Disney Parks is lowering some prices and increasing benefits for guests in a bid to win back customers who felt nickel-and-dimed in recent years. Among other changes, the company is increasing the number of cheaper tickets available to guests, relaxing reservation requirements, and reintroducing complimentary overnight self-parking.
The policy changes come after a whirlwind couple of years for the House of Mouse. After shutting down completely early in the pandemic, former CEO Bob Chapek led an initiative to focus on getting visitors to spend more money rather than driving more traffic to the park. Chapek called the strategy "yield management."
This approach worked — for a while. Disney had some record quarters, with the experiences and parks division making $7.9 billion in profits in 2022, which was up from $6.8 billion in profits in 2019, but Disney's famously loyal park visitors could only take so much change. Multiple outlets reported that the combination of higher costs and more restrictive policies was causing a backlash from customers.
The parks also implemented a number of changes related to the pandemic, such as requiring contactless payment, which also weren't received well by customers.
Now Disney is trying to win them back.
"As we step into this bright future it is important that we continuously evolve to help deliver the best guest experience possible," wrote Josh D’Amaro, parks and resorts chairperson, in a letter. "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."
Disney is making these changes less than two months after CEO Bob Iger took the head role once again from Chapek for a two-year stint aimed at getting the company on firmer ground.