Chapek Speaks Out on Disney Parks Closure – “One of the Most Depressing Times”

in Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World

Bob Chapek

Credit: Disney

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, Disney Parks around the world were forced to shut down, some for over a year. However, as we continue to move forward, all six Disney Parks are now reopened and welcoming Guests, with new health and safety protocols put into place.

The Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek was there when Disneyland reopened its theme parks for the first time in over a year, and he is now speaking out on what exactly it meant to him to be standing on Main Street, U.S.A. next to former Disney CEO Bob Iger, as Guests piled into the theme park.

Related: Developing Story: Bob Chapek No Longer Attending D23 Event

Disneyland Reopening
Credit: Inside the Magic

On the latest D23 podcast, The Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek was asked about the theme park closures and what it meant for him to be standing on Main Street, U.S.A. when Guests piled into Disneyland park for the first time since it shut down due to the ongoing pandemic.

“I think if I had to pick one word it would be emotional,” Chapek began. “Standing on the curbside and seeing the Cast Members and the Guests, you know, everyone’s got watery eyes at a minimum, some full out balling. It was tough.”

Related: Bob Chapek: Disney Genie Will Improve Everyone’s Visit

bob chapek onstage
Credit: Disney

The Walt Disney Company CEO continued, “It was tough for everybody. It was tough to close the Parks from the standpoint that closing the business means that at some point there’s going to be a human impact, but just the fact that there was a little less magic in the world and we wanted to make magic, everybody wants to make magic, our Cast Members certainly want to make magic and that we weren’t able to do that for a while. It was pretty painful, to be honest with you.”

Chapek then went on to explain what it was like when the theme parks did reopen, once again welcoming Guests into the magic. “So the inverse of that is when you reopen, I have been to both of World and Land several times during the closure and it was one of the most depressing times. I never though I would see it like that, you know. Vacant. It felt like its soul was missing. Soul being the Guests and the Cast. And so for that soul to come back into the Parks was really great.”

bob chapek with mickey and minnie
Credit: Disney

All six Disney Parks around the world are reopened with new health and safety protocols. If you want to visit one of the Disney Parks on your next vacation, let the expert team at Academy Travel help you plan your next magical vacation.

Have you been to one of the Disney Parks since reopening? Let us know in the comments below.

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