Iger’s Back! The Walt Disney World Changes I’m Hoping For Next

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Walt Disney World Changes

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.

Goodbye, Shrinkflation

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.

Conclusion

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?

Benjy Harmon
Benjy Harmon
Benjy focuses on the intersection of points, travel, and financial independence (FI). An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently roams throughout the USA close to expense-free. Benjy enjoys helping others achieve their FI and travel goals.

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6 COMMENTS

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Magic Express I doubt it will come back, gas is way more expensive than when Iger was leaving. I liked it too, it was a nice perk. Loved being able to get into the Disney bubble from the moment our luggage disappeared to magically appear at our location! Reservation system, I now feel indifferent about it. If making a reservation does not turn me away from the Disney gates I am open to it. It just needs to be easier for people to make reservations. Not everyone understand the ins/outs of the app. I could see my mom being very confused on making a reservation. I just dislike the reasoning for the reservation system because the parks continue to be very packed… if the purpose was to control crowds it’s not doing its job. If it really accomplished the job then I would be more accepting of the reservation system. For now, it really is pointless. Possibly only useful to Disney for dynamic pricing of tickets. The present Genie (formerly FP) is a mess. I totally dislike it. The old system FP at least guaranteed that people would ride 3 rides while at WDW may not have been their favorites but at least 3 rides this at least felt like you were getting some value for the tickets. I liked the old system. They can continue to keep the system where you can purchase individual ILL if people want to add to it. So far I have not used the ILL. I dislike the Genie+ name. Get rid of it and put a simple name and even LL and ILL ohhhh my goodness couldn’t they have gotten more creative the naming is a mess. Please change it. I dislike how many more people are put on rides that have a LL via Genie+ versus regular ticket holders. This is wrong. Iger needs to fix this. Keep your word when you say you only sell a limited # of Genie+ passes, it really does not seem that way. A cast member told us it is 4x to 1 for loading! Can be as much as 6x to 1 for loading… We recently did a VIP day and it was magical. Can’t say we will be able to participate in another one anytime soon!

    • Libby C,
      Thanks for chiming in. Regarding the items you mentioned, it will be interesting to see what Disney chooses to untangle and avoid. The more I think about it, I’d now be okay with paying for Magical Express if they brought it back in its previous form, but I doubt they will, regardless.

  2. I’d be happy with No Park Reservations especially for our trip in 2023. Then after that I wouldn’t care because I don’t plan to make Disney our primary focus on trips to Florida.

  3. I am sure that the Magical Express is not cheap. But I always wondered why they don’t consider it more of a loss leader. For all the companies that will pay you to sit through a time share or other marketing presentation here you have a captive audience for about 45 minutes where you can pitch Disney Vacation Club, Disney+, or anything else you want (and they did). Seems like it could be worth the effort for that alone.

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