New Concerns Arise for The Walt Disney Company

in Disney, Marvel, Pixar

Bob Iger posing in front of several screens displaying various Disney owned properties

Credit: Disney

As if Disney didn’t have enough on its plate with legal and political battles, new concerns have arisen for the House of Mouse.

At 100 years young, The Walt Disney Company continues tackling a series of changes, challenges, and massive new projects.  Unfortunately, it would appear that Disney needs more than “faith, trust, and pixie dust” to maintain its pristine reputation and continue to be one of the most important entertainment companies in the world.

The Partners statue faces Disney Studio
Credit: Disney

Of course, this title stretches from theme parks worldwide to movies and series from a wide array of studios, including Pixar, Lucasfilm, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Marvel Studios, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, and 20th Century Studios. But could this battle on several fronts be too much for the company?

Upcoming changes for Disney Parks

Continuing with the company’s commitment to improvement and innovation, striving to provide the most magical experiences for guests of all ages, Disney Parks worldwide are undergoing a series of changes, bringing breathtaking projects to life across the world.

Of course, Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, is Disney’s crown jewel to many, and Disney is ready to go full steam ahead in giving the resort a complete makeover.

Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom
Credit: Victoria Mills

Related: Disney’s Viral Mishap Reveals Exciting Additions Coming Soon!

During this year’s Destination D23 presentation, Disney revealed a series of drastic transformations planned for Walt Disney World Resort’s four theme parks — Magic Kingdom Theme Park, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, and EPCOT.

With projects ranging from new characters debuting at the parks, complete makeovers of beloved lands to bring new stories to life, exciting new expansions, huge changes to fan-favorite attractions, and more, it’s safe to say that the Orlando-based Disney Resort will continue to honor its title as the Most Magical Place on Earth.

Concept art for the all-new area coming to Animal Kingdom inspired by Encanto and Indiana Jones
Credit: Disney Parks Blog

Related: Disney Unveils Disappointing New Attractions, Immediately Revokes Decision

Of course, Disneyland Resort couldn’t fall behind, as Disney executives continue to push forward with a billion-dollar, multi-decade expansion project in Walt Disney’s original theme park in California, aiming to bring a third theme park to life in the Southern California Disney Resort!

Additionally, Disney officials recently revealed an update on the upcoming Avengers ride inspired by the MCU at Avengers Campus in Disney California Adventure.

Concept art of DisneylandForward (Disneland expansion project) inspired by Disney's 'Tangled'
Credit: DisneylandForward / Disneyland

And Disney Parks overseas are not the exception. From the upcoming opening of World of Frozen at Hong Kong Disneyland — a breathtaking expansion inspired by Disney’s award-winning movie Frozen (2013) — to an all-new immersive area inspired by classic stories from England like Peter Pan and Mary Poppins and a Tangled-themed attraction, all leading to the lake in front of the highly anticipated Frozen land at Walt Disney Studios Park in Disneyland Paris, guests have plenty of projects to look forward to as Disney celebrates 100 years of making magic.

Disney100 Celebrations

The Walt Disney Company is commemorating 100 years of wonder with the Disney100 celebrations across the entire company, including Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort, Walt Disney Animation Studios, and more.

For 100 years, Disney has created stories, magic, and memories that have captivated generations of fans eager to experience the company’s breathtaking storytelling through its movies and immersive theme park experiences. Unfortunately, Disney’s centennial has been stained by multiple complications the company has had to face in 2023.

Mickey and Minnie in front of the Disney100 sign
Credit: Disney

Related: Move Over Orlando, Disney Ready to Set Multi-Million-Dollar Project in Motion

2023, a rough year for Disney

In late 2022, Disney CEO Bob Iger took over The Walt Disney Company once again, replacing the divisive former CEO Bob Chapek. Iger’s return immediately started a wave across the company, despite some executives claiming his takeover was unrelated to positive changes. 

While Bob Iger’s return to the company created high expectations for Disney fans worldwide, 2023 has not been a kind year for The Walt Disney Company.

Disney CEO Bob Iger posing behind a model of Shanghai Disney Resort
Credit: D23

The Walt Disney Company has been embroiled in a series of lawsuits, legal battles, and other concerning problems throughout this year. From demonstrations of hate groups storming Disney World to increasingly disturbing guest behavior at the parks, it would appear that Disney has enough on its plate.

Perhaps the most notable and lengthiest problem the company has faced is the legal and political battle against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, triggered by DeSantis’ divisive Parental Rights in Education Act — commonly known as “Don’t Say Gay.” Since DeSantis’ crusade against Disney’s alleged “woke agenda” kicked off in 2022, fans of the company and followers of the Florida Governor have seen lawsuits flying back and forth, resignations, aggressive public statements, and more.

Ron DeSantis scared at Cinderella Castle amid his conflict against Disney
Credit: Inside the Magic

Related: Disney “Reclaiming the Magic,” DeSantis No Longer an Obstacle

Of course, this has damaged both parties’ public image, severely impacting theme park attendance at Walt Disney World Resort’s four theme parks and affecting Disney’s value in the stock market.

Additionally, Disney was recently forced to pay nearly $10 million in reparations, which some have pointed out as unfair, following a lengthy lawsuit for deceptive business practices at Disneyland Resort.

Guests with MagicBands in front of "it's a small world" while on their Disney World vacation
Credit: Disney

Related: Disneyland on a Budget, the Best Dates To Visit in 2024

As if that wasn’t enough, Disney has also faced a rough year at the box office, with movies underperforming and creating outrage online ahead of their premiere.

One of the most notable examples is the racist backlash Halle Bailey’s casting in The Little Mermaid ignited. Although the movie powered through and broke box office records, movies like Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (2023) and Haunted Mansion (2023) didn’t run with the same luck.

(L-R): Rosario Dawson as Gabbie, Tiffany Haddish as Harriet, LaKeith Stanfield as Ben, and Owen Wilson as Father Kent in Disney's live-action HAUNTED MANSION
Credit: Jalen Marlowe/Disney

Related: Disney Executive Reveals Johnny Depp’s Involvement in Latest Project

Disney’s latest live-action remake, Snow White, featuring Rachel Zegler as Snow White and Gal Gadot as the Evil Queen, has also received severe backlash online, even sparking rumors of the movie’s cancellation, particularly after Zegler’s strong declarations about the film and Disney’s bold decision to leave little people out of the remake’s cast.

However, a new concern has arisen for The Walt Disney Company, and it could change the course of the company’s streaming service, Disney+, forever.

Rachel Zegler pretending to be Snow White in front of a poster of the classic animated princess
Credit: Rachel Zegler via Twitter

Disney’s new concern

It is no secret that Disney is in a constant race against other theme park and entertainment moguls like NBCUniversal, owner of Universal Studios Theme Parks worldwide, Sony, Warner Bros., and ViacomCBS. However, it appears that Disney’s biggest competitor is now… itself?

How has Disney+ changed?

Since The Walt Disney Company’s streaming service, Disney+, launched in November 2019, the platform has undergone multiple changes, including a massive purge of content and the upcoming password-sharing restrictions. Perhaps some of the most notorious changes to Disney+ content are the modifications to some classic stories on the platform.

Disney has also modified some of its beloved movies, including Peter Pan (1953), Aladdin (1992), A Goofy Movie (1995), Fantasia (1940), The Little Mermaid (1989), and Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), as well as more recent projects like Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021) on Disney+ motivated by The Walt Disney Company’s constant efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The original Disney Peter Pan
Credit: Disney

Related: Disney Reportedly Implements Strict Censorship Effective Immediately

The platform is home to beloved Disney classics like Snow White, Bambi, and Cinderella, as well as new Disney+ original shows, including projects from Lucasfilm’s Star Wars franchise and Willow saga — which was recently put in the eye of the storm — and Marvel Studios, continuing with the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), such as Loki, WandaVision, and She-Hulk.

But despite the ever-expanding catalog available on Disney+, the company faces a severe problem with its streaming service.

Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano in 'Ahsoka'
Credit: Lucasfilm

Related: ‘Ahsoka’ Slammed Amid ‘Star Wars’ Fatigue and Disney+ Removals

Disney’s problem with streaming

Unfortunately, a recent report revealed that, despite Disney’s extreme efforts to develop the Marvel Cinematic Universe in theaters and through the Disney+ original series, together with Kevin Feige, the company has failed to have the expected success on these projects.

User @TVGrimReaper recently shared the Nielsen Top 10 Disney+ Originals list on X (formerly known as Twitter), revealing that the latest MCU projects released as Disney+ original series like Loki (2021 – 2023) and Secret Invasion (2023) have had lower viewership than some of Pixar Studios’ most divisive movies, including Luca (2021) and Turning Red (2022).

Nielsen Top 10 Disney+ Originals (Shows & Movies), US TV Viewing, week ending 9/17/23

Comp: A single 1 hr episode watched by 1 million people = 60 million minutes

The most disturbing fact is that both movies, Luca and Turning Red, are not new releases, compared to Secret Invasion, released this year, and Loki, currently airing new episodes weekly on Disney+.

Following Disney’s purchase of Marvel Studios in 2009, the company has emphasized the expansion of the MCU into short-format shows that have sparked conversation, whether that be with praise as was the case for the first season of Loki, or harsh criticism like She-Hulk and Ms. Marvel.

Loki, OB, Mobius, and Hunter B-15 in 'Loki'
Credit: Marvel Studios

Disney likely hoped that Disney+ viewers and fans of the MCU would glom onto the streaming service’s original shows; this report shows quite the opposite. While both Loki and Secret Invasion made it to the top 10, both projects are in the second half of the chart. Similarly, Andor ranked with low viewership despite critical acclaim.

Despite Pixar’s Chief Creative Officer Pete Docter’s hopes that Disney might re-pivot to focus on Pixar in the coming years, Disney has not addressed these concerning results or announced a change of course in the company’s massive range of content creation. It is true that the MCU rakes in millions in theatrical releases, but it seems that even the best Marvel shows cannot top Pixar on Disney+.

Do you think Disney should focus on animated features and ditch the Marvel Studios series? Has the MCU gotten out of the company’s hands? Share your opinion with Inside the Magic in the comments below!

in Disney, Marvel, Pixar

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