Friday, February 22, 2013

February 22

With a side of denim:

George Kalogridis, Gay Disney World President

George Kalogridis became Walt Disney World’s first gay president on Friday, February 1.  George, age 59, started out bussing tables at Disney World (Florida) in 1971, the year the theme park opened more than 41 years ago. He is now in charge of the entire operation – a 40-square-mile spread of four theme parks, two water parks, 24,000 hotel rooms, 3,000 time-share suites, a 120-acre retail complex and a 230-acre sports campus. Disney World generates more than $6 billion in annual revenue and employs nearly 67,000 people.

Prior to Friday’s appointment George most recently served as president of Disneyland Resort (California). He has also been CEO of Disney Resort Paris.

Kalogridis was born in Winter Haven, FL, just a few miles from Lake Buena Vista, the site of Disney World. A sociology graduate from the University of Central Florida, George works for the same company as his partner of 12 years, Andy Hardy, who is a finance manager with Walt Disney Parks & Resorts global entertainment. Friends report that Kalogridis “lives and breathes Disney.” The couple plans to build a home in Golden Oak, a Disney World luxury housing project located on a corner of the resort’s vast property.

In 2011, Kalogridis filmed an "It Gets Better" video segment in which he addressed "anyone who has ever been bullied, teased, or harassed for being different.” This moving video message is delivered by Disney employees.

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