DeSantis Appointee Calls Out “Lies,” Claims Disney District Is Doing Fine

in Disney Parks, Walt Disney World

Ron DeSantis speaking passionately, edited in front of Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World.

Credit: Inside the Magic

Following a report claiming that workers were unhappy under new leadership directly appointed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, an administrator is directly calling out these claims.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis smiling while looking at the Cinderella Castle inside the Magic Kingdom at Disney World.
Credit: Inside The Magic

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In 2022, The Walt Disney Company publicly criticized Florida’s controversial new piece of legislation, one that would become known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. This bill was spearheaded by Gov. Ron DeSantis and supported by a wide range of other conservative political figures. Under the leadership of former CEO Bob Chapek, Disney spoke out against the bill, which put a target on the company’s back. Shortly after Disney made its statements, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis threatened Disney with a multitude of punishments, one of which was stripping away Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID).

The RCID was a special district created decades ago that allowed the Walt Disney World Resort to act as its own form of government. Disney enjoy special privileges because of this, but soon after Disney spoke out against the Florida bill, it lost all control of this district. Gov. DeSantis appointed a new board, with RCID being renamed to The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD).

Things aren’t smooth sailing for Gov. DeSantis, however, with The Walt Disney Company filing a lawsuit against him and the state of Florida.

reedy creek improvement district sign
Credit: WikiMedia

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The ramifications of this transfer of power and the following lawsuits have shaken the state of Florida considerably, with reports indicating morale has dropped significantly since Gov. DeSantis’ new board took over the new CFTOD. Dozens of employees reportedly quit over the new leadership of the CFTOD, leaving major gaps within the new district. In total, there are about 370 employees working at the CFTOD,  raising concerns that decades of institutional knowledge are departing with them, along with a reputation for a well-run government.

CFTOD lost around 40 employees.

Ron DeSantis Ally to Become New Administrator for Disney’s Governing District
Credit: Inside The Magic

However, Central Florida Tourism Oversight District Administrator Glen Gilzean (pictured above) claimed that the reports of low morale are completely false. The original reports claimed that the workplace environment was “toxic” and leadership was “incompetent,” but Gilzean is taking issues with these claims, essentially rendering them “lies.”

During a CFTOD meeting Wednesday morning, Gilzean stated that “morale in the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District has also increased as my open door policy continues to be used by staff members who have met with me directly.” Gilzean also stated that his presence has “increased morale within the District.”

It’s important to note that Gilzean makes around $400,000 a year as administrator of CFTOD.

Space Mountain at sunset at Magic Kingdom
Credit: Disney

CFTOD lost a longtime employee just this morning, with a paramedic of over 20 years leaving the district. Since Gov DeSantis’ takeover, he’s continued to threaten The Walt Disney Company, specifically within the Walt Disney World Resort. These threats included raising taxes for guests staying on the property as well as other, more significant changes, such as increased downtime for the Monorail.

DeSantis even teased building a new prison right next to the Walt Disney World Resort. While most of the changes made to Wat Disney World are minor and unnoticed by general guests, the potential for a vacation at “The Most Magical Place on Earth” to change significantly in the coming years is exponential.

What are your thoughts on Gov DeSantis’ new Central Florida Tourism Oversight District?

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