top of page
  • Writer's pictureGotta Go Orlando

Central Florida Tourism Oversight District wants to end Employee Benefits including Disney Passes!

In a shock move that will upset district employees, the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District is vowing to end employee benefits, including free entry to the Walt Disney World theme parks


Central Florida Tourism Oversight District wants to end Employee Benefits including Disney Passes

The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District has made its intentions public to eliminate employee benefits for district employees, including complimentary Walt Disney World passes and discounts.


The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District have submitted a referral to the Florida Inspector General hoping to eliminate the employee benefits that district employees receive, these employees include Reddy Creek Fire Department firefighters.


Employee benefits for the majority of theme parks worldwide include free entry, discounts and more, this includes Orlando's theme parks, Walt Disney World, SeaWorld Orlando, and Universal Orlando, and although Central Florida Tourism Oversight District employees are not strictly Walt Disney World employees, they work at the rest, and have always received the benefits.


The shock move follows Disney billing the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District for Walt Disney World passes and discounts. The amount per annum according ro CFTOD amounts to $2.5 million annually.


In a press release from the CFTOD, they refer to the employee benefits as handouts and a scheme by Disney to get more money.


They go on to claim that's it raises significant questions regarding self-dealing as the board members were only permitted a maximum of $100 per month in compensation per the Reedy Creek Improvement District Act.


Read the full press release:


Today, the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District has submitted a referral to the Florida Inspector General regarding millions of dollars’ worth of perks and benefits that the former Disney-controlled Reedy Creek Improvement District funneled back to Disney.


For decades, the former Disney-run RCID used taxpayer funds to provide season passes and amusement experiences to its employees and their family members, cover the cost of discounts on hotels, merchandise, food, and beverages, and give its own board members VIP Main Entrance passes. In 2022 alone, it cost taxpayers over $2.5 million.


In addition to constituting unethical benefits and perks, the scheme raises significant questions regarding self-dealing as the board members were only permitted a maximum of $100 per month in compensation per the Reedy Creek Improvement District Act.


The latest bill sent to CFTOD from Disney features a charge of $492,382.96 for “Q1 FY22 Tickets.” The scheme included the RCID government paying for “discounts” enjoyed by employees on all Disney purchases. Line items include government-paid handouts for “Merchandise Discount Usage” ($16,837.39), “Food & Beverage Discount Usage” ($4,969.52), and “Water Parks Discount Usage” ($3,764.48). It also includes employee handouts for hotel usage at the Disney Yacht Club Resort, Disney Caribbean Beach Resort, and Disney Coronado Springs Resort. The bill can be viewed here.


Immediately upon discovering the scheme, the CFTOD set in motion plans to eliminate it. All CFTOD employees who require access to Disney premises to perform their official duties will still be able to access them.


Central Florida Tourism Oversight District wants to end Employee Benefits including Disney Passes

What is the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District?


In May, 1967, the governor agreed to Disneys demands that the Reedy Creek Improvement District should be created. Reedy Creek covers over 10,000 hectares of land surrounding Walt Disney World.


The Reedy Creek Improvement District was a special district created by state law that allowed Disney governmental control over the land in and around the parks.


For more than half a century the district has enabled Disney to function like a county government, providing services such as firefighting, power, water and roads within Orange and Osceola counties. In turn Disney can issue bonds with tax advantages to pay for improvements.


Then in 2021, Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis signed in a Florida law that banned transgender girls and women from participating in middle, high school and college women's competitions. Then in 2022, he kicked it up a notch with his support of the Florida Parental Rights in Education Act – commonly known as the "Don't Say Gay" law.


The law came into practice in March 2022 and prohibited discussions of sexual orientation or gender identity in school classes from kindergarten to year three.


It was widely criticised outside of Florida for being biased towards the LGBTQIA+ community with the White House officially calling it, "hateful legislation targeting vulnerable students". Since then it has been extended to include grades four to 12.


A day after the bill passed, then-Disney CEO Bob Chapek condemned the legislation in a leaked memo to Disney leadership. Mr Chapek then went public with Disney's opposition to the bill and apologised for not speaking out sooner.


Mr DeSantis wasn't very happy with Disney for speaking up against him and he immediately retaliated by targeting Reedy Creek as a way to punish the House of Mouse.


In April 2022, Mr DeSantis signed a bill that stripped Disney of its 55-year-old self-governing status. But rather than dissolving Reedy Creek, Mr DeSantis instead seized it on behalf of Florida and appointed a board to control the district.


Mr DeSantis appointed five self picked board members to the new Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, saying that the group would not only supervise municipal services but act as a moral arbiter for a company that has "lost it's way".


The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District officially gained control on February 27, 2023.


DeSantis Disney Feud

For the very latest news and information from Orlando and Central Florida, check back often here at Gotta Go Orlando as we keep you informed throughout the day, every day.


You can also keep up to date on our socials, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.


Plus, subscribe to the Gotta Go Orlando YouTube Channel, your free guide to Orlando.



Please Note:

Gotta Go Orlando is your free guide to all the amazing happenings in Orlando. Every day we offer the most up to date news and information on the best of Orlando and Central Florida.


We are supported by our advertisers via digital ads, sponsored content, and affiliate links, articles may be paid for, or contain affiliate links where we could earn money if you purchase products or services via a link our site.

Comments


Emma Walton News Producer

Emma Walton

  • Instagram

News Producer

Shane Walton News Producer

Shane Walton

  • Instagram

News Producer

Aly Mac News Editor

Alastair Mac

  • Instagram

News Editor

bottom of page