Walt Disney World Changes
Disney announced shocking news last night. Former Disney CEO Bob Iger is returning to the position, and Bob Chapek is out. Upon hearing the news, I immediately checked that it wasn’t 1 Apr. Sure enough, it’s happening. As a Walt Disney World fan, my initial surprise turned into glee. Bob Chapek had a tumultuous 2+ years at the helm, and Iger’s steady hand returning is welcome news. Given this change, I’ve allowed myself to dream on what’s next, particularly Walt Disney World changes. Here’s where my hope is focused.
Annual Pass Normalcy
For many Disney enthusiasts, annual pass availability has been intermittent (at best) for the past few years. Florida residents have had the easiest access to Walt Disney World pass options. It seems Disneyland fans have had more annual pass opportunities over the past few years. Ongoing pass renewals have been the most reliable option for many. But right now, out of state fans don’t have feasible options for new annual passes.
Like many of you, I let my most recent pass expire, and I’m on the outside looking in currently. I have a few outstanding ten-day tickets thanks to a now-dead Citi redemption option, and I’m looking to upgrade one ticket to a pass. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for annual passes returning, albeit at a substantially higher price point.
Disney’s Magical Express, Please?
Just before the pandemic changed everything, we stayed at the Grand Floridian in Winter 2020. We haven’t stayed at a Disney-owned property since. A contributing factor was that Disney’s Magical Express ceased operating on 1 Jan 2022.
We absolutely loved checking our bags at the beginning of our trip, strolling off the plane onto a bus, and our luggage magically arriving in our Grand Floridian room a few hours later. Sure, a third-party operator has continued the bus service since, but the luggage service ended. Oh, and it costs a pretty penny for this degraded service.
Am I holding out much hope that this will return? No, not really, primarily since people are still arriving to Disney World in droves without it. But hey, a man can dream.
Mary Poppins Attraction Is Back On
Years ago, a Mary Poppins attraction had been planned for the UK Pavilion at EPCOT. Growing up with the original film and now enjoying both of them with my little ones, I was excited by this attraction’s announcement. In the years since, Disney has indefinitely postponed the attraction. Many Disney enthusiasts interpret this to mean the attraction has been quietly cancelled. I lost hope in this attraction since, but Iger returning brings a glimmer of it back, perhaps irrationally.
More avid Disney World fans have noticed smaller food portions at dining outlets. Luckily, in our less-frequent trips, my family and I haven’t experienced this (just rising prices). We’re fans of Disney World’s table service restaurants, often sharing hearty entree portions or choosing family-style locations. I’m hoping that portion downsizing will curtail, at least, if returning to previous sizes isn’t possible.
Optimism, In General
I’m absolutely confident in this last one. I feel this way because I know I’m optimistic, as are Shawn and many other Diamond members discussing it in our private Slack. I bet Disney employees at all levels welcome the change, also. During the past few years, changes often meant devaluations for Disney consumers. But overnight, I’m more positive about what Disney can accomplish in the future. I’m heartened by Iger’s return and genuinely excited to see what’s next.
Beyond that last one, will any of my dreams come true? Maybe not; I’ll actually be pleasantly surprised if one of those others occurs any time soon. While Disney announced Iger is only returning for two years, their comments give me even more confidence they’ll find an optimal successor. As a Disney World fan, I feel like this change is positive across the board. Given Iger’s return, what Walt Disney World changes would you like to see?