DeSantis’ Disney Team Scrambles After Discovering It Owes $2 Million

in Disney Parks, Walt Disney World

A glum-looking Ron DeSantis in front of Mickey Mouse moving suitcases at Disney World

Credit: Fox News/Inside the Magic

Ron DeSantis‘ Disney chief informed employees that they owe a large sum of money in back taxes.

Ron DeSantis giving a speech in front of the Florida flag
Credit: Ron DeSantis via Instagram

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The Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID) was a special ruling that allowed the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, to operate as its own form of miniature government. The district that housed the Walt Disney World Resort essentially became its own city. The RCID was implemented in 1967 and proved to be incredibly beneficial for both Disney and the state of Florida.

As we all know, Disney would eventually lose control of the RCID in early 2023 after a massive campaign and months of threats from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Once Florida took control of the RCID, the changes came quickly. The district was given new board members, who were appointed by Ron DeSantis himself. The district was also given a new name, now being called the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD).

The transition of power and control has been anything but smooth, with the CFTOD losing a large portion of its workforce. According to multiple ex-employees, morale has dipped significantly since DeSantis’ takeover, with a new report causing even more trouble for the already-struggling district.

Glen Gilzean Jr.
Credit: National Urban League

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According to a new report from Orlando SentinelThe chief of the CFTOD has informed employees that they owe $2 million in back taxes. Glen Gilzean serves as chief of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, which nets him a salary of $400,000. Gilzean himself has been skating around controversy since he took over, with his position in the new district actually breaking Florida state law. This issue was eventually taken care of, with Gilzean stepping down from another role in order to fully dedicate his time and focus on DeSantis’ new district.

These new back taxes issues stem from Annual Passes given to district members for years prior to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ takeover.

“It has come to the attention of the district administration that the previous leadership chose not to inform staff about their IRS obligations to pay legally owed taxes on season pass benefits,” Gilzean stated. “This has resulted in our employees owing over $2 million in income back taxes. It was a top priority of our leadership team to ensure that our employees are not penalized for previous failures,” he said.

Ron DeSantis with Mickey Mouse in a silver suit
Credit: NBC, edited by ITM

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District employees stated to leadership that they were unaware of any tax liability. District spokesman Matthew Oberly stated the following in a new email:

“CFTOD team members have communicated they appreciate the administration’s willingness to absorb a significant financial burden that accumulated over the past several years.”

The CFTOD team is comprised of roughly 400 employees.

What are your thoughts on how Gov. Ron DeSantis handled the Disney World situation?

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