Bob Iger Finally Admits What Many Fans Have Been Saying For Months: Disney’s Theme Park Hikes Were ‘Too Aggressive’

A vacation at Walt Disney World or Disneyland has never been an experience that anybody would call cheap, but in the last couple of years, prices have skyrocketed. From the addition of new added costs like Genie+ replacing the previously free FastPass to a massive across-the-board price increase on nearly everything at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World, prices have been growing at a faster rate than ever before. And it turns out even Disney CEO Bob Iger thinks the parks are getting too expensive.

Speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference, former and current Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger admitted that the price increases at Disney Parks had become too aggressive. The CEO said he felt that accessibility was important in the parks, and while he also understands the importance of profitability, he believes Disney can be smarter about how it balances these two things. Iger said…

I’ve always believed that Disney was a brand that needed to be accessible and I think that in our zeal to grow profits, we may have been a little bit too aggressive about some of our pricing. I think there’s a way to continue to grow our business but be smarter about how we price, so that we maintain that brand value of accessibility.

Iger's words are important because they really feel like a change of policy at Disney. It's not like people didn't realize that the parks were becoming a lot more expensive. Quite to the contrary, that seemed to be the point. The parks seemed to be intentionally pricing people out

Last October Disney Parks saw one of the most aggressive price increases in the modern era. A month later CEO Bob Chapek was out of a job and Bob Iger was back. Iger wasted little time in undoing some of Chapek’s biggest changes on the entertainment side, and then we saw the same thing start to happen in the parks.

In the time since Iger’s return, we’ve seen a handful of changes made at both American Disney resorts to make them more affordable, including free parking at Walt Disney World hotels for guests and earlier park hopping at the Disneyland Resort parks, making those park hopping tickets worth a bit more. Some price increases, like the lightsaber-building experience at Disneyland, were just simply rolled back.

Iger said Disney would “continue to adjust” its pricing in the future, so we should expect more changes in the coming months. The first batch of changes were well received, and if this truly does continue that’s a good thing. It’s not simply an issue of price but of value. The feeling from many was that Disney Parks were becoming more expensive, but without offering more for that money.

If this really isn’t the end of the price changes in order to add more value to the cost of a trip to Walt Disney World or Disneyland, then a lot of people will likely be very happy. The fact that Bob Iger seems to feel the same way as many of his customers about the price increases hopefully means that his decisions on how to fix the problem going forward will also make those people happy. 

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.