Florida’s Walt Disney World Appoints First Gay President

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George Kalogridis

One of Walt Disney World’s first employees now has 66,000 cast members calling him “boss.”

In August 1971, George Kalogridis scored a job bussing tables at The Walt Disney Company’s new theme park, set to open that October.
Now, as of Feb. 1, Kalogridis is Walt Disney World’s fifth president, taking over for Meg Crofton, who will fully assume her role as president of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Operations, U.S. and France.

According to his official Walt Disney World bio, Kalogridis, 59, has been with the company for 41 years. He comes to his new role in Lake Buena Vista from Disneyland Resort, where he has served as president since 2009. Kalogridis’ job titles also include CEO for Disney Resort Paris, vice president of Travel Operations at Walt Disney World in Orlando, and vice president of Epcot.

Kalogridis is a sociology graduate from UCF and was born in Winter Haven. According to the Orlando Sentinel, he and his partner, Andy Hardy, have been together for 12 years. The couple plans to build a home in Golden Oak, a subdivision being developed by Disney World on the northeast corner of the resort’s property. Hardy is a finance manager with Walt Disney Parks & Resorts global entertainment, according to the Orange County (CA) Business Journal.

Kalogridis’ resume includes the expansion of Disneyland’s California Adventure, a renovation of the Disneyland Hotel and the debut of the “World of Color” Disneyland nighttime show. No word yet on any changes Kalogridis plans to bring to Disney World, which just debuted a $425 million Fantasyland renovation and expansion that doubled that park section’s size.

According to his bio, he was active in the community in California, serving on CHOC Children’s Hospital Board of Directors, the Board of Directors of Children’s HealthCare of California, the Out and Equal Board of Directors and in several other high-profile volunteer roles.

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