The board appointed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to run Disney World’s governmental district is eliminating what it calls “unethical” theme park benefits offered to the district’s employees — and replacing them with tax-funded stipends.
The Orlando Sentinel reports that the Central Florida Tourism Oversight Board, made up of DeSantis donors and allies, is asking Florida’s inspector general to investigate theme park-related perks that it says were handed to district employees. The district claimed in a press release that its Disney-controlled predecessor, the Reedy Creek Improvement District, handed out a total of $2.5 million in benefits such as Disney World annual passes in 2022 to the district’s former board and employees.
“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,” CFTOB said in a statement.
The proposed replacement for these tax-funded benefits would be a $1,000 annual stipend that employees could use as they see fit. According to the Sentinel, Disney and its affiliates make up about 86 percent of the property tax revenue which funds the district.
Six Flags Over Georgia opening Ultra Surf coaster in 2024
A new water coaster is coming to Six Flags Over Georgia in 2024.
Built by Intamin, the firm behind Universal Orlando’s VelociCoaster, the new ride will be the first installation of the company’s Ultra Surf model. Riders will be launched multiple times forward and backwards up two spikes, hitting a top speed of 60 miles per hour before ending with a splashdown.
The ride will also include “free-spinning seats,” according to the Austell, Georgia theme park, with the vehicles looking similar to those used on Intamin’s Surfrider models. Here’s a rendering of the coaster model in action that was released by Intamin in 2021:
The as-of-yet unnamed ride will be located in Six Flags Over Georgia’s Screampunk section. The park is still supposed to debut another new coaster, Kid Flash Cosmic Coaster, this year.
The addition of another off-the-shelf ride model aligns with Theme Park Tribune’s previous reporting that Six Flags was looking for new rides that could be installed quickly. The shift in strategy came after the theme park chain reported steep drops in attendance and revenue in 2022.
Knott’s Berry Farm quietly closes two Camp Snoopy rides
“We are excited about plans in the works for Camp Snoopy,” the park said, adding that the kiddie drop tower, Woodstock’s Airmail, is temporarily closed but will be relocated.
KTLA reported that Knott’s will make a more detailed announcement about future Camp Snoopy enhancements on Oct. 24.
The closure of Timberline Twister leaves Knott’s with just seven operating roller coasters. Xcelerator has been closed since March 2022 due to maintenance issues, while the revamp of Montezooma’s Revenge missed its scheduled debut in May and remains delayed.