Revisiting Disney’s Trajectory Over the Last Two Years

Aug 16, 2022



We’ve got a Super Summer Series Surprise for you! For those who have been following along, or those who have just arrived (welcome!!), this summer we’ve been revisiting our favorite Pixie Dust & Profits podcast episodes from seasons past. 

So far, we’ve had such an amazing time listening back to these popular episodes AND giving you updated information from our 2022 perspectives on the topics. This week, though, we’re giving you something a little extra! ✨

When we decided to revisit Episode 020: Balancing Priorities & Surviving in the Day-to-Day, we immediately knew it was going to be different from other Summer Series episodes. We recorded this episode in April 2020, right after the lockdown started. This was deep in shutdown, and we had just begun to see some of the biggest business shifts in history happen right before our eyes. 

Of course, things have changed considerably since COVID first came on the scene, and it might not make sense to look BACK at this episode… so instead, we made a new and improved version of the episode! 

So, let’s discuss what’s happened with Disney since July 2020, and what we can take away from their projects and operations to support our businesses through hard times.

Disney does “new normal” in unexpected ways

On March 15, 2020, Disney closed its magic gates (so very sad) only to reopen them four months later in July of the same year, but with some pretty strict rules in place for returning park guests. 

They began with “soft” launches, each park receiving a different day to reopen with attendance capped and a new reservation service in place for all guests. This service included all areas of the park from attractions, to restaurants, to stores, to modes of park transport. Some of the new major safety measures that were instituted included: 

✅ Temperature checks & required face coverings were mandatory for all visitors and cast members

Magic bands were used whenever possible to facilitate mobile interactions rather than face-to-face (specifically in dining locations). 

✅ An increased use of plexiglass barriers between guests and cast members

✅ Annual passes were no longer available for purchase; only existing annual pass members could renew. 

✅ And the hardest pill to swallow: No parades, fireworks, or character meet-and-greets, and yes, that included character dining. 😭

Despite it all, Disney still remained confident that they could give their guests the same magical experience they’re known for. They even created the “social distancing squad,” a group of friendly cast members trained to enforce safety rules in a fun, energetic way. In all, Disney did a great job “protecting the magic” of the parks in a post-COVID existence. And hey, some form of Disney is always better than no Disney at all! 

Now that it’s been two years since their reopening, Disney has done away with a lot of the stricter guidelines: masks are optional, and parades, fireworks, and character dining and meet-and-greets have all returned. However, there are still some things that remain changed. 

✅ Annual passes are very hard to get, and when you can, the prices have increased from previous years. 

✅ Disney’s reservation system remains in place and is looking like it’s here to stay. You still have to reserve the park you want to visit on the day you plan to. 

✅ You cannot “park hop” until after a certain time of day (2 pm most days, but it may vary). Gone are the days of spontaneity! 

Disney Genie+: Pros and cons

After over a decade, the FastPass system is a thing of the past. Move over and make room for the new kid on the block, Disney Genie+.

Genie+ works a lot like the old method. You purchase the add-on ($20 a person) and have ultimate access to the Lightning Lane on 19 different Disney attractions. But there are limits to this magic, of course. When you choose to use a Lightning Lane on an attraction, you cannot reserve another Lightning Lane spot on a different attraction until you’ve either already completed your previous ride or have waited 2 hours. On top of that, you cannot use Genie+ repeatedly for any of the rides. So, if you plan on riding Haunted Mansion 20 times in one day, be prepared to wait in line for at least 19 of those rides. 

It is interesting that Disney used the time that they were closed to innovate something like their line system. If the parks never closed, would something like Genie+ even exist? We don’t think so! While Disney does address some visitor pain points with this new method, a drawback of the Genie+ system in comparison to the FastPass system is the inability to choose a specific time to return to the attraction, which might leave you racing across the park madder than the Mad Hatter. 

The “new normal” for your small biz 

When we talk about our “new normal,” we’re seeing so many changes. We saw a ton of businesses pivot — especially ones whose services or offers were mostly held in person. We also saw that many people had to decide how to grow their business while kids were at home, family members needed care, and if spouses or partners were laid off.

It was a time of rapid change, and we’re still feeling the ripple effects today. As we navigate a post-COVID world, there are a couple things to take from Disney’s decisions:

☝ Be aware of the current inflation situation. 

Inflation is at a record all-time high, and you need to respond accordingly! Is it time to raise your rates? Do you need to raise your team members’ pay? Remember, what you’re paying yourself right now isn’t what you were paying yourself even a few months ago. If you don’t want to increase rates, how can you decrease your expenses? 

✌ Be flexible – on a whole different level

One of the things we’ve realized is that we want to ENJOY more of what’s going on around us. Don’t miss out, be intentional in slowing things down to open yourself up. Some of this means personal expense choices, like diverting savings or not making investments you planned to make. It’s okay to do this! Life is short, make it sweet. 

We want to hear how your priorities have changed in this “new normal”//“post-COVID” world! 

Reach out to us, we love receiving and answering Instagram DM’s! 

If you’re interested: we are currently taking applications for the next Pixie Dust Live event, click here to submit yours today! 

And if you’re planning a trip to Disney soon, and want to understand more about programs like Genie+ before you get there, visit our good friend Wish Upon a Planner® for all the ins and outs you’ll need for your next magical adventure with the Mouse! 🏰🐭

Download the original transcript right here

Text us! 207-203-6769 ✨



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