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Disney CEO Bob Iger admits firm's theme parks are a rip-off thanks to 'aggressive pricing'

Disney CEO Bob Iger admitted the theme park was too much

Disney CEO Bob Iger admitted the theme park was too “aggressive” in many of its recent price hikes, shortly after the theme park slashed prices for its two-night stay at $20,000 at a Star Wars-themed hotel when reservations dried up.

Speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecommunications Conference on Thursday, Iger said Disney has made the big mistake of prioritizing profits in recent years, leaving even its most zealous fans disenchanted. by the happiest place on the planet.

Some of these rip-offs included the best park access tickets which were increased to $244 for a day pass – a ticket that in 2017 cost just $124.

Iger – who previously retired as Disney CEO in 2021 – returned as the company’s top executive in November after his successor Bob Chapek was ousted amid falling stock prices and customers angry.

On Thursday, he said he would focus on cost-cutting measures at Disney to make it more affordable for customers, and announced a plan to revamp the business and find $5 billion in savings. Part of this plan is to cut 7,000 jobs.

Disney CEO Bob Iger admitted the theme park was too much

Disney CEO Bob Iger admitted the theme park was too “aggressive” in many of its recent price hikes

Iger said Disney was so profit-driven that it was undermining the brand that had won so many devoted fans.

“In our zeal to increase profits, we may have been a bit too aggressive on some of our pricing,” he said.

“I think there’s a way to continue to grow this business, but be smarter about how we’re evaluating to maintain that brand value of accessibility.”

In announcing these intentions, he pledged to “continue to listen to consumers [and] we will continue to adapt.

The parks have already started cutting some of their prices, including making overnight parking free for hotel guests and increasing the number of days Disneyland offers its cheapest adult ticket to $104.

At Disneyland, free uploads of photos taken of guests on rides were resent to all ticket entries after customers were forced to pay extra for them. At Disney World, Genie+ tickets will once again come with free downloads.

Iger said the parks will also focus on regulating the number of people they let in to preserve the quality of the indoor experience.

“One of the things we needed to do was improve the customer experience by reducing clutter,” he said.

“It’s tempting to let more and more people in, but if customer satisfaction levels drop due to overcrowding, it doesn’t work.” We need to figure out how to reduce clutter while maintaining our profitability. And we did it well.

The “deck” of the hotel ship, where guests can interact with the on-screen action

The “deck” of the hotel ship, where guests can interact with the on-screen action

But Iger said it wasn’t all too expensive – on the contrary, he said Disney’s streaming platform was launched at far too low a price.

“One of the key things we need to figure out is a pricing strategy that makes sense,” he said. ‘In our zeal to develop global submarines[cribers], I think we got it wrong in terms of pricing strategy. And we are now beginning to learn more about it and adjust accordingly.

When Disney+ started in 2019, subscribers were charged $6.99 per month, but the platform now charges $10.99 for its ad-free subscription after it began hemorrhaging billions and helping to crash prices Disney stock.

Iger also said Disney may have hurt its Star Wars and Marvel brands by making too many movies. He said that in the future, these movies and shows would be looked at more closely.

“Marvel has 7,000 characters, so there are a lot more stories to tell,” he said. ‘What you have to look at at Marvel is not necessarily the volume of Marvel storytelling, but how many times do you go back to the well on certain characters? Suites usually work well for us but do you need a third and a fourth [installment] For example? Or is it time to turn to other characters?

Bunks inside rooms at expensive immersive Star Wars-themed hotel

Bunks inside rooms at expensive immersive Star Wars-themed hotel

His comments come after Disney rearranged the schedule for its billion-dollar Star Wars-themed hotel due to low demand.

The hotel, which opened in March 2022 in the Orlando area to much fanfare and sold out, charges guests between $5,000 and $20,000 for an immersive two-night experience in which they are immersed in a story set in a galaxy. far far away.

The booking portal for Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser shows that there are reduced dates in October, November and December.

Starting in the fall, the hotel is only open for reservations three or four times a week. Many die-hard Disney and Star Wars fans have long criticized the resort’s exorbitant prices and the fact that it’s windowless.

Among the price assessments inside the hotel are $13 for beers and $23 for cocktails as well as $99 for an official Star Wars-themed photo, The New York Times reported at the time of the press release. opening of the park.

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