Bob Iger Refutes DeSantis Claim That Politics Has Impacted Disney World Attendance: ‘It’s Very Successful’

The executive also reiterated the company’s stance against the Florida governor, saying “It’s not our goal to be involved in a culture war”

Disney CEO Bob Iger (Photo Credit: Getty Collection)
Bob Iger (Photo Credit: Getty Collection)

Disney CEO Bob Iger disputes that Walt Disney World park attendance has been impacted by politics, pushing back against Florida governor DeSantis’ Monday claim that foot traffic was down due to a quiet boycott.

“It’s a very, very popular business and product. It’s very successful. We’re not wringing our hands over it,” Iger said during an interview on  CNBC’s Squawk Box on Thursday.

Iger also disputed the claims made by the Wall Street Journal’s recent article —“Disney World Hasn’t Felt This Empty in Years” — as “not accurate.”

Iger noted that compared to 2022, the state of Florida has been down. “We actually track hotel tax revenue across the state, which is not our public record. There are counties in Florida that have been down 6%, 7% recently. We also know that our competitors are discounting in that state,” Iger said. “So there are some near-term issues in Florida that I don’t think have anything to do with politics.”

Iger also addressed the “Disney v. DeSantis” lawsuit, calling it a way “to protect our first amendment rights there and to protect our business.” That case came about after Disney spoke out against the Florida Parental Rights in Education Act, also known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

“The last thing that I want for the company is to be drawn into any culture wars. We’ve operated for almost 100 years as a company making a product that we actually are proud of in terms of its impact on the world,” Iger said.

Monday on “The Clay & Buck Show,” DeSantis revealed that he believes there’s been a quiet boycott of the parks by parents who “don’t want an agenda shoved down their throat.” He also described the decrease in foot traffic as “catastrophic” and agreed with host Clay Travis that the company is being “Bud Light-ed.”

Iger also referred to the idea that Disney is “sexualizing children” as “preposterous” and noted that he was “horrified” by the Neo-Nazi demonstration that took place in June. At least one protestor at the rally had a “DeSantis 2024 Make America Florida” flag.

“It’s concerning to me that one would encourage a level of intolerance or even hate that, frankly, could even become dangerous action,” Iger said.