When Bob Iger stepped down as Walt Disney (DIS) – Get a free report CEO, this was expected, but also curious. The longtime leader has been at the top of his game with the entertainment giant poised to grow its movie and theme park business while making a huge footprint in streaming with Disney+.
There was no reason for Iger to leave other than the Disney tradition that executives retire at a certain age. This would perhaps make sense if the company had a clear rising star behind the scenes. Sometimes a successful leader steps aside so his company doesn’t lose a promising next CEO.
Bob Chapek was the wrong guy.
Instead, Czapek made sense as CEO if Iger had to (or wanted to) leave. He was a safe enough choice, although he lacked the creative integrity that a Disney boss should have. However, with the pandemic approaching, hiring an operator capable of making difficult decisions made sense.
Some of these decisions, however, were very unpopular. Now, Iger has reclaimed the Disney throne, and he could undo some of Capek’s least popular moves.
1. Disney World, Booking Disneyland Theme Parks
During the dark days of the coronavirus pandemic, Disney had to make use of its limited-capacity theme parks. This forced the company to use a reservation system to avoid crowds of customers at its gates that it couldn’t let in.
It was a necessary policy, but it made it impossible to visit on a spontaneous basis, which was a major bone of contention for Disney World annual pass holders who were used to just dropping by.
Disney has now kept its theme parks at a slightly lower capacity than before the pandemic and has decided to keep the booking system. Eiger could abandon the unpopular system and go back to the days when parks had to switch to a one-in-one-out system as soon as capacity was exhausted.
Now that people can wait in line, this system, which will likely result in more visitors on very crowded days, makes more sense than using a reservation.
2. Stop price hikes on Disney World tickets
Disney uses variable prices based on demand at its theme park and did not raise ticket prices in the years before the pandemic. Now that the coronavirus is no longer interfering with its operations, the company is planning a dramatic price increase that will be slightly different at each of the four Disney World parks.
“The new prices for one-day tickets to one Disney World park will be different for each park. Animal Kingdom will be the cheapest, ranging from $109 to $159; Epcot – from 114 to 179 dollars; Hollywood Studios – $124 to $179 ; and Magic Kingdom from $124 to $189,” said Kirk O’Neill of TheStreet.
Iger would score a lot of points among Disney fans if he acknowledged the country’s dire economic conditions and delayed the raise, which won’t go into effect until December 8th.
3. Roll back all price increases on Small Theme Parks.
Iger will most likely not return free access to FastPass +. What he could do is fix the small price increase that the company made at Disney World and Disneyland.
For example, food prices have risen steadily, and in some cases, portion sizes have also increased. Basically, Disney increased the cost of everything at its theme parks because its customer base showed a willingness to pay.
A new CEO could give customers a holiday gift by canceling the price increase. If he does not want to do this, Iger can promise that prices will remain the same for the next 6 or 12 months.
Any of these changes will be minor, but will be a clear sign that the new Disney CEO sees his customers as a valuable part of the Disney experience, and not just a source of profit.