It’s not every day that we get to hear from a Disney executive!
Bob Iger has commented on a number of things since returning as Disney CEO in November 2022 including park pass reservations, guest satisfaction, Disney’s core values, and more. But now another Disney executive is speaking at a conference and he had some things to say on behalf of The Walt Disney Company.
Josh D’Amaro is Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products and he spoke at the JP Morgan Global Technology, Media & Communications Conference on May 22nd. During the conference, he was interviewed on a variety of subjects, but some comments stuck out particularly to us.
D’Amaro addressed several hot-button issues for Disney currently, including Park Pass reservations. He mentioned that the reservation system currently allows Disney to plan ahead as far as labor needs and guest offerings, but that in the future, it should come in handy when keeping the business afloat during a possible recession. He said, “We are a lot more sophisticated now than we were pre-pandemic” when it comes to technology in place, and mentioned that the company is now in a better position to manage economic volatility.
However, Park Passes have been a controversial subject in the past, as some Disney visitors have complained that the reservation system makes planning a theme park visit more complicated. D’Amaro noted that the company (and he personally) has been listening to feedback in this regard, and that “We’ll continue to invest in technology to simplify the experience.” It’s that very feedback that has prompted Disney to make park reservation changes for 2024.
On the subject of park capacity, D’Amaro was also questioned about his plans for the parks in the future. He said that they’re working on increasing “incremental capacity for the parks that allows us to bring up these caps.” A great example of this was the addition of TRON Lightcycle / Run, which allowed Disney to raise capacity at Magic Kingdom by expanding the land in the park.
According to D’Amaro, more projects like that are on the horizon. “We have plenty of opportunity within these existing footprints to optimize,” he said, noting that there’s more room within the land area for Disney World and Disneyland Resort park expansions than people realize. He mentioned the proposed DisneylandForward project, which is currently waiting on government approval. That project would allow Disney to expand into unused space and add new lands and attractions to the west coast parks.
But Disney has big plans for the east coast as well. The company is planning to invest $17 billion in Florida in the coming years, including the already-announced EPCOT transformation, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, and updates at Star Tours in Hollywood Studios. But beyond that, D’Amaro referenced the Disney Parks, Experiences and Products panel from the 2022 D23 Expo, saying, “I talked about some pretty ambitious plans that we have to continue to grow these theme parks.”
He said that they’re being “aggressive” with the plans for Walt Disney World. If you recall, many possible expansions were mentioned at the D23 Expo, including ideas for retheming Dinoland, U.S.A., and adding more attractions to Magic Kingdom in the space beyond Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Nothing has been announced yet, but D’Amaro noted, “I’m excited about what’s in store for Florida.”
Speaking of Florida however, D’Amaro spoke briefly about the ongoing political situation in the state. When asked if the battle with Governor Ron DeSantis has affected how Disney runs its business on a large scale in Florida, D’Amaro said “It has not.” He went on to add there that the things that have happened have not impacted Disney’s business results. Although, the political climate was a partial factor in Disney’s decision to cancel its $1 billion development in the Lake Nona suburb of Orlando.
Another hot-button issue that D’Amaro addressed during the interview? The Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser. The company announced recently that it would be closing the hotel/experience after just a year and a half of operation. When asked what drove that decision, D’Amaro shared, “It didn’t perform exactly like we wanted it to perform.” He noted that the Imagineers and Cast Members did an incredible job bringing the experience to life, but that ultimately, the company thought it was time to “sunset” the offering.
So if Disney is interested in more small-scale projects like the Starcruiser, would they ever go for small-scale parks? Universal has recently announced plans to experiment with smaller attractions around the U.S. and during the interview, D’Amaro was asked if he found the prospect “interesting.” D’Amaro replied by saying, “It must be interesting for them” but noting that Disney plans to focus its business on its core assets.
So we’ve now got a better picture of what to expect from the parks and the company going forward. We’re excited to see what Disney announces in the future for the parks.
Disney just made a slew of announcements about park pass reservations, Genie+, and the Disney Dining Plan. Check out more about those changes below:
- BREAKING: Disney Dining Plan RETURN DATE ANNOUNCED!
- NEWS: Genie+ Will Get EASIER With These Updates in Disney World!
- BREAKING: Disney World REMOVES Park Pass Requirement For Most Tickets in 2024!
- Big Park Pass NEWS Announced For Disney World Annual Passholders and Cast Members
Stay tuned to AllEars — we’ll keep you updated on the latest Disney news!
Is Bob Iger Any Closer to Succeeding in His “Number One Priority” at Disney?
Join the AllEars.net Newsletter to stay on top of ALL the breaking Disney News! You'll also get access to AllEars tips, reviews, trivia, and MORE! Click here to Subscribe!
What do you think about D’Amaro’s comments? Tell us in the comments.
2 Replies to “Expect “Aggressive” Plans for Disney World Expansions, According to Disney Exec”
For us, the issue wasn’t the process by which you make a reservation. It was the fact that the system took all spontaneity away that we used to have and enjoy, the ability to just go to a park based on weather or how we were feeling that morning. Whatever he says, they are not listening.
The entire decision was based on 2 things….controlling crowd capacity for any given day…spreading out how many in each park….and if say Magic Kingdom had twice the amount of reservations of other parks…they needed to move CM to Magic Kingdom to help there rather than be assigned other places….little is spontaneous anymore….think Genie…mobile ordering…neither of which I use and Info just fine…trying to be more go with the flow than advance planning whenever possible