass benefit follows the Ron DeSantis-appointed board receiving a bill from Walt Disney World for $2.5 million in theme park tickets and discounts given to employees of the district.

Gilzean said in his email, "In the proposed FY 2024 budget, I have incorporated funding for a new stipend program that allows for individualized flexibility rather than underserving employees with a one-size-fits-all approach."

The stipend program would give district employees approximately $1000 per year. The district said in the email that only 50% of employees used the Walt Disney World Annual Pass benefit.

Walt Disney World Annual Passes range in price from $400 to $1400, depending on the tier of pass chosen.

Not surprisingly, the proposal received significant pushback from the district employees, most notably the fire fighters and retirees.

Speaking today, Gilzean said that the board is making significant progress in developing reasonable solutions. He said, "We received feedback on the stipend amount, and we're working with the board of supervisors to increase the initial proposal now and making it more equitable."

One of the plans in consideration is the possibility of allowing teams to purchase passes directly from the operating participant program. Gilzean expects to unveil these numbers during the September 27 board meeting.

Discuss on the Forums

Get Walt Disney World News Delivered to Your Inbox

View all comments →

el_super37 minutes ago

That's true. It would have been terrible optics for Disney to draw a hard line position that a corporation should have that kind of power. At least not outright. But as Anaheim proves, even without the district in name, Disney will still wield immense political power and get what they want. Maybe they will end up paying a little bit more for it in the end.

Chi8443 minutes ago

So no source?

MR.Dis48 minutes ago

As the whole story was unfolding, there were multiple local news stations that were reporting this. No national news agency did any deep dive. The story intrigued me, and after Chapek made his famous statements--I actually predicted that his legacy would be Disney losing control of the RCID on a different forum (and got kicked off the forum for being too political).

Chi841 hour ago

What's the source for this?

Tha Realest1 hour ago

Yeah we can all only speak to our own choices and viewpoints, of course. But self-righteously declaring you refuse to visit while the state experiences record breaking attendance is a bit silly.

MR.Dis1 hour ago

The problem with this statement was a majority of employees AGREED with the Florida Bill. Nothing needed to be said or should of been said. Chapek should of designated a subordinate to make an appropriate statement to appease the minority of employees who were upset with the Florida Bill (most of whom were actually located in California). It amazes me to this day how the bill became such a polarizing point. How many actually read the bill--I did. It is a big nothing. Really only applied to third graders and younger. So this is what everyone wants to make as a big fuss about.

JoeCamel1 hour ago

Keep the context of why Chappie spoke out..... Don't lose the big picture

MR.Dis1 hour ago

This whole episode is so tragic. I believe the first and most important job of a major corp CEO is to look out for the fortunes of their Corporation. For Chapek to be so politically incompetent to make comments that put his Corporation in political cross hairs is just plain inexcusable. Here is where I get conflicted, no matter now dumb Chapek was, taking revenge for freedom of speech is against everything I believe. The thing is, as I delved into this situation, it became clear Disney was going to ultimately lose, and yes they lost as they lost control of the RCID. Despite what others believe, Disney will never gain total control of the district again-as I stated above neither party will support such a move. The sad part for those like me that love going to WDW, it ran terrifically when run by Disney. Hopefully, the new board can work with Disney to keep this place magical.

networkpro2 hours ago

I too cant speak for anyone else but myself either, but I like Florida enough that we'll be buying a retirement home there... I dont get the whole loofa thing as well as cookie cutter developments so I guess the Villages are out of the picture for me, but there are nice concentrations of fiscally minding voters throughout the state.

danlb_20007 hours ago

Thank you for the clarification, I didn't see how the original statement could have been right.

flynnibus7 hours ago

No - it was a horrible interpretation that I was hoping people would have just skipped over... but here we are. We should all know the basics here. Disney made a commitment to spend 8 billion as part of an agreement. There is no cap... there isn't even a punishment to NOT doing it. It just means the District would have reason to terminate the agreement.. which is a toothless thing anyway since you wouldn't know if they had spent it until the end anyway. It's just a promise as a means to justify the agreement and provide the requirement of the benefit to the district for why they are even doing the agreement. It's pretty much a meaningless commitment - Disney's public investor messages have far more consequence and weight behind them.

Chip Chipperson7 hours ago

No, the agreement isn't a cap, it's a minimum and the actual requirement ($8B over 10 years, with the remainder over the 10 years after that) is less than the company has already stated they intend to spend. It is just a way to give Disney the agreement that the District had previously challenged while also making it look like the District's Board got a "win."

danlb_20007 hours ago

I really don't understand this. Can the state limit, or even want to limit, how much Disney invests in Florida? If Disney were to spend 18 billion would the be punished for that?

Goofyernmost8 hours ago

I can't speak for anyone else but the political climate in Florida managed to take my four decade love of Florida (not just because WDW was there, but that helped) and smashed it against the rocks. Until the people of the state of Florida decide that instead of focusing on the misinformation they have been told and protect the human beings that live or might visit there, I will never spend another dime in the state. I didn't spend a year of my life in Vietnam serving for my country only to have a bunch of Neanderthals' take away everyone's rights except for what they consider to be theirs alone. This isn't really political, it is just how I, personally, feel and how the decisions of others have affected how I relate to the place. So many blame Chapek for not being diplomatic enough, but when it comes to the rights of all people to be defended, just saying it, is the only way to have done it. Don't get me wrong, I think he was an idiot, but even a broken clock is right twice a day. He was right to strongly defend the thousands of Cast members of the Disney Company and is the foundation of our constitution the all of us have the right to be critical of the Government and not be punished for it. That really is the only reason for the 1st amendment and actually applies actually only when directed at the Government.