Desantis’ Disney Chief Breaks Florida Law, Must Resign Immediately

in Walt Disney World

Ron DeSantis on the left and girl in mask due to COVID-19 at Disney World

Credit: Inside the Magic

One of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ allies must resign, according to a new report.

Guests look on inside the Magic Kingdom besides the Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse statue, Partners, at Walt Disney World Resort
Credit: Walt Disney World Resort

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Glen Gilzean must resign from one of his positions, either as Florida’s ethics commission chairman or as the administrator of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District.

As reported by the Orlando Sentinel, Florida State law does not allow public employees to serve on the panel, according to a new analysis from Steven Zuilkowski, the ethics commission’s general counsel.

This is the latest update in the ongoing battle between Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and The Walt Disney Company, a  battle that dates all the way back to early 2022. Gilzean was hired back in May of 2023 to lead the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District shortly after the state takeover of Disney’s former Reedy Creek Improvement District.

“[I]t appears that your position as district administrator for the district is public employment,” Zuilkowski concluded. Gilzean and DeSantis’ relationship dates all the way back to 2019 when DeSantis first appointed Gilzean to the ethics commission. Gilzean has not issued a statement regarding this order to resign.

Gilzean reportedly earns $400,000 as the administrator of the district.

Glen Gilzean Becomes New Administrator for Disney’s Governing District, Will Earn as Much as a US President
Credit: Inside the Magic

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Desantis Vs. Disney

As we stated earlier, the struggle between the state of Florida and Disney dates back to early 2022, when The Walt Disney Company publicly criticized DeSantis over his highly-controversial Parental Rights in Education Act, or as it was more commonly referred to as, the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Disney, which was led by CEO Bob Chapek at the time, called out the state of Florida for this new legislation, and Gov. Ron DeSantis has made it his number one priority to punish the company ever since.

For decades, Disney owned and operated as its own form of government in Florida under its Reedy Creek Improvement District. This was stripped away by DeSantis, with a new board being created to rule over the new district, which was eventually called the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District.

Since then, Gov. DeSantis has not taken it easy on Disney, criticizing the decisions of CEO Bob Iger and the rest of the company as well as threatening to raise taxes and prices at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

DeSantis also threatened to crack down on ride inspections as well as regulate Disney World’s Monorail service. The Florida Gov. even teased building a new state prison directly next to the Walt Disney World Resort property.

ron desantis disney
Credit: Wikimedia

Disney did not back down quickly, though, filing a lawsuit against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and his new CFTOD board. Despite multiple efforts to get the lawsuit strict down, DeSantis still faces litigation from Disney, one of the largest corporations in the entire world.

DeSantis recently claimed he had “moved on” from this lawsuit and that Disney would lose, but time will tell who truly prevails in this ongoing battle.

This is a developing story. Stay tuned here at Inside the Magic for all future details and updates. 

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