By: Jordan Chan
On Jan. 10, Disney announced that it will revise some pricing policies in Disney theme parks. In the past year, price increases at Disney parks have angered longtime customers and Disney fanatics. Former CEO Bob Chapek, who left the company in November after the Walt Disney Company Board ousted him, was largely responsible for the price hikes. Current CEO Bob Iger, who also ran Disney as its Chief Executive from 2005 to 2020, expressed distaste for the direction Disney took under Chapek, reportedly saying that the company was losing its “soul.” If you’re a Disney lover, here’s what to expect this year under Iger.
There will be significantly more days available — “nearly two months worth” according to the Disney blog — to use a one-day, one-park ticket at Disney’s lowest price point of 104 dollars. Although Disney hasn’t released detailed pricing or scheduling information for the entire year yet, there will be nearly 40 percent more low-price days than last year, which means that people will have more opportunities to enjoy the Disney experience without breaking the bank in 2023.
Additionally, Disney World guests no longer have to pay for parking at Disney Resort hotels. The company stated, “This is a Disney difference many of you have asked us to bring back, and we’re happy to reintroduce it to make your vacation a little easier and more affordable,” referencing how guests expressed disdain when they lost the perk of free parking in 2018.
Those with the Disney Genie+ service, which allows people to enter faster lines called “Lightning Lanes” much like the fast passes at other popular amusement parks, will also enjoy complimentary digital downloads of attraction photos (i.e. those photos of you screaming during the drop of a rollercoaster) at the Florida Disney World location. The Disney Genie+ service faced a lot of criticism from park guests in the past, but Disney hopes to add this extra perk to entice more buyers, since photo packages and individual downloads can get pretty pricey. At Disneyland — not to be confused with Disney World — any visitor can download their attraction photos for free through the Disneyland app starting on Feb. 4. This offer will coincide with the company’s Disney100 anniversary celebration, although it’s currently unclear when the promotion will end. Also starting on Feb. 4, individuals who purchase a “Park Hopper ticket” can switch parks two hours earlier — at 11:00 AM.
Although exceptions like pass blockout dates will apply, annual pass holders will no longer have to make reservations to visit parks after 2:00 PM — a pandemic-era change that annoyed fans. Director of Communications Avery Maehrer wrote, “While the theme park reservation system remains important to manage attendance in our parks, especially on busier days, we realize our Passholders enjoy more spontaneous visits — and this change will make that possible.”
(Sources: Disney Parks Blog, Insider, NY Times, The Hollywood Reporter, Washington Post)