Central Florida tourism board promises alternative to Disney perks for workers

Board doing away with park passes for employees, retirees

The Reedy Creek Fire Department on Disney property.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – The Gov. DeSantis-appointed board overseeing Walt Disney World’s property says it is working to find an alternative to benefits for workers and retirees that includes Disney passes and discounts.

“Your board has missed a key point — the previous district was committed to supporting staff and retirees,” said retired employee Jeff Holland Wednesday to the board of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District.

Last month the agency said it would do away with the season passes and discounts on hotel, merchandise and food for the district’s employees, calling the perks unethical, saying they benefited The Walt Disney Company.

[RELATED: DeSantis Versus Disney: Why Florida is in a feud with one of its biggest employers]

Holland worked for the district formerly known as the Reedy Creek Improvement District, for 35 years. He said he was shocked to learn the board was replacing the passes with stipends worth $1,425. Last year the district paid $2.5 million to make those passes available.

“Does this board intend to continue equivalent benefits and perks including park pass stipends for all park-qualified district retirees such as myself as the previous district has done for 50 years?” Holland said.

Board Chairman Martin Garcia said they are not trying to make employees suffer.

“Because there was a bad practice and a bad policy in our opinion of that policy we’re gonna discontinue it but we don’t want that to punish any employees,” Garcia said.

Garcia said if the stipends are not enough they’ll bump it up, and if it’s too much they’ll bump the value down. However, at this point, passes for employees and retirees are a thing of the past.

The board last month asked the state to probe the perks for ethical violations.

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About the Authors:

Christie joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021.

Treasure joined News 6 at the start of 2021, coming to the Sunshine State from Michigan.