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

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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Jordan
Jordan
1 year ago

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.

Dave
Dave
1 year ago
Reply to  Jordan

You can go to Ferrari land or Universal or 6-flags for rides. Disney is and always were about stories, that’s what most Disney fans want.

I think it’s very positive that Disney finally has enough IP to make the parks 100% Disney instead of random rides, as amazing as they were.

Cory Gross
Cory Gross
1 year ago
Reply to  Dave

The parks were already 100% Disney. The Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, Enchanted Tiki Room, Jungle Cruise, Country Bear Jamboree, Space Mountain, It’s a Small World, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad… All 100% Disney.

You know what’s NOT 100% Disney? Marvel. Star Wars. Pixar. Muppets. Avatar.

Dave
Dave
1 year ago
Reply to  Cory Gross

I disagree. They are exactly the Disney values.

Many of the rides you’ve mentioned have felt for a long time like they were made when Disney didn’t have enough IP of their own, and had the come up with ideas to fill up the park.

Nostalgia aside, I’d love to see most of them replaced with story based themes. Stories I’m passionate about, stories I’m invested in.

Jim
Jim
1 year ago

It’s all fun and games until they turn the Yeti into Elsa’s snow monster

Dave
Dave
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim

I honestly wouldn’t mind. I have zero emotional connection to the yeti.

Elsa has been a virtual member of my family for a while.

Aaron G
Aaron G
1 year ago

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… Read more »

Austin
1 year ago
Reply to  Aaron G

Attendance is increasing in general, I would hope non ip’s would bring in just as many guests.

TK
TK
1 year ago
Reply to  Austin

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.

Amy
Amy
1 year ago

Frankly, even if he was talking about Everest, is that a really big deal? We know Disney is going IP all the time now.

T. Swart
T. Swart
1 year ago

Who cares?

Jim
Jim
1 year ago

I think Iger’s time is passed, very similar to Eisner. However, Bob capek is not the man to take over.

Aaron G
Aaron G
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim

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.

Ben
Ben
1 year ago

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… Read more »

Steve Mlenak
Steve Mlenak
1 year ago

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.

Steve Mlenak
Steve Mlenak
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Corless

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.

Frontierland Dan
Frontierland Dan
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Corless

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.

stadalberts
stadalberts
1 year ago

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

Aaron G
Aaron G
1 year ago
Reply to  stadalberts

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… Read more »

Brandon Sterk
Brandon Sterk
1 year ago
Reply to  stadalberts

Really?! Based on what? His historic and monumental growth of the company?

Tonya
Tonya
1 year ago
Reply to  Brandon Sterk

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.

Jeff
Jeff
1 year ago

Simple. Disney PR asked the quote to be amended. Editors agreed. Happens every day in PR. Not a big deal.

Jeff
Jeff
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Corless

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.

Kevin
Kevin
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff

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.

TimP
TimP
1 year ago

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.

SJames
SJames
1 year ago

Oh PLEASE no more overlays! Leave AK alone and “refurbish” Iger with someone who actually gives a darn!

Luke
Luke
1 year ago

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.

John
John
1 year ago
Reply to  Luke

Your an idiot, the disney companu has never been positioned in such a great way. Its because Iget does gove a dsmn.

Brandon Sterk
Brandon Sterk
1 year ago
Reply to  Luke

That’s his job. You want to hire a CEO to run your billion dollar company who doesn’t care about cash flow.

Jacob
Jacob
1 year ago

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… Read more »

Aaron G
Aaron G
1 year ago
Reply to  Jacob

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.

Marc Shutt
Marc Shutt
1 year ago

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

Jessie
Jessie
1 year ago

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.

Stephen Licata
Stephen Licata
1 year ago

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.

tanea berry
tanea berry
1 year ago

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

Bob Iger
Bob Iger
1 year ago
Reply to  tanea berry

You’re breaking my little heart.

Don
Don
1 year ago

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.

Dawn
Dawn
1 year ago

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… Read more »

CC
CC
1 year ago
Reply to  Dawn

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