For the last year and a half, the Walt Disney Company has had to contend with a surprising number of challenges.
Now, as health measures start to lift and health officials begin to okay something of a return to normal, Disney executives, Disney employees, and Disney guests alike are looking to the future of the Disney parks. We are checking out a few recent quotes from Disney CEO Bob Chapek as Disney continues to work through this time of change. So, what does Chapek have to say about the future of the Disney parks?
1. On In-Park Experience Changes
This first quote came during the J.P. Morgan Global Technology, Media, and Communications Conference. Chapek was talking about Virtual Queues, Mobile Order, Mobile Check-in, and other technology-based tools for guests.
He said these tools are “likely to impact their [Disney’s] prospects going into the future.” During this call, he also called Virtual Queues a “guest experience lever” to help with long lines and high-demand attractions.
Ultimately, the thought is that these tools help guests to have a better time when they’re in the parks. Of course, these quotes are on the vague side, but it could mean we’ll see Virtual Queues, Mobile Order, and Contactless Hotel Check-in stick around in the long term.
2. On Future Demand Levels
Chapek has also recently made comments about demand going forward, especially in the immediate future. During an interview on CNBC’s Fast Money segment, Chapek said, “Our demand, for example, at Walt Disney World is already back to 2019 levels in terms of forward bookings…That’s all going to pay big dividends for us and our shareholders going forward because they’ve got confidence in Disney and they can’t wait.”
Later, in the Q2 Earnings Call for the Walt Disney Company, he said, “We’ve got plenty of demand.”
These quotes seem to indicate that the financial outlook for the Disney parks is a positive one despite the fact that they’ve lost billions of dollars over the last fiscal year. With demand in good shape, we may continue to see Cast Members called to return to work and capacity increases — as long as guests and Cast Members can remain safe.
3. On Returning Cast Members
Speaking of returning Cast Members, during the Earnings Call, Chapek noted that the loosening of mask mandates in the Disney parks will be a driver of demand. He said, “So we think that’s going to make for an even more pleasant experience. And we believe that as we’re now bringing back a lot of people back to work, that it’s going to be an even bigger catalyst for growth in attendance.”
This quote indicates not only optimism in the return of guests to the park but also optimism in the return of Cast Members. Chapek, of course, does not make any promises or go into specifics, but this could mean that Disney’s Cast Members will continue to be called back in the coming months.
4. On Park Capacity Levels
Another quote from the Earnings Call indicated that capacity will be increasing over the coming months. Chapek noted that there would be “an immediate increase in the number of folks that we’re able to admit into our parks through our reservation system.”
This may mean that we will continue to see a steady increase. Of course, a positive consequence of that is that there will be more Disney Park Pass reservations available. Higher capacity may mean larger crowds, but it also means more flexibility when planning your Disney vacation.
5. On a Disneyland Annual Pass Replacement
Chapek also indicated during the Earnings Call that there is a new offering underway to give Disneyland guests a replacement loyalty program after Disneyland Annual Passes were discontinued.
He said, “And as you all know, we ended our current annual pass program at Disneyland, and that gives us a chance to sort of create a modern version of a park loyalty program, an affinity program that isn’t necessarily governed by legacy.”
Disney has yet to announce what this new program will look like but it certainly is an exciting update for the future that a new program is coming. We will be keeping an eye out for information about Disneyland’s new program so that you can be in the loop too!
Overall, the Walt Disney Company does tend to keep things close to the chest until they are ready to announce changes. So, we’ll be keeping a very close eye out for updates about the Disney parks. As always, stay tuned for all the latest on the Walt Disney Company.
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What do you think of these quotes? Tell us in the comments!