DeSantis’ Team Officially Ends Disney World Annual Pass Program

in Walt Disney World

In some truly shocking breaking news, the DeSantis-appointed Florida board will be terminating Annual Pass benefits.

Liberty Square Riverboat in the Magic Kingdom
Credit: Walt Disney World Resort

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It’s a common practice for theme parks to offer their employees and staff free passes and discounts on the parks. This not only encourages a positive attitude and atmosphere but also ensures employees feel as though they are appreciated, even if this is the least places like Universal, SeaWorld, and Disney could do.

Walt Disney World and Disneyland Cast Members were offered several benefits over the years, often getting free tickets as well as extra bonuses. Unfortunately, this is coming to an end, at least at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Disney Cast Members welcome Guests as they enter through Magic Kingdom for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party
Credit: Walt Disney World

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In a new email sent to the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD), administrator Glen Gilzean states that he is ending the Walt Disney World Annual Pass program benefit. This announcement comes just after the Ron DeSantis-appointed CFTOD board received a multi-million dollar bill from The Walt Disney Company over theme park tickets and discounts given to employees of the new district.

This also comes just days after calls grew for Gilzean to resign from his positions, with lawyers citing violation of Florida state law as the reason for his resignation.

In the new email, Gilzean says, “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.” This new approach is a stipend program that would give district employees approximately $1000 per year to spend. In the email, it was reported that only 50% of employees used the Annual Pass benefit.

The cost of a Walt Disney World Annual Pass ranges from $400 to $1400, meaning the board cut around $400 for each employee’s benefit. Annual Passes are a popular ticketing option for millions of guests visiting the Walt Disney World Resort. These passes can be used to visit Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollyowod Studios. Certain tiers of Annual Passes are also good for both of Disney World’s water parks, Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach.

Reedy Creek Fire Dept. truck in front EPCOT's Spaceship Earth at Disney World
Credit: Reedy Creek Fire Department

This change is a direct result of the ongoing feud between the state of Florida and The Walt Disney Company. This started back in 2022 when CEO Bob Chapek called out and denounced Florid’as highly controversial Parental Rights in Education Act.

Since then, Disney lost its Reedy Creek Improvement District, along with significant power in the Sunshine State. For more information regarding the fight between Florida and Disney, click here.

Check back here at Inside the Magic for all Walt Disney World updates.

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