Former Disney CEO Michael Eisner Speaks Out on Bob Chapek Amid Backlash

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Amid widespread criticism for Disney CEO Bob Chapek, former Disney Chief Michael Eisner had nothing but positive things to say about the current CEO of the Disney Parks and Company.

Michael Eisner
Credit: @Michael_Eisner (Twitter)

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In an interview with Deadline, Michael Eisner gave his thoughts on Bob Chapek, saying:

“I am a big fan of Disney. I am a fan of both Bobs. Yes I hired him [Chapek]. Is he the same executive as I am, or Bob [Iger] is, or anybody is? He is his own guy. He was very good at Disney when I was there. He took our home video business from a rental to a sell-through business. That was very risky. He did a very good job in the parks. I am a shareholder. I think he’s going to do very well,”

bob iger (left) and bob chapek (right) in front of millennium falcon galaxy's edge
Credit: Disney

Bob Chapek took over the reins of CEO from Bob Iger in early 2020, with Iger still serving the Walt Disney Company until late last December. When asked about what the future could hold for Iger, Eisner had this to say:

“We’ve talked about it,” Eisner said. “Having 50 unanswered emails, and seven scripts you haven’t read and 30 phone calls you haven’t returned… Getting off that treadmill is not a horrible thing. I think he is interested in writing another book, looking at his opportunities. He is not 25 years old, as I’m not. Between ABC and Disney, he spent many years at one institution. I think he is coming up for air and you will hear about him and things he will be doing and his wife Willow [Bay] will be doing in the future.”

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Michael Eisner pivoted to the Walt Disney Company as CEO in 1984, coming off of an already successful career at Paramount Pictures, one of Disney’s biggest rivals. Eisner served as CEO of the Disney Company until 2005 when he was replaced by Bob Iger. Eisner was the creative force that brought many classic and iconic Disney attractions to the Parks, like Splash Mountain, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, and The Twighlight Zone Tower of Terror.

rock n roller coaster
Credit: Walt Disney Imagineering

Eisner green lit entire Parks such as Disney California Adventure in Disneyland, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World, Disneyland Paris (then called Euro Disneyland), and Hong Kong Disneyland. Eisner is remembered for his bold creative decisions that ultimately helped get the Walt Disney Company out of the financial trouble that they were in just before joining the company. Michael Eisner was also known for taking risks as well, like the ill-fated ExtraTERRORestrial Alein Encounter at the Magic Kingdom, an attraction deemed so scary that it had to close.

bob chapek onstage
Credit: Disney

Bob Chapek has gained quite an infamous reputation amongst Disney fans and Guests, with many claiming his actions resemble a penny-pincher more than a creative leader. With portion sizes being cut, prices going up, and a seemingly never-ending assortment of intellectual properties being injected into the Parks, many Guests are critical of Chapek’s approach to leadership.

ann morrow johnson in starcruiser bridge
Credit: Screenshot via Disney

Many Guests are also piling on Chapek over the controversial Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser. After the initial “first look” video was wiped from the internet by Disney, many Guests started canceling their reservations, claiming it didn’t look worth the nearly $6,000 price tag. Despite the negative reception initially, the starcruiser still remains booked solid for March, the opening month for the immersive Star Wars-themed hotel.

bob chapek disney plus
Credit: Disney

How do you feel about Bob Chapek’s role as Disney CEO so far? What do you miss most about Bob Iger or Michael Eisner? Let us know in the comments below!

Let the expert team at Academy Travel help you plan your next magical vacation to Disney World’s water parks, four theme parks — Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios — and the Disney Springs shopping and dining district!

While you are at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you can enjoy Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith on Sunset Boulevard. By the Chinese Theater, Guests prepare to ride Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway. In Toy Story Land, Slinky Dog Dash always boasts a long line with others shooting their shot on Midway Mania or spinning their brains out on Alien Swirling Saucers. Of course, you have to visit Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge for some blue milk, or green milk, and ride Rise of the Resistance and Smuggler’s Run! 

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