Disney's Parks Make Tons of Money — But Are They in Trouble?
WSJ's Robbie Whelan on drama within Disney's most profitable sector.
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This week I talked to Robbie Whelan of the Wall Street Journal about the not-so-secret cash cow of the Walt Disney empire: the parks. For years now, the joke about Disney has been that it’s a parks and TV company with a movie studio attached to it; as the theatrical business continues to struggle, cord-cutting continues apace, and the streaming side of the business racks up huge losses, the parks are more important than ever.
But as Robbie reported, cracks are beginning to show in that fiscal bulwark, and unhappiness over the state of the parks—from investors and, more interestingly, super-fans—is one of several reasons that CEO Bob Chapek was forced out.
Are you one of the super-fans upset about the Chapek regime’s nickel-and-diming of regulars? Sound off in the comments.
So I’m one of those annoying Disney adults. Just went in September for the first time since the before times. Look, I get it. Disney is a corporation making money for their shareholders. Prices go up. It’s the way of the world.
But there’s an implied covenant with the Disney fan that those exorbitant prices provide a certain experience. That experience has, for many, many years, included free transportation from the airport and a fast pass system to help speed your day. And anyone who could afford the price of admission got those perks. But now Disney started charging for those perks. Ok. Whatever. So at least that staves off price increases, right? No? Ok. Now I’m upset. But at least now that I am laying for fast passes, I can use them on any ride I want, right? No? I have to pay extra for that, too? Now I’m pissed.
So what is the most upsetting is that they prices go up and up and up, but there’s no value being provided. Nothing that makes it Disney magical.
If you pay a premium price, you expect a premium experience. And that’s what you used to get from Disney. But now you pay a premium price for the baseline experience. And pay even more and more for the premium experience. That’s very un-Disney.
Nope. I don't see what people see in these places. I liked it once when I was 12. No interest in this or cruises.