The Walt Disney Company Had Significant Changes In 2022, Here’s What That Means For 2023

One of the most notable companies in the world is The Walt DisneyDIS
Company (TWDC). With a dozen theme parks, five cruise ships, multiple movie studios, and more under its umbrella TWDC had a big year in 2022, with multiple executive-level shake-ups, new attraction openings at its theme parks, and of course chart-topping movies and streaming series. With 2023 coming quickly, it’s hard not to see how 2022 will affect the company going forward.

The big change at CEO

The biggest change to TWDC was the late season change in CEO. 2022 started with former CEO Bob Chapek at the helm—whom most Disney fans did not like—and is ending with the return of Bob Iger as CEO of the company. Iger will be the CEO for two years while he hand-selects and trains the next chief executive.

The big move was a shock, but a welcome surprise to most Disney fans, who believe Iger will recalibrate the parks to their former glory as well as slow the increase in prices that have skyrocketed over the past few years at the parks. In a company-wide email, Iger sought to bring Disney employees back to the “mission” of the company, which he says is “to bring joy to people through great storytelling.”

In 2023, we hope that Iger will continue to listen to the fans’ voices, not just at the parks, but with movie studios and other Disney-owned properties. Disney has already started to make the parks more inclusive with the addition of animatronic dolls in wheelchairs at Disneyland’s it’s a small world attraction. On both coasts, Disney will be adding an entirely new attraction, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure which will replace Splash Mountain at Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California, and Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida. The attraction is based on Disney’s first African-American princess, Tiana from The Princess and the Frog.

Is reserving everything at the parks in advance the new normal?

One of the biggest gripes Disney fans have had in 2022 is the need to reserve every single thing they want to do at the domestic Disney Parks in advance. From securing park pass reservations to getting up just before 7:00 a.m. at Walt Disney World to purchase Disney Genie+ or individual lightning lanes, going to the Disney Parks is more of a challenge than ever.

But is this the new normal for the Disney Parks? We don’t think so. Iger is keen on making the park experience more user-friendly and in turn that may mean getting rid of or simplifying the park reservation system. There has been no official word from Disney about this, but it’s our hope that getting into the parks in 2023 will be easier, and in turn, allow families to have less stress first thing in the morning before their first cup of coffee.

Do we think that Disney Genie+ is going to go anywhere? Well, no. But with the almost weekly changes to the system based on consumer feedback, Disney is trying to make the paid skip-the-line service more user-friendly, even if the price is on a sliding scale now instead of a fixed cost. It’s also our hope that annual pass holders at Walt Disney World and Magic Key holders at Disneyland will be able to add Disney Genie+ to their tickets for the entire year at a fixed cost, much like how MaxPass was able to be added to a year-long pass at the Disneyland Resort before the pandemic.

Disney+ will continue its dominance in streaming

With 164.2 million subscribers as of October 1, 2022, Disney+, TWDC’s direct-to-consumer streaming service continues to grow and add millions of new fans every year. Overall, TWDC’s entire portfolio of streaming services, which includes Disney+, Disney+ Hotstar, Hulu and ESPN+ have over 235 million global subscribers. In 2023, it’s expected that Disney+ will continue to add new subscribers, even if it’s at a slower pace than at the streaming service’s initial launch in 2019.

Disney fans waited anxiously for new Star Wars and Marvel series like Andor and She-Hulk, respectively, to drop new episodes every week in 2022. Fans also returned to familiar places within these worlds with series like Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Marvel Studios Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. trending on social media throughout the year.

2023 will bring a slate of returning series to the streaming service, including the second season of the animated Star Wars series The Bad Batch and the docu-series Magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. New shows debuting on Disney+ next year include The Muppets Mayhem and the highly anticipated Agatha: Coven of Chaos, a spin-off of the popular WandaVision series.