After a rocky start to his tenure as Walt Disney Company Chief Executive Officer in February 2020, Bob Chapek’s contract has been extended a further three years in a unanimous Board vote. Now, with more to come from Mouse House across all divisions, Chapek will look to “reset the narrative” when a new offering debuts next month.
A divisive figure in the Walt Disney Company, CEO Bob Chapek is not a huge hit with fans. After weathering the pandemic, Chapek’s leadership saw multiple changes within all of the House of Mouse’s divisions. Most noticeably, the backlash over his running of the company has been rooted in decisions and operations made relating to the Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products division, which is headed up by Chairman Josh D’Amaro.
Sure, there was the controversy regarding the streaming release of Black Widow (2021), which saw actress Scarlett Johansson sue The Walt Disney Company over an alleged breach of contract, the surprise ousting of executive Peter Rice, and the botched response to the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, but many of the more widespread issues Disney fans are facing relate to Disney Parks worldwide.
From the Park Pass and Park Hopper reservation system to the “FastPass” replacement, Disney Genie and Lightning Lane in the United States’ Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort, and Disney Premier Access in Disneyland Paris and Tokyo Disney Resort, Disney Parks have seen many changes since they reopened after the pandemic closures. Those, teamed with the overall expense of a Disney vacation increasing, have found Guests struggling to keep up with the Disney theme parks despite spending being up 40%.
Yesterday, The Walt Disney Company announced it would be extending Chapek’s contract for a further three years. Chairman of the Board, Susan Arnold, said:
“Disney was dealt a tough hand by the pandemic, yet with Bob at the helm, our businesses—from parks to streaming—not only weathered the storm, but emerged in a position of strength […] In this important time of growth and transformation, the Board is committed to keeping Disney on the successful path it is on today, and Bob’s leadership is key to achieving that goal. Bob is the right leader at the right time for The Walt Disney Company, and the Board has full confidence in him and his leadership team.”
Following the news of his extension, the former head of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products and previous CEO Bob Iger’s successor will next reveal the long-awaited Disney Wish — the company’s fifth ship to join the cruise ship fleet — and it is this remarkable new offering that will see Chapek “reset the narrative”.
In a report from Deadline, one long-time former colleague of Chapek’s said:
“This is really his baby […] Welcoming this ship in the company’s centennial year will be his chance to reset the narrative. Parks, cruise ships — that’s been a real specialty. That’s where he feels comfortable.”
The Disney Wish will officially join the Disney Magic, Disney Dream, Disney Fantasy, and Disney Wonder, on July 14, 2022, when it makes its Maiden Voyage. Today, June 29, will mark its official invitation-only Christening from Florida’s Port Canaveral.
The Disney Wish, a Triton-class cruise liner boasting 1,254 staterooms, and numerous first-of-their-kind experiences like a Frozen theatrical dinner, the Marvel-themed Avengers: Quantum Encounter dining experience, the immersive Disney Uncharted Adventure, and the Star Wars Hyperspace Lounge, is Disney’s biggest, most ambitious ship yet. With so many firsts for the cruise ship Guest, it is no surprise that Chapek, who once helmed the division of which DCL is a subsidiary, is reportedly excited to “reset” Disney’s narrative with the venture.
Chapek’s reported passion for the Disney Wish‘s launch ahead of the Centennial lines up with The Walt Disney Company‘s sentiments on the CEO:
[His] guest-centric approach focuses on ensuring that every aspect of an experience is uniquely Disney and exceeds guest expectations. At Disney Parks, he implemented innovative strategies to improve the guest experience by balancing demand at the parks, integrating new franchises at locations around the world, and introducing beloved and iconic experiences to new generations of Disney fans. As head of Disney Consumer Products he led a period of transformation in the worlds of play, storytelling, and learning.
Guests boarding the Disney Wish will hopefully have the experience they have been promised, but only time will tell.
Will you be visiting the Disney Wish this year? Let us know in the comments down below!