Reedy Creek Firefighters Call CFTOD Removing Walt Disney World Annual Pass Benefits a ‘Low Blow’

Shannen Ace

Reedy Creek Fire Department station

Reedy Creek Firefighters Call CFTOD Removing Walt Disney World Annual Pass Benefits a ‘Low Blow’

During Wednesday’s Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD) Board of Supervisors meeting, Reedy Creek firefighters spoke out against the District’s decision to cancel the Walt Disney World Annual Pass program and other benefits for District employees.

Reedy Creek Fire Department station

After receiving a bill from Walt Disney World, the District released a press release calling the benefits a “scheme” and “handouts,” vowing to remove them. Later that day, a leaked email from District Administrator Glen Gilzean Jr. revealed the District had already ended the benefits with no warning and would be replaced with a one-time annual stipend of $1,000.

The benefits included a complimentary Walt Disney World Annual Pass as well as Walt Disney World discounts.

During the Wednesday morning meeting, speakers called the removal of the Walt Disney World benefits a “low blow” to the District’s public servants and said, “When the district changed hands last year, we were told that our jobs and our benefits were safe.” The Reedy Creek Fire Department, at least initially, were outspoken supporters of Governor DeSantis taking over the former Reedy Creek Improvement District via the CFTOD Board.

reedy creek fire department

Lieutenant paramedic Pete Simon said the removal of benefits was “the first brick in the dismantling of the District.”

Firefighter Aaron Clark spoke about the memories of going to Walt Disney World theme parks with his father, fueling his dream of becoming a District firefighter and make memories with his own children someday. Clark’s father, Ricky, also asked the Board and Gilzean to reconsider their decision to cancel the benefits.

Martin Garcia, Chairman of the Board, said the cancelation came down to three points: the policy only benefited Walt Disney World, it was inequitable to employees because larger families got more benefits, and the policy may endorse something “illegal,” that is a private company giving gifts to public employees.

Garcia also announced that they would increase pay by $1,425 and continue to evaluate the increase.

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Author

  • Shannen Michaelsen

    Shannen has been a Disney Parks fan and lover of dogs since childhood, despite Pluto's attempt to eat Shannen's Minnie Mouse doll the first time they met. They've made up now. You can email Shannen at shannen@wdwnt.com.