- Disney CEO Bob Iger admitted on Thursday that the company was “too aggressive” in its price hikes for theme parks.
- Price hikes at Disney World and Disneyland even outpaced inflation During the last decadeby WSJ.
- The price hikes angered fans. Even Iger complained to friends that they were getting too expensive.
Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger has admitted the entertainment giant may have pushed too hard in raising theme park prices for profit.
“In our zeal to increase profits, we may have been a bit too aggressive on some of our pricing,” Iger said, according to a recording of a Morgan Stanley conference in San Francisco on Thursday. “I think there’s a way to continue to grow this business, but be smarter about how we’re evaluating to maintain that brand value of accessibility.”
In JanuaryIger canceled some policies that came into effect under his predecessor, Bob Chapek. Iger returned as CEO of Disney in November 2022 — less than three years after leaving the position in February 2020.
While Disney theme park prices have risen over the years, some fans say it becomes more and more unaffordable. Prices for hotels, tickets and food outpaced inflation at three popular Walt Disney World hotels over the past decade, the the wall street journal reported in July 2022, citing analysis done for the outlet by travel company Touring Plans.
The Journal cites the example of Pop Century – a hotel in the Orlando resort – where the price of the cheapest room rose to $168 in 2022 from $95 in 2013. Disney World also increased the price of its annual pass to $1,399 from $1,299 in December 2022, when the last round of price increases took place.
Even Iger complained to friends that theme park prices were too high, the Wall Street Journal reported in November 2022quoting people close to him.
THE price increases were in addition to stricter policies for ticket holders, which angered fans. For example, in 2021, Disney began requiring annual passholders to reserve a place in the parks in advance before their visit, instead of allowing them to enter whenever they wish.
On his return, Iger also relaxed the reservation policy, allowing Florida annual pass holders to visit certain parks after 2 p.m. on any weekday without a reservation. He also has restored free parking for self-service overnight parking and free photo downloads at its resort in Anaheim, California.
But Disney hasn’t completely reversed the ticket price increases. Instead, it made them more accessible and flexible — for example, by increase the number of days that Disneyland could sell cheaper tickets at $104.
“None of these changes are on demand,” said Josh D’Amaro, president of Disney’s Parks, Experiences and Products Division. New York Times in January when the revisions were announced. Demand at Disney Theme Parks remained resilient even amid price increases and recession fears, with revenue up 21% in the first quarter of fiscal 2023 which ends September 30, the company reported on February 8.
Iger said Thursday that Disney’s moves after taking over from Chapek “resonated extremely well with consumers.”
“We will not only continue to listen to consumers, but we will continue to adjust,” Chapek added.
Shares of Walt Disney closed down 3.2% at $96.14 apiece on Thursday. They are up more than 10% since the start of the year.