The Best Seven Words to Describe Disney in 2022
Every year, MickeyBlog attempts to summarize twelve months of Disney history with a few short words.
You can imagine what a challenge that is for the past year. Here are the best seven words to describe Disney’s 2022.
You know what I mean. You lived through the trauma.
Disney’s 2022 campaign proved so unpredictable that its own CEO couldn’t attend an Elton John concert without something wildly improbable happening.
As a reminder, that’s the night that Disney fired Bob Chapek…and the company was livestreaming the concert on Disney+. It was that kind of year.
During 2022, Walt Disney World somehow lost the Reedy Creek Improvement District, something it’d had since well before the parks even existed.
Disney also hired a communications director and then fired him after only a few months.
The CEO picked up the phone and terminated a well-respected television executive during a frosty seven-minute call.
A former CEO quit on January 1st and was back on the job by late November.
Central Florida suffered through one of the worst hurricanes on record, a weather event with wind speeds of 165 miles per hour.
Like, 2022 was so chaotic that this entire article could be about just this one word and how it applied to the company.
For a family-friendly company, Disney proved shockingly treacherous in 2022. Think about what happened from this perspective.
On January 1st, 2022, Disney stopped running Magical Express for the first time in more than 15 years.
That move felt like a knife to the back of frequent Disney vacationers who have relied on Magical Express to extend the Disney Bubble to Orlando International Airport.
Then, Disney somehow took such a poor approach to Florida’s Don’t Say Gay bill that it alienated both sides of the political aisle. That’s all but impossible to do these days.
Disney vacillated too long and chose not to commit, thereby alienating its dedicated cast members.
Then, the company eventually came out against the bill, angering its lawmakers enough to trigger a backlash.
We also suffered through a year of silence regarding annual passes and Disney dining plans, previously constant amenities available to loyal customers.
Finally, Disney (understandably) betrayed its own leader when the Board of Directors fired Bob Chapek. It’s hard to be more disloyal than what happened here, and it extended beyond Chapek.
Many Disney executives recognized that when they went to the board with complaints, they found sympathetic people.
In short, nobody at Disney trusted its own leadership on several layers, the breathing definition of disloyal.
Oww! My wallet hurts!
That’s probably because it took a repeated pounding from Bob Chapek during the 2022 calendar year.
The year started with the elimination of Magical Express, forcing people to pay for airport transportation for the first time since 2005.
Then, we watched Disney Genie+ go from a $15-a-day service to one with variable pricing that has already reached $29 at times!
Simultaneously, seemingly everything at the parks either increased in price or diminished in portions.
MickeyBlog is still trying to figure out what happened to the rest of this salad.
Walt Disney World somehow didn’t even sell new annual passes during 2022, but it found a way to raise prices anyway! How is that even possible?!
I could go on, but there’s no point. Disney’s ousted CEO didn’t earn the nickname of Bob Paycheck by accident.
That dude was greedy, and his decisions cost Disney fans a lot of money.
Is Disney moving its staff from California to Florida? Will Bob Iger reset many of the policies that Bob Chapek put in place? What’s the deal with annual passes and the dining plan?
I’m asking these questions because I’m just as lost as the rest of you, and I’m paid to know these things!
If you understand everything that happened at Disney this past year, you’re not just smarter than me. You’re smarter than everyone and should be worshiped as a deity.
Disney’s decision-making made so little sense at times during 2022 that I was genuinely nervous whenever my phone buzzed.
The message I got could have been anything from “Chapek just raised prices again” to “Animal Kingdom hyenas have overthrown the park.” Both were equally plausible.
Seriously, when I got the notification that Iger had replaced Chapek as CEO, I laughed like The Joker.
I may have been criminally insane at that moment. Disney had broken me that much.
When a company commits this many unforced errors in the same year, it’s simply impossible to predict or understand.
We could have started so many stories this past year with “A Florida company…” rather than “A Florida man…” and the meme would have felt just as fitting.
I’ve recently done all the legwork for some of the end-of-year content you’ll read on MickeyBlog. In doing so, I compiled a mega-list of the stories of the year.
I can say with complete sincerity that the outsized portion of the list involves amenity and attraction reopenings at Disney theme parks and resorts.
You honestly wouldn’t believe how many park-related events Disney brought back in 2022.
I legitimately believe that Disney reopened more stuff in 2022 than any other theme park in the world actually owns!
We’re talking about everything from Fantasmic! to character meals to dining experiences like Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue.
I’ll post the full list in a different article, but I can say with confidence that Disney proved remarkably resilient in 2022.
No matter what happened in 2020, 2021, or 2022, the company managed to overcome either internal or external circumstances to keep the machine’s wheels turning.
I mean, over the past nine months, the company overcame Florida’s government, two Hurricanes, and the problematic decisions of Bob Chapek. That’s a LOT!
Disney underwhelmed its fans in so many different ways in 2022.
Films like Lightyear and Strange World fell somewhere between box office disappointments and financial disasters.
In terms of quality, neither one quite lived up to the Disney/Pixar brands, either.
Similarly, while I happened to like all three, the MCU titles that came out in 2022 – Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Thor: Love and Thunder, and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – had their detractors.
In fact, a vocal minority of moviegoers actively despise at least one of Dr. Strange 2/Thor 4.
I heard so many rants about the music fight scene and the overall tone of Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead-ish Marvel movie. As for Thor, some disliked the darker nature of the story.
Then, we had the business aspects of Disney, which will be a hot topic during our end-of-year reviews. Disney repeatedly spit the bit.
To wit, Disney stock began the year trading at $155. Today, depending on when this article publishes, it’s probably in the low-$90s.
Thankfully, Iger’s return to power ensures that investors will give Disney more benefit of the doubt in 2023, but this year did NOT turn out the way anyone had hoped…except maybe Iger himself.
Seriously, we will NEVER forget a lot of what happened this year. You’ve probably gotten that idea by reading to this point in the article.
Disney had a CEO retire, feud with his replacement, and then very publicly backstab the guy. And that might not even be the biggest story of the year!
Hurricane Ian and the Reedy Creek Improve District/Don’t Say Gay nonsense are right there with Iger’s return.
These are generational sorts of stories, but all of them happened in the same calendar year!
When the pandemic started in 2020, I honestly believed Disney would never experience such a tumultuous year again during my lifetime.
In reality, an even more shocking series of events occurred just two years later!
I don’t know about you, but I’m absolutely terrified about what will happen in 2023.
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Feature Phhoto: Handout // Getty Images