“We Have a Lot of Work To Do Here” — Bob Iger Comments on Disney Parks

It’s not too often you see a famous CEO retire from a prominent company, then return to that same company a few years later. Yet that’s exactly what Disney CEO Bob Iger did in 2022. Since then, we’ve seen several major changes within The Walt Disney Company.

Magic Kingdom

Ever since Bob Iger’s return to Disney, there have been job cuts, Genie+ changes, entertainment changes, and much more. Iger has found himself in the headlines a lot recently, thanks, in part, to the ongoing political conflict with the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District. Most recently, though, Disney announced that Bob Iger will stay on as CEO through 2026.

Following the breaking news that Iger’s contract was extended by two years, Disney CEO Bob Iger appeared on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” with David Faber. The interview happened at 8AM ET from Sun Valley, ID. Here’s what we learned.

Why Iger is Staying

The interview began with the question everyone is asking: “Why are you staying?” Iger responded candidly, admitting the company was facing a lot of challenges when he first returned in 2022. He cited his deep passion for the company and the business as a reason for returning and noted that there’s a lot more work to do.

Disney CEO Bob Iger

Iger went on to admit that the task of returning as CEO was more challenging than anticipated, though that doesn’t mean that he is any less enthusiastic about future opportunities. In fact, he stated that he feels extremely optimistic about the company. 

Click here to learn more about Iger’s strategic business goals for The Walt Disney Company

Park Attendance

CNBC’s David Faber referenced recent headlines speculating that park attendance is lower than it was one year ago. In fact, summer crowd levels have been a huge point of interest lately; park attendance surprised many on the Fourth of July weekend and Memorial Day weekend.

Memorial Day crowds

Many expected to see wall-to-wall crowds during those busy summer holidays, though the wait times were shockingly low, and the parks were not as busy as anticipated.

Click here to see what Disney World looked like during the Fourth of July holiday

That said, Iger defended Disney’s holiday park attendance numbers, explaining that when Disney World reopened during the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a large demand to return to the parks. Now that we’re three years removed from Disney World’s historic reopening, the crowd comparisons are different.

COVID-19 sign at Disney World

Additionally, Iger stated that things like temperature and competition may have factored into the comparatively softer demand this year. He also referenced hotel tax revenue, explaining hotel tax revenue has been down by 6-7%  in some counties in Florida. This may indicate that fewer people are traveling to Florida — not just Disney World — in 2023.

Magic Kingdom

That said, Iger made a point to say that he believes  “Pricing is not an issue” in terms of demand. In fact,  Disney does not have “long-term concerns” about the parks. When specifically asked if he was concerned about a decline in attendance, Iger responded that he is not worried about it at all: We’re not wringing our hands over it.” 

The Future of the Disney Parks

Bob Iger was quite optimistic about the future of the parks and resorts. In fact, Iger stated that he believes there are opportunities to “turbo-charge” growth in the parks.

TRON Lightcycle / Run

While Iger didn’t go into detail on his plans to “turbo-charge” growth, he may be referring to some of the upcoming attractions and experiences coming soon, like the huge EPCOT transformation and the Disneyland expansion project.

Click here to learn more about some major projects in the works

Disney’s Political Conflict

Later, Iger commented on the current political topics happening in Florida. Iger discussed Disney’s conflict with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis by stating that the parks’ near-term issues have nothing to do with politics.

Magic Kingdom crowds

Iger went on to address claims about the company and reiterated Disney’s stance on the subject.

Click here to read more about Iger’s comments on the ongoing political conflict

We’ll continue to look out for additional news about Bob Iger and The Walt Disney Company. Don’t forget that the Q3 2023 earnings call will take place on Wednesday, August 9th. We’ll be sure to share all the news from that call, so stick around for all the latest news!

BREAKING: Disney CEO Bob Iger’s Contract Extended Through 2026

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6 Replies to ““We Have a Lot of Work To Do Here” — Bob Iger Comments on Disney Parks”

  1. “Pricing is not an issue”…I guess spinning one of the real problems is a requisite
    to being a CEO. Easier than actually fixing the problem.

    1. Pricing is higher than it was but many of the people complaining about Disney prices seem to have no trouble finding money to eat out…pay for wine and liquor….pay for streaming services….pay for gas guzzling SUVs….buy Starbucks….I do none of these things which gives me money for Disney…life is about choices

  2. The high prices are absolutely the main reason for the shrinking attendance levels. How many families can afford a Disney vacation anymore? Plus the fact that they seem to have forgotten what made Disney so magical. Return to the original model and learn what your guests really want.

  3. “Pricing is not an issue.” How arrogant. I just saw the dessert party prices for Not So Scary and they were well over $100 pp. dial it back a little.

  4. YES, please stay in denial reasons about park attendance, pricing, Disney’s mix into politics, not so great movies lately etc… there is a lot of work to get back the magic, I do agree with that. It’s funny, used to get Disney surveys about my Disney trip experience, but not in the last few years, wonder why those stopped? need the people’s feedback that actualy spend money, not a top executive view, which may not be a realistic view. DISNEY IS JUST NOT THE SAME IT ONCE WAS, SADLY.