The Walt Disney Co. has announced new changes to its policies and prices to visit one of its American theme parks, after earning the ire and outrage from some of its most loyal fans over the past few years.
Walt Disney World said that the changes were made to “improve the guest experience and to let our fans know we are listening to their feedback.”
The changes include:
- Overnight self-parking will (again) be offered complimentary to guests staying at Walt Disney World Resort hotels.
- Walt Disney World Annual Passholders will soon be able to visit theme parks after 2pm without needing a park reservation, except for on weekends at Magic Kingdom.
- Guests who purchase Disney’s Genie+ service (a replacement to the Fast Pass system) will receive complimentary digital downloads of their Disney PhotoPass attraction photos.
In addition, The Walt Disney Co. will make it cheaper to visit Disneyland, its theme park in Anaheim, California, by “expanding the number of days when adult tickets sell for $104, the lowest price … the number of $104 days would now represent about two months of the year at Disneyland, which charges $179 for adults on the most desirable dates,” the New York Times reports.
In a letter on Tuesday, Disney Parks and Resorts Chairperson Josh D’Amaro told employees about the changes.
“As we step into this bright future it is important that we continuously evolve to help deliver the best guest experience possible,” D’Amaro wrote. “Many of you know that I’m in the parks fairly often and I listen to you and to our guests about the things that are working as well as the things that might need some change.”
Some of Disney’s most loyal fans had previously expressed disappointment and frustration with the company’s frequent price hikes.
In 2022, Disney World increased its ticket prices twice in one year.
In May 2022, a family of four told Fox Business about their recent trip to Disney World, and shared how much it cost, including:
- $2,550 for park hopper tickets for five days.
- $3,780 for four nights of lodging in the resort.
- $300 on Genie+ passes.
- $950 for sit-down meals.
- $700 for snacks and souvenirs.
All told, the family spent $8,480 on their trip – and that’s not including airfare.
“I feel like Disney is pricing people out, can the average working American family really afford this?” the mother of the family asked.
Of course, Disney’s exorbitant price increases aren’t the only actions that the company has taken recently that aren’t family friendly.
In the past several years, the company has advocated against Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill, injected homosexual themes into its content – including in the movies Lightyear and Strange World – and released an “LGBT-themed” clothing and merchandise line for kids.
However, Disney has also continued its annual tradition of “recounting the biblical tale of a savior born in Bethlehem” with its Candlelight Processional, and allowed conservative actor Tim Allen to tell the true story of Christmas in its new Disney+ series The Santa Clauses.
In that sense, it seems like there is an internal tug of war within Disney over how it wants to operate. Does it want to be just one more “woke” corporation spreading content and messages that cater to certain leftist special interest groups? Or does it want to be a family-oriented company that tolerates all perspectives, even conservative and Christian ones.
There are hints that The Walt Disney Co. may be seeking to correct course after being perceived by many (and correctly so) as becoming a company with a leftist agenda, rather than one working to cater to families.
After (again) taking over the reins of the company on November 20, 2022, Disney CEO Bob Iger said that he did not like the company being embroiled in controversy and that it is important “to have respect for the people that you’re serving … and not have disdain for [them].”
Is Disney’s new shift on some of its policies and pricing indicative that further family friendly changes are in its future? Only time will tell.
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