Disney CEO Bob Iger Outlines Disney’s Response to Epic Universe Competition

Disney CEO Bob Iger was questioned about Universal’s upcoming Florida theme park Epic Universe during The Walt Disney Company’s 2024 Meeting of Shareholders. Specifically, Iger was asked about Disney’s response – or lack of response – ahead of Epic Universe opening in 2025.

Iger’s answer started with him saying Disney has been aware of Universal’s plans for a new theme park for more than a decade. Instead of looking to the future at Walt Disney World, Iger instead chose to focus on the past. He said Disney has staggered major additions at Walt Disney World instead of doing it all at once.

“By staggering these major launches, we’ve been able to commercially and operationally optimize our new offerings over time rather than having to do it all at once. And based on the guest experience that we’ve heard all about, from all of these items that I just mentioned, we know that they’re extremely popular and they’re serving our guests extremely well.”

Disney CEO Bob Iger

Iger cited specific updates at Walt Disney World in his response, including TRON Lightcycle Run at Magic Kingdom, Cosmic Rewind and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure at EPCOT, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Pandora at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. He also mentioned the transformation of EPCOT.

But, Iger didn’t touch on any new or upcoming plans that would directly compete with Epic Universe when it opens. Disney has teased big changes at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and even filed permits indicating work may be on the horizon. Concept art for that “possible” change to Dinoland USA can be seen below.

Concept art for potential Encanto and Indiana Jones area in Disney's Animal Kingdom.

For what it’s worth, Iger did briefly touch on an Avatar expansion at Disneyland Resort. That tease also falls into the category of “possible” expansion that hasn’t been formally greenlit or announced. Disney’s mantra of late is to show concept art for ideas that could happen.

Despite Iger’s polarizing answer, we do believe Disney will announce some major projects at D23 this summer. The problem is that none of those ideas will be ready to compete against Epic Universe in 2025. Disney may not have anything substantially new at Walt Disney World until at least a few years after Epic Universe opens. Disney doesn’t have the speediest of construction timelines.

Epic Universe promises to shake things up in the Orlando theme park scene. The park will be home to lands and rides themed to Harry Potter, How to Train Your Dragon, Nintendo, classic Universal monsters, and more. Epic Universe aims to raise the bar for Universal, and make Universal more of a multi-day destination. Everything they’ve released suggests Epic Universe will be a fantastic addition for theme park fans.

Is Disney’s strategy against Epic Universe the right one? Or should they be doing more ahead of Epic Universe opening?

Keep visiting NotesFromNeverland.com for the latest Disney news and information.

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David
David
David is a Disney travel expert who created Notes from Neverland in 2018 after visiting Disney theme parks countless times. Previously, David spent way too much time writing about sports, and was featured in Sports Illustrated, MSN, Yahoo!, and in many other publications. Learn more or contact us.

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