The Biggest News from Disney’s First 2023 Earnings Call: Layoffs, Park Changes, and New Movie Sequels Are Coming

by | Feb 9, 2023 | News Outside the Parks

CEO Bob Iger shared financial results from 2022 and looked ahead to all that’s planned for 2023 in The Walt Disney Company’s first earnings call of 2023 – and he also gave a preview of what’s planned for the rest of the year.

During a February 8, 2023 call with investors and shareholders, Disney CEO Bob Iger announced a whole lot of critical company news. We’re breaking down what Disney fans need to know, and how all of the most important news from this call will likely shape the company heading into the rest of 2023.

Here are the biggest reveals from Iger’s call.

Disney Will Cut 7,000 Jobs as the Company Reorganizes

Last year, former CEO Bob Chapek announced that a hiring freeze was planned for Disney’s 220,000 employees around the world. While that move wound up paused as the result of his ousting in late 2022, it looks like the pause will continue – and layoffs are happening. 

Iger revealed that Disney will cut 7,000 jobs from its global workforce. These layoffs are happening both as part of a multibillion-dollar cost-cutting effort and an effort to streamline and reorganize the company’s operations. These layoffs will total 3 percent of Disney’s current employees.

“While this is necessary to address the challenges we’re facing today, I do not make this decision lightly,” Iger said in regards to the layoffs. “I have enormous respect and appreciation for the talent and dedication of our employees worldwide, and I’m mindful of the personal impact of these changes.”

Iger also explained how Disney’s job cuts and other cost-cutting efforts will combine to save money during today’s uncertain economic climate. He noted that the company is aiming to save a total of $5.5 billion company-wide. $2.5 billion of that amount is expected to come from “non-content” operations, such as movies and television shows.

These cost-cutting efforts, along with other initiatives planned to save the company money, will pay off for shareholders. Iger also revealed that Disney will resume dividend payments now that the pandemic has ended.

Big Changes Are Coming to Disney Theme Parks

Fans of Disney’s theme parks have some good news to look forward to! During the earnings call, Iger highlighted some of the ways in which the theme parks have shifted their operations over the past year. He explained that park capacity has been reduced by 20 percent during peak periods, compared to pre-pandemic levels, which is possible through the not-so-popular Parks Pass Reservation system.

However, there was an important note in this reveal: Iger pointed out that the Parks Pass Reservation system is helping Disney to “improve the guest experience.” This was a central theme in the discussion of Disney theme parks during the call, as Iger emphasized the company is focused on delivering a better guest experience going forward. That’s great news for Disney fans who’ve been less than thrilled with many of the changes at the parks since their post-pandemic reopenings.

In fact, Iger touted some key new changes at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland that will give guests both more flexibility and more value for their money. Here’s a look at a few of the slides from the presentation:

2023 Disney Q1 Earning Call Slides

Screenshot from The Walt Disney Company

2023 Q1 Disney Earnings Call Slides

Screenshot from The Walt Disney Company

As you can see, the focus throughout 2023 will center around improving guests’ in-park experiences. Changes like managing attendance, increasing access for Annual Passholders and those with Magic Keys, improving the Park Hopper experience, and making lower-priced tickets more readily available will be central to this effort.

Oh, and there was one more big surprise slipped into this part of the call: An Avatar-themed experience is coming to Disneyland Resort! While Iger’s mention was brief and we have no firm details yet, this exciting news means more Disney fans will get to see the world of Pandora come to life!

Disney is Working on Three Big Film Sequels

In addition to some exciting theme park news, Iger also revealed that there are some big updates happening in Disney’s film franchises! During the call, he announced that sequels are in the works for three popular film franchises, saying: “Today, I’m so pleased to announce that we have sequels in the works from our animation studios to some of our most popular franchises: Toy Story, Frozen, and Zootopia. We’ll have more to share about these productions soon, but this is a great example of how we’re leaning into our unrivaled brands and franchises.”

While expected release dates are still TBD, fans can look forward to learning more about these brand-new films in the months ahead!

Disney Entertainment Will Be the Focus for the Future

If you were hoping for more insight and news about what will happen at Walt Disney World or Disneyland, unfortunately, Iger is shifting the company’s focus a bit – meaning theme park news is a little light at the moment. As part of Iger’s new strategic direction for The Walt Disney Company, entertainment will be the biggest focus.

Iger revealed that he plans to combine Disney’s different media and content businesses globally (including streaming) into the new Disney Entertainment segment. This big reorganization will help recenter creativity at the heart of the entire company. 

“Our company is fueled by storytelling and creativity,” he said. “I’ve always believed that the best way to spur great creativity is to make sure that people who are managing the creative processes feel empowered. Therefore, our new structure is aimed at returning greater authority to our creative leaders and making them accountable for how their content performs financially. Our former structure severed that link and it must be restored.”

 

Posts by Heather Adams

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Heather is a lifelong Disney fan who grew up at Disneyland and loves spending as much time as possible in the parks. As WDW Magazine’s Content Operations Manager, Heather is a content creator and strategist with experience at a wide variety of different outlets. She’s written for publications including Clean Eating Magazine, Fatherly, The Drive, Task and Purpose, Healthversed, Nation.com, and Car Bibles. Heather also authored the book Fidget!: 101 Ways to Boost Your Creativity and Decrease Stress.
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Authored by
Heather Adams

Heather is a lifelong Disney fan who grew up at Disneyland and loves spending as much time as possible in the parks. As WDW Magazine’s Content Operations Manager, Heather is a content creator and strategist with experience at a wide variety of different outlets. She’s written for publications including Clean Eating Magazine, Fatherly, The Drive, Task and Purpose, Healthversed, Nation.com, and Car Bibles. Heather also authored the book Fidget!: 101 Ways to Boost Your Creativity and Decrease Stress.
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