It is no secret that visiting “The Most Magical Place on Earth” is expensive. A Disney World vacation has always been at least a bit of a splurge for most Guests, but the ability to make such a trip possible has been lessened for many over time, and especially within the past couple of years as a result of the Resort’s intense pricing strategies.
Guests have especially felt the pressure when it comes to paying for a Disney vacation since the Resort reopened in 2020. Beginning at this time, several amenities for Resort Guests were scaled back, and within the next year Disney introduced Genie+ and Lightning Lanes as a paid alternative to FastPass.
Of course, many of the increased pricing strategies rolled out during former CEO Bob Chapek’s time in the company’s top leadership position. And while we have not seen prices change necessarily since boomerang CEO Bob Iger’s return, he does have some thoughts on the current state of Disney Parks’ pricing strategy.
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Bob Iger spoke during today’s Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference, on March 9, 2023, where he shared some of his thoughts on Disney movies and streaming, and business strategies related to Disney Parks and Resorts.
On the subject of Disney Parks, Iger stressed that the theme parks should remain an accessible experience. While speaking to the Parks’ pricing, the CEO also noted that reducing crowds would remain a top priority, but it should not take away from Guests’ ability to find a visit to the Parks accessible.
Theme park reporter Scott Gustin reported from the event, noting that Iger even admitted that the company had been “too aggressive” in its pricing strategies:
Iger says Disney must remain a brand that is accessible, saying they must be smarter about how they price their parks experiences. He acknowledged the company was likely too aggressive with its pricing strategy.
— Scott Gustin (@ScottGustin) March 9, 2023
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Bob Iger did not get into specifics during the conference, but many Disney fans would agree that recent pricing strategies have been too aggressive. Genie+ in particular was met with sharp criticism when it debuted, and it continues to be a topic to debate, especially as Guests weigh whether or not to purchase Lightning Lane access to new attractions when the virtual queues fill up.
(On the subject of virtual queues, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind still operates on a virtual queue system in EPCOT, and TRON Lightcycle / Run will operate similarly when it opens next month in the Magic Kingdom. If the virtual queue is full, the only other way a Guest can ride is to purchase an Individual Lightning Lane.)
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Disney may not be lowering prices, but it is worth noting that at least one change has been made to increase the value of a Disney vacation. In 2018, Disney World followed suit with much of the hospitality industry and began charging Guests for overnight parking at its Resort. Pricing varied based on the level of Resort Guests were staying at (value, moderate, or deluxe), but overall many Disney fans were unhappy to see an added value removed from their vacations.
This year, Disney actually rolled back on the increased pricing here and reintroduced complimentary overnight parking for Guests staying overnight at Resorts. Until Disney makes an official announcement, we cannot confirm whether we will see more changes like this in the future, but when taken in the context of Iger’s recent comments, more changes could be a possibility.