BREAKING: DeSantis’ Tourism Oversight Board Canceled Walt Disney World Pass Benefit for Employees, Offering New $1000 Stipend Despite Calling Benefit Program ‘Scheme to Funnel Taxpayer Dollars’

Katie Francis

Updated on:

BREAKING: DeSantis’ Tourism Oversight Board Canceled Walt Disney World Pass Benefit for Employees, Offering New $1000 Stipend Despite Calling Benefit Program ‘Scheme to Funnel Taxpayer Dollars’

In a leaked email from an anonymous source, it was revealed that the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District has already ended the Walt Disney World Annual Pass program for their employees with no prior notice.

CFTOD Board Ends Walt Disney World Annual Pass Benefit With No Notice

Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort

Our source detailed that this change affects retired firefighters and their families as well as current staff.

Due to what CFTOD claims is a “low usage” percentage of the Walt Disney World Annual Pass benefit, a new annual stipend has been proposed instead. If approved, district employees will instead receive a one-time annual stipend of $1,000 starting October 1, 2023. This stipend can be used on whatever the employees wish, and not just on Annual Passes to Walt Disney World.

Glen Gilzean, Central Florida Tourism Oversight District Administrator

Read the full email from District Administrator Glen Gilzean, sent to CTFOD employees, below:

“Congratulations to John Welfel, Fleet Services Manager. John is retiring after 22 years of service with the district. Thank you, John, for your commitment to our community.  

We had great turnout at this month’s Coffee and Conversations. I like to say that my favorite part of my job is getting to know each and every one of you and hear your stories about how you make our district special. Thank you to everyone who showed up. I hope that if we have not met yet, we get the opportunity at the next Coffee and Conversations. A special thank you to Fleet Maintenance for hosting a lively discussion. This was my second Coffee and Conversations event I’ve held since assuming this role. For those who couldn’t make it, here’s a rundown of some questions we discussed:

I work in the Fire Department and require access to the theme parks. I recently tried to use my badge and it didn’t work. Has access been revoked for District emergency personnel? 

Staff that require access to the parks will continue to have appropriate access to complete their normal job duties. If for some reason you are having difficulties, please contact Tanya Naylor at or 407-506-8669 to verify your permissions. Director Naylor will ensure your ID is working.

How can District leadership increase communication with employees? 

Communicating with our team members is one of my top priorities, but here are three ways we are focusing on right now:

The first is through regular events, such as Coffee and Conversations. Employees are encouraged to bring their questions to these monthly sessions. It is a joy for me to meet you all face to face and I always look forward to this event.

The second is through our open door policy. Every district employee has the ability to access the 4th floor of the Administration Building from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. I welcome each of you. Please come say hi and share what’s on your mind. If I’m not available when you stop in, please connect with Rocky Haag, my Executive Assistant, at his desk, via email at, or over the phone at 407-934-7480, to make an appointment so we can make the time to talk. 

The third is for me to come to you. I’ve heard time and time again, people want to see the District Administrator. That means you’ll see more of me around the district in the coming days. I want to see firsthand how you accomplish the great things you do. Experiencing this myself will help me work with our leadership to get the resources you need. Stay tuned for more information on that soon.

Are Annual Passes Being Eliminated from Employee Benefits? 

The District is ending the Annual Pass perks program. However, as District Administrator, I have sought out alternatives for current employees to maximize and retain their benefits in ways that are constructive. In the proposed FY 2024 budget, I have incorporated funding for a new stipend program that allows for individualized flexibility rather than underserving employees with a one-size-fits-all approach. The budget is subject to the Board of Supervisors’ approval.

Based on an internal analysis, over the last five years, approximately 50% of employees never utilized this benefit at all. Given the low usage, a stipend is more beneficial to our team members.

Under the proposed program, employees are not obligated to buy Annual Passes with their stipends. These stipends can be used for whatever purposes team members see fit from theme park passes, to car repairs, to savings.

If the board approves, at the start of the new fiscal year, October 1, 2023, district employees will receive a one-time annual stipend at a net rate of approximately $1,000.

A formal letter will be sent to current Annual Passholders by the end of the week offering additional details related to these changes.

Are my other CFTOD employee benefits changing?  

At this time, it is not expected that any other benefits will change, including employee contributions for medical insurance or any other ancillary benefits. It is also not expected that any other benefits will be modified or eliminated during the upcoming fiscal year. 

What is the status of finding a new Fire Chief for the District?

As we quickly approach Chief Richard LePere’s retirement, we are evaluating national firms to help us establish our search for his replacement. We are undertaking that process now and hope to make additional announcements in the near future. 

We wish Chief LePere a well-deserved congratulations on his retirement! Chief LePere has honorably served the District for over 24 years. With heartfelt gratitude, we wish him all the best during his next chapter of life.

How will the district show appreciation for district employees?

The District is a unique place that is made excellent because of the passion and talent of you, its employees. That’s why I’m working with our team to find alternative ways to show appreciation for each of you. With that in mind, I’m open to suggestions as well and want to hear from you. Please send me your thoughts via email so we can continue the conversation. 


I know there were other questions that we covered during our event last week. I, along with the team, will provide future updates. Thanks again for taking the time to have an open, honest dialogue with me and your peers. I’m looking forward to continuing the conversation in the days ahead.  

Glenton Gilzean, Jr.

District Administrator

Central Florida Tourism Oversight District

1900 Hotel Plaza Blvd.

Office: (407) 934-7480″

Earlier today, we reported that the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District had issued a press release stating that they had submitted a referral to the Florida Inspector General in the hopes of eliminating the Walt Disney World Annual Pass benefit for district employees.

In the release, the board repeatedly referred to these benefits as “handouts” and a “scheme” by Disney in order to get more money. The board received a bill for $492,382.96 from Disney for “Q1 FY22 Tickets,” which prompted this sudden move. However, with this new email leak, it appears that the move has already been made.

Most theme parks, both in and outside of Florida, provide their employees with free entry to the parks and discounts. Employees of the former Reedy Creek Improvement District, though not Walt Disney World Cast Members, received similar benefits for themselves and their families.

What do you think about the new details revealed? Does the ending of Annual Pass benefits to Walt Disney World for district employees affect you or your family? Let us know in the comments.

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