Disney CEO Bob Iger Comments on Park Pass Reservations and Guest Satisfaction

It’s safe to say that 2023 is a pivotal year for the Walt Disney Company, based on the company restructuring that Disney Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Bob Iger announced at the quarter one earnings call for fiscal year 2023 back in February.

Magic Kingdom

During this call, Iger shared that the company would undergo some serious restructuring, as well as a shift in focus to streaming and Disney’s online media production. But… what about the parks? What about the capacity-limiting park pass reservation system that never went away after COVID-19 safety guidelines were lifted? What about the crowds that occupy the parks despite these reservation systems? What about the PRICE of the modern Disney vacation?

Iger offered some insight regarding the state of the Disney parks at the Technology, Media, and Telecom Conference in an interview with Morgan Stanley.

©CNN | Disney CEO Bob Iger

Iger indicated that the parks were doing really well financially, not just in the United States — but globally. The “bounce back” after the pandemic was impressive, which led to the company growing optimistic about profit post-lockdown.

Where in the World #780
Magic Kingdom

“I’ve always believed that Disney was a brand that needed to be accessible,” Iger said. That being said, the CEO admitted that in an effort to grow profit, pricing might have become a bit aggressive. (The cost of a 3-Day Park Hopper Pass in 2023 is the same cost as a 10-Day Park Hopper Pass in 2013. Let that sink in.)

Ticket Corner

Iger said that the company has made efforts to increase guest satisfaction while still growing profit, and in doing so, reduced crowds in the park. The CEO admitted that it was tempting to let in more people, but would ultimately fail if guest satisfaction is low. This explains a lot when it comes to the park pass reservation system we mentioned!

Low crowds… sometimes

Iger is confident in the future of the theme parks because of the “strength of experience” that draws guests in again and again. Iger mused that families aspire to go to Disney World and that the experience remains good enough for them to want to return.

It’s all about the experience!

It sounds like Iger could be on to something when it comes to finding the balance between profit and guest satisfaction that will allow Disney to become accessible (or simply worth the high price) to the average American family once again. Could this be the mindset behind certain new Disney perks — like free PhotoPass downloads with the purchase of Genie+?


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19 Replies to “Disney CEO Bob Iger Comments on Park Pass Reservations and Guest Satisfaction”

  1. We just had a wonderful time at Disney from Feb 25-March 5. Was it expensive? Yes. Was it worth it ? YES. Loved Genie Plus and it saved so much time! (Except for the time I tried to split up our party for different rides). All of the food was delicious and the weather was perfect. Sorry to be Susie Sunshine but just wanted to put up something positive. It can’t be that bad it’s pretty crowded compared to the old days.

  2. In early December, tickets got you into the park but access to rides was extremely limited. On one ride it was 80 Lightning Lane guests to 10 standby guests. Another ride the stand by lane shut down completely for 30 minutes while the Lightning Lane loaded continuously. We are DVC members and have been doing Disney World trips for almost 50 years. This was the worst experience ever.

  3. “I’ve always believed that Disney was a brand that needed to be accessible,” Iger said. That being said, the CEO admitted that in an effort to grow profit, pricing might have become a bit aggressive. (The cost of a 3-Day Park Hopper Pass in 2023 is the same cost as a 10-Day Park Hopper Pass in 2013. Let that sink in.)

    That quote explains it all, prices have gone up way more inflation the past years. What was it the ticket prices raised twice last year and the amount of value days decreased(I heard the amount of cheap days was going to increase now). I use to buy the 10 day no expiration with park hopping, it was a good value, came with fast pass and I never felt like the parks were super busy. Not its so expensive we cant justify the pricing.

    I remember not long ago when in 2019/20 they offered a 4 parks pass for 1 visit to each park for ~$75 for around ~300 pre tax. I just checked and this year that same period is $560 to $650 (depending on day). I dont see many real deals anymore, its priced out the average person.

  4. 30+ trips and our sons wedding in 1999. We won’t be back until we can go without having to constantly look at our phones and “ plan” everything. We long for the days of spontaneity and doing what we want when we want.

  5. Having loved going to WDW many times since 1973; all seemed to change since 2015 when WDW hired Less than capable/knowledgeable individuals for less money to REPLACE the current capable and loyal employees. I know, I experienced all the delays and screwups taking place with continuous malfunctions of this ‘n that during the week we were there. Things began to deteriorate more after that; since we always drove and booked onsite; when we went in 2019 we had to pay for parking at the resort where we stayed .. over $200 to park!! The perks have diminished much more since then. We feel we’ve been out-priced to enjoy a week @ WDW .. haven’t been there since 2019. After reading all the confusing complaints regarding time constraints, having to have your phone in front of your face constantly, restricting traveling from park to park as we please, ride after ride malflunctioning after waiting in line for an hour or two and other recent issues I won’t mention. WDW is no longer a pleasant, family oriented amusement park. In my opinion it’s now a money grabber and lots of people will still pay the outrageous prices .. only because they have never been when it was truly a wonderful experience .. BEFORE 2015. This year we bought Dollywood season passes instead of spending thousands of dollars on a worthless trip to WDW.

  6. I am 73 and I used to go to Disneyland alone and while alternating grandchildren. I had an annual pass. Now I can’t even afford to go alone. You need to reduce prices so normal people can go. And stop cutting services and experiences! It is nowhere near the fun it used to be so not worth the cost!

  7. Didn’t read anything about the park reservation system we were just there and I still don’t like that system sometimes we like to be able to change our minds and just go to a different park we canceled one park one year to go to another and couldn’t so we lost money on a ticket wasn’t happy that year

  8. We had the worst time at Disney world this Feb 2023. The express passes that wete very expensive for 7 of us did not work, using the phone is a very bad idea. You are letting way too many people in, our children cried the whole time. We would get up to a ride finally and it would shut down happen 3 times, spent most of out day trying to use the express pass. We are recommending no one go until Disney figures out how to improve. We spent thousands and it was so sad.

  9. It’s gotten to the point that Disney has priced out the average American family. The very thing Walt built the parks for. If he wants to preserve Disney, he needs to put money into the parks. Fix the broken attractions and the maintenance in the parks. Take a page from universal. Add more attractions but, remember about the theme. Make sure it looks right.

  10. I used to go so much I would take my kids when they were small.and now my grandkids but Disneyland made it hard for us to do that.the prices are so high and now with reservations it’s Ridiculous. So Mr Bob Ige low back the price and go away with the reservations these are the reasons why people stop going can’t afford it anymore.

  11. And no word on annual pass sales returning anytime soon. Plus he didn’t really explain how you can be literally crushed in a park, standing in line for 30 minutes to buy a beverage or snack, but they claim to be limiting park capactiy.

  12. He knows what he has to do to get long time Walt Disney fans back but will he and does he have the guts to do it!

  13. This article is the first I’ve heard about free PhotoPass downloads with the purchase of Disney+…unless you meant to say Genie+?

    1. Our apologies! It’s definitely with the purchase of Genie+ and not Disney+. I updated it so there wouldn’t be any more confusion. Thanks for letting us know!

      1. You didn’t clarify that. If you purchase Genie+, you get free “Ride” Photopass downloads for that day. If you have the Photopass photographers take your picture that day, you still have to pay for those. Not much of a perk since not many rides have the ride pictures and lots of time they don’t come out well.

      2. Genie + needs to go. The greed just shines through. And to think all the profit from it goes to the executives and not the cast memebers in the park doing the real work. That was what made it Walt’s park was he was out there with the employees side by side, not reaping the greed. It’s enough that we won’t go again until it’s gone. I think Iger needs to understand how the majority of people feel about it.