During the bustling D23 Expo, Bob Chapek found a moment to share his thoughts on multiple recent Disney controversies.
Bob Chapek has found himself at the center of many criticisms since he took on the mantle of Disney CEO. Chapek has been criticized and tied to the rising Disney prices, the disappearance of the classic Disney magic, and services like the Disney Genie suite. It doesn’t help that during his time, the amount of bad Guest behavior at the Parks has also increased enormously in coverage.
Bob Chapek at D23/Disney Fanatic
In fact, fans have been so vocal about their dislike for the CEO and unhappiness with his tenure that they even booed him when he walked on stage at D23 on Day 1.
This said, Chapek, addressed some of these controversies in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, where he took time out of what is undoubtedly a hectic F23 schedule to talk with the publication.
Bob Chapek at D23/Disney
On the subject of superfans, Mr. Chapek said the following,
“We want to make sure that our superfans who love to come with annual passes and use [the parks] as their personal playground [can] — we love that. We celebrate that. But at the same time, we’ve got to make sure that there’s room in the park for the family from Denver that comes once every five years. We didn’t have a reservation system and we didn’t control the number of annual passes we distributed and frankly, the annual pass as a value was so great that people were literally coming all the time and the accessibility of the park was unlimited to them and that family from Denver would get to the park and not be let in. That doesn’t seem like a real balanced proposition.”
Chapek continued that while superfans might view that as disadvantaging to their experience of the Parks, they have to heed the needs of everyone, including those who travel from other cities. Chapek was firm that they would not “bend on giving somebody a less than stellar experience in the Parks because [they] jammed too many people in there. If [they’re] going to have that foundational rule, [they] have to start balancing who [they] let in.”
Bob Chapek/Disney / D23
Chapek even addressed the issues Disney faced, particularly with Cast Members, on what is referred to by opposers as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, i.e., Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill. On the subject, Chapek opined,
“What we try to do is be everything to everybody. That tends to be very difficult because we’re the Walt Disney Company. When you’re a lightning rod for clicks and for political podium speeches, the essence of our brand can be misappropriated or misused to try to fit the needs of any one particular group’s agenda.”
Chapek concluded that Disney believes itself to be “a place where people can come together with shared values of what an optimistic and ideal future can be. [They] certainly don’t want to get caught up in any political subterfuge, but at the same time, also realize that [they] want to represent a brighter tomorrow for families of all types, regardless of how [the families] define themselves.”
Chapek’s tenure has been controversial, and fans have been more unhappy than not with the CEO. Only time will tell whether the decisions he’s helmed will impact the Walt Disney Company and the Disney Parks—the Magic Kingdom Park, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and EPCOT at Walt Disney World Resort, and Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure at Disneyland Resort—positively or negatively in the long term.
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