With rising theme park ticket prices, increasingly expensive nightly hotel rates, plus the addition of pricey add-ons like Genie+, Disney Parks have been criticized by many as becoming too expensive for the average consumer.
CEO Bob Iger recently addressed these concerns head-on, confirming what Disney fans have been saying for years: that Disney has been too aggressive with pricing, and could risk alienating many of its die-hard fans if it continues to make the cost of a Disney Parks vacation more expensive.
Is a Disney Parks vacation unaffordable now for a family of four?
According to Ziggy Knows Disney, the average Walt Disney World vacation in 2023 costs $5,369.88 for a family of four, who are staying on property at a value resort. And if that same family wants to stay at a deluxe resort, the cost of the vacation shoots up to $8,471.88. These eye-watering amounts may come as a surprise to those who haven't been to a Disney park in a while, but with prices up on all parts of a Disney vacation, from theme park tickets and hotels to souvenirs and food, these price points are unfortunately common.
And while there has been significant backlash about the growing cost of a Disney Parks vacation, CEO Bob Iger is attempting to stem some of the negative press the brand has been receiving as of late with some new comments regarding the overall affordability of a Disney Parks vacation. While speaking at a Morgan Stanley media conference on March 9, per Deadline, Iger said, "I think that in our zeal to grow profits, we may have been a little bit too aggressive about some of our pricing." He later added, "I think there is a way to continue to grow our business but be smarter about how we price so that we maintain that brand value of accessibility."
Do higher prices really mean lower crowds? Not really
One of the biggest justifications of the rising cost of a Disney vacation in the past has been that higher prices will control crowds. However, Iger noted that while previous price hikes may have had the aim of managing post-pandemic demand, these measures didn't really work as intended and hurt the brand as they are “are viewed by consumers as being a little too aggressive.” So while Disney may deploy other crowd-controlling measures in the future if demand continues to be high, it looks like, at least for now, the idea that some Disney Parks fans should simply be priced out of a Disney Parks vacation to make room for wealthier park-goers has largely been abandoned.
This is not the first time Bob Iger has spoken out on pricing, and probably won't be the last either
Iger's recent comments are not the first time he has spoken out about Disney's pricing strategy. In the past, he has expressed concern over price increases at Disney theme parks that former CEO Bob Chapek believed would increase revenue and limit overcrowding. In the last earnings call in February, as reported by WDWMagic, the CEO said that raising prices was not a smart move for Disney. "It is clear that some of our pricing initiatives were alienated to consumers," Iger said. "I have always believed that accessibility is a core value of the Disney brand. We were not perceived to be as accessible or as affordable to many segments, as we probably should have been."
While we don't know when Iger will address this issue in the future, his comments certainly make it seem like it is an important one for him to tackle during his two years back as Disney's CEO, and we expect to hear more from him about this in the future as he continues to cement both his and the Walt Disney Company's legacy for decades to come.