With what for many seems like negative change after change at Walt Disney World, we asked in our latest Big Debate, You Say You Won't, But Are You REALLY Never Going Back To Walt Disney World?
Walt Disney World's 50th Anniversary officially kicked off on October 1, bringing with it a whole host of additions to the resort including; debuting new nighttime spectaculars Harmonious and Enchantment, officially opening Remy's Ratatouille Adventure at EPCOT, Disney KiteTails at Disney's Animal Kingdom, and the new Points of Light icon illumination at each theme park.
However, with the announcement of Genie+ Lightning Lanes replacing the free FastPass+ service and add-ons and ticket prices continuing to rise, has Disney pushed fans too far this time?
We were interested to try and find out if those fans that post on social media, "I am not going to Walt Disney World again", really actually mean it so we asked, You Say You Won't, But Are You REALLY Never Going Back To Walt Disney World?:
- Definitely Going To Walt Disney World despite the changes - 35%
- Have thought about it but could never really ever not go to Walt Disney World again - 38%
- Will NEVER go back to Walt Disney World for real - 27%
Out of the 526 voters so far, 186 voted that they will return to Walt Disney World despite the changes and 198 voted that it had crossed their mind but couldn't ever really not go.
An interesting point was brought up by a few readers who said that there should have been an option on the poll to say 'I will return but not as often' and I think that is such an important point which I am kicking myself for missing. I assume out of the 198 people that voted they have thought about not going again but just wouldn't be able to say never, there may be a percentage of those people that are likely to go less often due to the changes.
You may think, 508 people is a teeny tiny percentage of the millions that visit Walt Disney World every year, and of course you are right but I hope it aims to give you an idea from that cross-section of people the percentage that are now saying, "wait a minute, do we really want to go to Disney?"
I must admit, living in the UK, Disneyland Paris is our 'home' park and we were thinking of heading in 2022. However, news of their new paid-for FastPass system which will add a lot more cost onto an already really expensive trip has put me off. We absolutely loved our experience in 2019 where we would dart from one attraction to another collecting FastPasses so we could enjoy a shorter wait for our favorite attractions.
So, here is the result that I find really surprising, 27% of those that voted have said that they will NEVER go back to Walt Disney World. 143 out of the 526, to me that seems a lot!
Your Thoughts and Comments
As always in our Results article we select a number of your thoughts and comments to try to show both sides of the debate:
"We will go back once Covid settles down but we won’t be paying for genie plus or staying on property."
"I have kids now and they love it there. So I definitely can't say never again. But I used to be a "Disney every year" guy. That went from my own childhood through a few years ago. But really, it's just not the same anymore. The insane planning you have to go through, the politics injected into everything, from Disney and all of their subsidiaries...and of course, the nickel and diming. Ultimately, you're paying more money for a diminished product.
It's just not fun anymore. And most of the new stuff they come up with, aside from Pandora, is pretty lame. We'll be going to Universal next year. Probably taking a few years off from Disney. If my kids are ever not into it anymore, I can definitely do without it. Those are words that just 6 or 7 years ago, I never in a million years would have imagined coming out of my mouth.
I write all of this knowing that someone at Disney is probably watching and hoping that they'll change course. Doubtful, though."
"Not sure actually. We bought Universal passes when they opened back up and, while it's not Disney, it scratches the itch. I definitely don't feel like I NEED a Disney fix anymore."
"We go once a month. We’re here now. Went all through the last two years when they opened back up. Don’t plan on stopping any time soon."
"May price itself out of our “market”….even with ownership of the 2 DVC properties we bought years ago & since retired WDW is to $$$$$."
"Not enough responses to choose from, maybe need a undecided, or a may or may not haven't decided yet?
I own DVC oh, so I will go back, but I used to go one or two times a year, I will now go once every three years! Because I own the timeshare."
"Well we are actually heading down to Orlando and not doing the park for the first time in 26 years. Just because of all the changes."
"Hopefully this will keep crowds to more manageable levels. I’m definitely happy to pay more and/or have less benefits if the crowds are lighter."
"Prices post COVID means it’s a no from me."
"I'd rather go to Universal then Disney."
"I’m not going back as frequently. Disney feels like it’s more into a “money grab”. I know they took a beating during the Pandemic, but they don’t have to make it all back in the first year, do they they?"
"After being in the not so magic Kingdom anymore for the 50th I am fully done with Disney. What a joke. Merchandise limited and sold out in 2 hours!? Poor inventory management on what Disney was acting like was such a big deal for them. I was expecting some exclusive oct 1 merchandise to be available or some cool freebies. All they did was a park brochure and artist rendering of the castle. They went way cheap on this."
"I’ll still go but not in any hurry anymore. Never thought Disney could ruin the excitement I get out of taking my family but slowly but surely they are doing it. We will probably just spend less time at Disney and more time with the other things Orlando has to offer. Which is plenty."
"My daughter and I have been passholders for over 10 yrs. She has developmental disabilities who loves Disney and I'm a single father on fixed income. I have always found away to come up with the money by giving up things for myself as any good parent would but now I'm priced out of renewing them. I pay monthly and have the weekday passes so it's not like I can go any lower."
"Had APs for the last 15 years, took a break last year thanks to covid, will not renew until reservations are done with. The entire point of an AP was to be a local and pop over when you wanted. And with the increased prices on APs, without that option, it’s not happening."
"I have young grandchildren who have been to Disney many times with us, but now I would rather take them elsewhere. Disney is all about money now and not about families. I think they figure the well to do people will make it just as profitable."
"For a Florida resident that enjoyed spontaneous trips we will not be going back and have canceled our annual passes. We loved being able to wake up and say " hey, let's go to Disney today". That has been taken away, along with so many other perks. We will be taking our money elsewhere."
With price increases, the paid for FastPass system Genie+ Lightning Lanes and the continued Park reservation system, Disney definitely seem to be putting off a lot of loyal fans. I have always loved Disney and we are saving to take our 6 and 8 year old boys there in a couple of years but it saddens me that the parks may not have that magic sparkle of years gone by. I have hope that the true magic of Disney will return again one day.
Let us know your thoughts if you haven't already by leaving us a comment below or on our Facebook page. Look out for our next Big Debate which will be coming soon to Theme Park Tourist