If you’ve scrolled through any social media lately, you may have seen the hashtag, #BoycottDisney, but you may be wondering, “why are people mad at Disney?” There are several reasons, which have built up a pretty angry fanbase, even of people who once loved Disney and all they stood for deeply.
Here is a list of the numerous reasons Disney is under fire by fans and staff in January of 2023, though this movement has been going on for at least a year now. That way you can stay educated and informed, and maybe even get involved in the movement as well.
Why Are People Mad at Disney?
There are several reasons people are mad at Disney. Of course, the community is torn about many of these reasons, with some people supporting Disney, and others finding themselves irritated with the way Disney was acting.
1. Getting Involved in Politics
A big issue with Disney right now is its involvement in politics. Disney spoke out against the governor of Florida and his “Don’t Say Gay” campaign. However, it ended up backfiring on Disney, as not many were actually happy with Disney’s opinion.
Those on the side of the governor, and more anti-LGBTQ+ feel that Disney is just trying to fit in and that they shouldn’t have an opinion either way. Those that stand with the LGBTQ+ community argue that Disney took too long to get involved. In fact, they didn’t publicly say anything until workers in the park staged a walkout in protest.
They thought that since Disney is supposed to be a leader in progressive behaviors and inclusion, not immediately giving their opinion was them actually supporting the campaign, instead of the inclusivity they preach.
A lot of people in the LGBTQ+ community are already saying that Disney is just being inclusive enough to curb anger against them, such as the very faint representation in their more recent shows and movies, and their slow involvement only confirmed that notion for many.
2. Lack of Leadership
Another big problem with Disney right now is the lack of leadership, according to fans and critics alike. The CEO, Bob Chapek, is being accused of causing the fall of the once much-loved Disney World.
It isn’t just customers that are having issues with him either. There have been reports of a lot of tension between him and other members of staff, including a fight between him and Bob Iger. The tension both inside and outside of the administration has led to a poor image of the park people once viewed as a magical place to be.
He is said to not care about customers at all, or his staff, taking a big pay increase while thousands of staff members were fired and many more underpaid. Then, he increased the prices in much of the park and blamed it on inflation. This left a bad taste in many people’s mouths and they are waiting for a new CEO to be appointed before they return.
3. Star Wars
Recently, Disney has released a two-night immersive experience surrounding Star Wars with the Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser. Many fans of both the series and Disney were excited to try it out, but not that many got to try it, thanks to the experience costing $4,000 to $5,000 just for two people.
Still, some people were willing to pay the price tag to give the experience a shot. Many were ultimately disappointed. There was nothing that made the event stand out or account for the steep price tag.
This wasn’t the only attraction that did terribly in recent years, either. It seems that most of the new attractions were met with criticism and disappointment. Many people, seeing the bad reviews, have also canceled their reservations for the attraction, which has caused it to often shut down on certain days due to a lack of guests.
People with reservations on those canceled days get the option to rebook at a 50% discount, but for the money, most people are just opting to spend it on something else rather than trying to reschedule their vacation.
4. Replacement of the Fastpass System
The FastPass system has been around Disney for a long time. It was a free service that allowed people to skip the queues and get on rides faster if they signed up for them at certain times. People that were single riders could also get in pretty early and fill in empty spaces.
As of the end of 2022, FastPass was eliminated, and replaced with Disney Genie+. Unfortunately, this has led to many people being upset as the free service now costs $15 to $20 a day per person. It is a mobile app that people can download specifically for their Disney experience.
Another issue is that with FastPass, you could reserve spots at rides and attractions up to 60 days in advance. However, with Genie+, it can only be done the day of, starting at 7 AM, which means you have to wake up early and fight others for the reservations. At some parks, you can’t even make reservations until you enter the park.
While Genie+ does have some other benefits, many people find that paying for them just shows how greedy Disney has gotten, especially combined with some of these other issues.
5. Problems with Customer Service
Disney has been known for having amazing customer service. This was why people were always so happy with the company – because they went above and beyond to make sure that their customers were happy and having a magical time wherever they were.
However, recently, customer service has been a lot more standard, and even downright bad in some cases. No longer do paying customers feel like a priority.
Not only are their questions and concerns not being answered, but the parks are dirtier and no one seems to care about any of their complaints. Even the actors in the parks are more half-hearted and not into their roles as they used to be.
It should be noted that some of these complaints are from people who used to abuse Disney’s amazing customer service by getting free items and discounts whenever they complained about even minor inconveniences.
The customer’s always-right mentality is waning, and that includes Disney. However, some of these complaints are from the average person who felt let down by the park’s atmosphere.
Part of this may be due to the mass layoffs. If those that were experienced in the Disney style of customer service were fired for newer staff, then a lot of the magic is gone and there is no one to train them in the right way to behave.
6. No More Complimentary Offerings
Disney has always been an expensive experience, something that people save up for, but it was worth it for many to get to visit the park and create memories you can only get at Disney. But a lot of the complimentary offerings that made the whole adventure run smoother and feel more unique are going away.
Some of the ones that people are more upset about include the free Magicbands now becoming a paid thing. In addition to these wristbands going from free to $35 apiece, the Magical Express transportation to bring people in to and from the airport for free was also canceled so now people must pay for a taxi or ride to get from the airport to the park.
The FastPass system, which allowed people to register times to visit attractions and rides in advance for free so they didn’t have to wait in line, was also removed and replaced with two paid services. These paid services also have a lot fewer perks, including shorter booking times, and limited spaces.
7. Reduced Benefits for People Using Hotels
There used to be perks to using Disney hotels instead of just a nearby hotel. While there was a higher cost, the perks and benefits definitely made it worth it. However, along with the many other things cut to save money, hotel perks were also slashed.
Not only is staying at the hotel ridiculous, with a week in Universal’s Harry Potter hotel costing about $2,000 cheaper, but you don’t get much for your money. You get two breakfasts per person at select restaurants, a lanyard, and a box for keepsakes, and that is it.
Guests used to get a dining plan and delicious meals for staying in the hotel, there is no more free parking even at the hotel, the bracelets that are used for room keys and extra benefits throughout the park are no longer free, and there isn’t a free hour for people staying in the hotel before the rest of the guests could come in.
Having fewer perks or a more expensive experience isn’t all that negative, especially in today’s market with the rising cost of inflation, but with both happening at the same time, customers feel that the experience wasn’t nearly as pleasant as the times they had gone in the past.
8. Increased Prices
While the increase in prices likely isn’t the number one reason that people are upset at Disney, it does seem to be the final straw that set many people off. Disney has always been fairly expensive, something that people saved up for. In this economy as well, where inflation is raising prices left and right, it is to be somewhat expected.
However, the price increase for Disney was so dramatic and incredible that people couldn’t help but take notice. Not only have the base prices increased, such as simple park passes, but many things that were once free or cheap have increased in price.
There are also a lot of price changes that have upset people, sometimes more than the price increase.
For example, people used to be able to visit multiple parks in a day if they were residents of Florida. Even if they weren’t, the passes to different parks were the same price. Now, everyone can only visit one park a day without buying a far more expensive ticket, and the parks all vary in size.
Not only has the price of daily passes increased, but so have annual passes, multi-day passes, and hotel passes. Food and drinks inside the park have also increased in cost. This has led to anger because it feels that Disney has given up on its customer base and feels they can take advantage of them and they will still show up.
It’s not just the parks either. Disney has been problematic with their streaming service as well. Many people were upset that the company charges a fairly high price for their rather limited services, and then still makes certain movies and shows cost an additional fee for a while.
9. Layoffs and Underpaying Staff
Another big issue is that Disney, in addition to no longer caring about their customers, seems to not care about their staff either. Not only did Disney perform mass layoffs, firing over 28,000 staff members, but they also don’t pay their existing staff much.
Disney gets around local living wages because it claims to be its own governing body. This means that they don’t have to follow minimum wage standards in the area or the state. So they technically aren’t breaking any laws, but many people still recognize that what Disney is doing is scummy.
While they stay within the minimum wage ranges and aren’t legally underpaying their staff, many people criticize the executives for getting more raises while much of their staff can’t even afford rent.
The grand-niece of Walt Disney himself, Abigail Disney even spoke up about the way Disney is taking advantage of their workers.