Dozens of Employees Quit over DeSantis’ “Incompetent” Disney Takeover

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Ron DeSantis holds his hand over his head in front of Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World.

Credit: Inside the Magic

Following Ron DeSantis’ takeover of the Walt Disney World Resort, many state employees are opting to leave entirely.

Ron DeSantis surrounded by Disney characters
Credit: Inside the Magic

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There’s no denying that The Walt Disney Company has faced its fair share of backlash and controversy over the last year. From troubled film releases to problems within the Disney theme parks division, there have been numerous issues for The Walt Disney Company to manage, address, and make right.

However, the last year has been especially troublesome in terms of Disney’s relationship with the state of Florida, two parties that have greatly benefited from each other’s presence for nearly a hundred years. In 2023, Disney lost control of one of the most important aspects of its business, forever changing the company.

Credit: D23

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The state takeover of Disney’s former Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID) occurred earlier in 2023 following several long months of nonstop threats from outspoken Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who made it his primary objective to make Disney pay for speaking out against one of his recent pieces of legislation. This piece of legislation is known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill and became a catalyst for incredible political battles. Initially, The Walt Disney Company stayed quiet under the leadership of then-CEO Bob Chapek. Eventually, Disney issued a statement, and the rest is history.

Along with threats to The Walt Disney Comaony’s theme park operations, Gov. DeSantis also threatened to strip Walt Disney World of its self-governing status it enjoyed for decades under the RCID. Gov. DeSantis was eventually successful, with Florida talking over the district and DeSantis appointing a new board. The RCID was renamed to the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District and has since been “calling the shots” when it comes to decisions on Walt Disney World’s land.

a grey photo of the front sign of Reedy Creek inside Walt Disney World.
Credit: Inside The Magic

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For a little while, it looked like Gov. DeSantis had everything under control. However, things quickly changed, and now, the CFTOD is in a dire state.

According to a new report from reporter Jason Garcia, morale within the new district is down, and the new leadership doesn’t care. In one exit survey, a former employee of the district stated, “…the morale and overall feeling of the District has taken a turn. Not a good one.” Dozens of employees have resigned, with some employees leaving very high ranks. Since the takeover, the District has lost more than 350 years of experience, leaving a large gap.

Employees have quit, been forced out, or opted not to transfer over to the new district as a direct result of the new board, which is made up of DeSantis donors.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis with the Magic Kingdom Disney World Park in the background.
Credit: Inside The Magic

The feelings of employees who have chosen to leave indicate current leadership is not working. The new board and its administrators have been called “unqualified and incompetent,” and the general sentiment of the new district is that “honesty and integrity are core values that no longer exist.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis, as well as the state of Florida, was sued by The Walt Disney Company as a result of the state takeover of RCID. These lawsuits will undoubtedly drag on for some time, so only time will tell how these play out.

What do you think about Gov. Ron DeSantis’ takeover of The Walt Disney World Resort?

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