Bob Iger Makes Negative Comment About Expedition Everest, Takes to Social Media, Quote Then Changed by Media Outlet

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In an interview published yesterday with Barron’s, Disney CEO Bob Iger provided a rather interesting quote:

The quote seemed to be referring to Expedition Everest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom as “some nondescript coaster somewhere, that maybe is [themed like] India or something”. This quote and others in the story that seemed to disparage the creation of attractions not based on existing franchises (or IPs), enraged many Disney Parks fanatics on twitter and other social media outlets over the last day or so.

After hours of Disney fans taking to social media to defend Expedition Everest (including Imagineer Joe Rohde who headed up that Animal Kingdom project and his seemingly passive aggressive post) and voice their displeasure with the current direction of the Parks and Resorts, Mr. Iger took the time to reply to a single tweet (something his does incredibly rarely):

Mr. Iger certainly could have meant something else, and whether he did or he did not, he felt the need to defend his quote. Things, however, have gone a step farther…

Today, Barron’s went so far as to alter the quote in their story:

The quote was changed from “some nondescript coaster somewhere, that maybe is [themed like] India or something” to “some nondescript coaster somewhere”. If just the words in the brackets had changed, that might be understandable as those were created by the author, but the words “India or” also vanished. Not being in parenthesis, the story indicated that these words were without doubt spoken by Bob Iger in this interview.

I’m sure some of you are asking why this matters. Well, altering a quote is extraordinarily unethical in the world of journalism, unless the quote was made up or dubiously altered by the author. If the quote from the person being interviewed was made up by the author, well, you typically would relieve that writer of their duties for making such an unethical decision. What actually happened here is anyone’s guess, but the sensible line of thought would be that Disney asked Barron’s to alter the quote to combat the backlash that it was receiving. This tells us that someone in the Disney organization was upset with what was said.

Mr. Iger should know that this is “a big no-no” in the industry as he attended the Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College. I’m sure the Media Law and Ethics classes at Ithaca College are based on the same principles as those taught anywhere else, but I can’t speak from experience.

So, what happened? Did Disney pressure Barron’s to change the quote? Was Iger misquoted? Did Iger accidentally indicate that an IP-based overlay (similar in concept to California Screaming’ becoming the Incredicoater) is coming during the upcoming, unannounced refurbishment of Expedition Everest? Or did Iger just say something nasty about an attraction based on an original concept at a Disney theme park? We’ll probably never know.

Well, what do you think?

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About the author

Tom Corless

Tom has been regularly visiting the Walt Disney World® Resort from the time he was 4 months old. While he has made countless visits in the last 28 years, he did not become a truly active member in the Disney fan community until the summer of 2007, when he decided to launch the WDW News Today website and podcast. Tom has since become an Orlando-local and is a published author on Walt Disney World.
Contact Tom at [email protected]

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  • I’m scared for the future of Disney parks and the possibility of getting a new non-ip based ride anytime soon. This is sad news.

  • Iger said “or something” after “India” implying that he was not speaking about any attraction in specific. I don’t know what to say about Barron’s changing the quote; however, I’m sure they got Iger’s permission to change the said quote. All he was saying is that the new IP based attractions are bringing in new guests for their parks, compared to non-IP based attractions, which don’t bring in as many new guests. No insults to any attraction, just simply stating the facts about the causes of increases in attendance and revenue that correlates with the introduction of new IP based attractions to their parks worldwide.

      • Attendance only increasing by offering Florida residents huge discounts, and large groups free ticket and dining (thus the dining plan, thus poorer and poorer quality food, when it’s basically a gimmick to convince people to come to the poorly run and overly crowded parks). Disney World is having problems. You can only treat it like a trashy call girl so long, w/o expecting guests to see that the goal is not them having a good time, it’s the they’re ripped off.

    • Bob Chapek is not even being considered to take over. They’re looking externally. Iger has brought historic growth to disney parks, and will likely continue to do so.

  • With everything needing a reference to an IP then what about the two year refurb to Spaceship Earth. Is it going to be a car ride through the death star or something? All you have to do is put a dish on the exterior and you’d be set.

  • I was literally commenting yesterday about how much I loved the theming in the Asia area of Animal Kingdom, comparing it to Toy Story land. Everything is put together so nicely and subtly that it actually took my mind away to a different part of the world, all while sitting in the middle of Florida. Toy Story Land, on the other hand, has some initial “ooh!” factor, but not much beyond that. I am looking forward to returning to Animal Kingdom much more than I am Hollywood Studios based on the way it made me feel, and not because there is some random Up tie in or something else of that sort.

  • The author of the article shortened the portion of Iger’s quote he choose to include in the story. The author did not, however, alter the words that Iger used. There is no doubt this was done due to the brouhaha caused by the quote, perhaps at Disney’s request, but there is nothing unethical about it from the author or from Barron’s.

      • How did they change what Iger said? It’s the exact same quote that they edited to only publish the first part of it. Iger said the same words in the same order. They did not change what Iger said. If your point is that Barron’s shouldn’t change their article when Disney asks them to, then ok. You can make that point. But if your point is that Barron’s made up an Iger quote, that does not appear to be the case.

        • No, the point is definitely that they changed the article. I didn’t claim that Barron’s for sure made up anything, but I have to present all of the possibilities since we don’t know what actually happened. These are all theories and I’m sure we will never know what happened, but it’s all pretty strange.

          • The only real problem with the way the quote was handled is that the altered quote ends with a full stop. Since it’s altered and only half of the sentence it should have ended with a “…”Going with the full stop gives the impression that that is all Iger said, when there is actually more to it. Which does seem a bit dishonest.

  • It’s time for Iger to go! He’s been in charge at Disney toooooooooooooooo long now. He is worse than Eisner ever was!

    • Really?! We saw creativity and quality thank under Eisner in his last years. With Iger, we’ve seen this increase. We saw Disney’s stocks and value tank under Eisners last years. With Iger, continuous growth, with even more in store. We saw Eisner intentionally antagonize Pixar to destroy the deal in his final years. With Iger, he fixed that deal and succeeded in numerous others. Eisner did great, but in his last years, not so much. Theres a reason Roy E. Disney, walt’s nephew, singlehandedly got Iger as CEO and ousted Eisner. Theres a reason Iger has continuously been ranked as one of the best CEOs in the world and will continue to be. Consistency, innovation, and solid long-term decisions. He has continuously had solid performance since 2005. He hasn’t really changed in his goals for Disney parks since Roy E. Disney got him in place. He knows that the only way to keep the parks relevant and successful is continuous change. He saw characteristics in Iger that he knew was what the company needed. And Iger has continued to deliver on that. Plus, most of the rides when disneyland opened were based on Disney IPs and corporate sponsors. They’re telling stories in new, innovative, and immersive ways, just as Walt would want.

      • No, buy not doing anything exceptional except trying to buy other companies who are successful. Disney on their own has been a complete failure. Their stocks compared to Comcast show this. As do their decreasing theme park admission prices…sure…base rate goes up but nobody is paying that. Brazilians in groups larger than 25 get free tickets and food. Florida residents can buy cheap tickets at gas stations. Silly. Iger needs to go. He never saw theme parks as more than a way to advertise movies. Period.

      • Nah. I’ve been in PR for 15 years and I’ve had to correct the record on numerous occasions. I’m sure this was a minor nuance change to diffuse backlash. I don’t think Iger was specifically calling out Everest. The quote as printed allowed for that inference so Disney wanted to button it up.

        In the end, the quote stayed with a slight change. I’m sure the editors were fine with it. Especially since they don’t want to spur a relationship as big as Disney.

        • Doesn’t change the fact that it is scummy for a journalist to acquiesce to a PR professional whose little feelings were hurt because their internal executive asset said something they shouldn’t have.

          It’s also scummy to threaten a journalist’s access to a company even when the journalist accurately quoted a source. I’m not saying that’s what happened here, but it is what PR professionals do every day.

  • The Seven Dwarfs coaster continues to be much more popular than Everest and the animatronics still work. The Disney fan community always overreact, which hurts their credibility. Iger should be credited for the new Disney parks expansion instead of being attacked for stating a fact. IP is what pays the bills.

  • I’ve really tried to keep a positive outlook about the parks, and there is still plenty to be happy about. But, Iger has routinely shown that he is purely a suit who lacks the passion essential to Disney’s leader. Say what you will about Eisner, but you can’t deny that he had vision and drive to create something unique. Iger just cares about positive cash flow.

  • Why does this not surprise me that he’d insult one of the lingering few original rides? And a beautifully crafted one at that?

    I believe Iger is currently crafting an immersive attraction called ‘Let’s repeat Eisner’s failures in the name of the all powerful dollar sign’. I’m very interested in riding this one, the final product is sure to be entertaining, if not tragic. Hold on to your hats and glasses folks, this here’s sure to be the wildest ride in recent Disney history.

    This is partially tongue in cheek. Don’t take it too seriously, I’m not looking for a fight. But I am saddened by Disney using IPs as a crutch instead of taking the time and budget to develop original rides.

    • How is stating the fact that IP based rides bring in more new guests to Disney parks an insult. Plus, he didn’t specifically speak about any ride. There are roller coasters based on “India or something” at Disney parks all across the globe.

  • Some non descript ride, India….. hmmmm, sounds very similar to a park in Dubai that may or may not be doing well.

  • Isn’t the Sinbad ride in Tokyo Disney India based? I love the concept of the ride but if you’re looking for “nondescript India themed ride” that’s what I think of. Whatever the case, it was a dumb move.

  • I think people need to freakin’ relax. Disney has a process that’s been amazingly successful in entertaining the heck out of us. That process has been evolving as we consumers have. Let them be. They’re amazing.

  • Bob Iger is where emotion goes to die if there’s something you love it Disney and it makes you feel Joy he will take it away I can’t stand Bob Iger

  • I think everyone is forgetting how Disneyland started. Walt had all his rides and shows somehow connected to a Disney property. Why else would you go to a Disney park if not to experience Disney. Otherwise you could go to any amusement park.

  • To be honest, I really don’t care about what this person or that person said bc to me, the price of Disney has sky rocketed to ridiculous prices! Especially the hotels! And it’s only going to get worse with all this movie themed stuff. We have been going to disney multiple times a yr for more than 10 yrs now and it’s just getting pricier and way more crowded! We loved the atmosphere of disney 10 yrs ago but now the guest can be rude and some cast members are too. We always drove right by a park 2 hrs away from us on the way to disney that is way less crowded and has a water park bc we are such disney fanatics, but with the prices now, we’ve decided to just do other parks here in GA and FL and TN. We loved to run the races but even those have gone up in prices along with hotels at that time! So, as much as we love Disney, we don’t love where it’s going on both prices and potentially taking away the original Walt Disney’s concepts and atmosphere.

    • I agree the prices are crazy but has this caused any damage to attendance? No. And until there is a mass attendance drop, prices aren’t going to go down. I can’t afford to pay for a monorail line hotel but someone is…or those theme park view rooms would
      Be cheaper. LOL

  • I fell it’s not a big deal and quotes get changed all the time. No one here is going to get fired for changing a quote so forcing it on someone else is ridiculous.

  • Thanks for the article Tom. I appreciate your bringing these issues up. I have 2 thoughts. One, I love Disney. Disney isn’t, nor will it ever be, perfect. Nor can it be all things to all people. That’s life. Two, you ask important questions, questions that needed to be asked given what happened. Only Robert Igor and Barron’s know what actually happened. If they won’t address the issue then we will never know. But you are right to ask. Kudos.

  • If they add and IP to every non IP based ride then we would lose all the most popular rides. Big Thunder would be redone into some Lone Ranger ride. The Tiki Birds into some Alladin meets Lion King bird show (oh wait we did that it didn’t work), or make a straight to video movie to save it. Jungle Cruise is getting a movie, so that ones safe, we just have to add an animtronic figure of the Rock to appease the execs. Space Mountian becomes another Star Wars ride unless you can figure out another popular space theme to add, and no the Black Hole was not popular. Carousel of Progress probably goes the route of Time Keeper with a whole new theatre based attraction that spares nothing of the original. Small World goes Tokyo Disney style with little IP figure childern. Spaceship Earth, Mission Space, Test Track, Living with the Land, Soarin, and Imagination all get Marvel Overlays to blend with the new Guardians Coaster. The living seas maybe spared for awhile thanks to Nemo. Studios will be complete once Tower of Terror and Rockin Rollercoaster go Pixar. Although a Cars overlay on Rockin Rollercoadter maybe kind of cool. Animal Kingdom would lose one of the greatest attractions with Kilimanjaro Safaris, the only exceptable IP would be if James Earl joins portraying Mufas was your tour guide. That brings us back to Everest. If they IP Everest then Matterhorn would be next. Everest is just Matterhorns bigger brother. If one was to mention IPing Matterhorn they would be drawn and quatered on the castle steps. Simple conclusion if they want Everests numbers to increase then just fix whats broke, not retheme it. No one wants a Mulan themed coaste, and no thats not an idea.

    • Iger never mentioned, nor does he intend to, anything about changing Disney’s most popular rides. The rides that have been changed, needed a change, such as the Great Movie Ride or California Screamin.

  • Expedition Everest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is an awesome ride with one of the best queue areas in a Walt Disney Theme Park – but it’s audio animatronics need to be fixed and / or replaced (updated!)

    I don’t place blame on Team Disney Imagineers (they are the Gods!) I place blame on Team Disney Burbank bean-counters (they are the problem!)

    I also don’t think every Ride / Attraction needs to be built / themed around Intellectual Property (unless you want an eyesore like Disneyland’s Tomorrowland!)

    • They dont want everything to be IP based. All he was talking about was that new IP based attractions are attracting new disney guests and fans. He never said, or implied, that all attractions need to be IP based, its just that more need to be. They need to achieve an equilibrium between IP based attractions for growth and non-IP based attractions for continued Disney parkgoers. They will obviously update and renovate Expedition Everest in the coming years, as they have continuously and frequently done with other rides, like the matterhorn.

  • As a grandmother who has been to Disney 6 times since 1976 I feel Disney is pricing the public out . The new ticket prices are too high for the average family.

  • So, is everyone complaining about IP based rides going to no longer be making FP+ reservations for Flight of Passage, or Slinky Dog?? And will you be skipping Star Wars Land altogether??? Just curious to see how this works. Thanks…

  • Are you serious? They didn’t alter a quote, they simply choose to leave out part… Which happens all the time. You should know that. If they felt that the extra words were not imperative to the intent of the quote, they can remove them. That’s not even remotely unethical.

  • It’s time for another hostile takeover of Disney that sees the company broken up and downsized back to its past self without Marvel, Lucasfilm, ABC, and Pixar. When I take over Disney, I won’t be CEO, I will be the owner and führer. I will make Disney great again by draining the swamp of the entire Iger era and slandering Chapek, his wife, and even his children to ruin their entire family’s reputation. I will bring back old attractions as if they never left, bring customer service back to its old top of the line standards, and there will be a couple new non-IP attractions.

  • Don’t know why they changed the quote other than he is insulting the theming to his own parks.
    It just shows how clear he is that the future attractions will only be based on Disney and Disney owned characters and movies. He is really missing the creativity of stand alone rides like Space Mountain, Big Thunder, Small World, almost all of Future World in Epcot, etc., and what they bring to the experience of the theme parks. Not everything has to have a Disney/Pixar/Marvel character or theming for the guests to want to ride or enjoy it.

    • All he said was that they need more IP based attractions to grow attendance and attract new guests. He never said anything or expressed a desire to get rid of attractions that aren’t IP based. He has a great appreciation for non IP based rides. Look at Shanghai Disneyland – almost all non IP based rides and built under Iger.

  • Yes, altering a quote is super unethical in the world of journalism, especially at the whim of the person you’re quoting. However, they really only removed the portion in brackets, which the writer added to clarify the sentence. So, that’s a bit of a gray area. When I read it, I didn’t think he was ripping on a specific ride. More likely he just said a random country name. But, I like to give people the benefit of the doubt.

  • Bob Iger HATES HATES HATES Walt Disney World. Only sees it as a vessel to open the pocketbook of (mostly overweight and not very discriminating) Disney fans and to further the movie franchises, which is his background and the direction of Disney as a company. Disney has no business owning theme parks, they need to sell them and let a third party run them correctly, where guests are certainly paying for the experience, but the ‘experience’ isn’t only to want a Toy Story 7.

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