Disney Fans Talk Replacing Bob Chapek: What Would You Do?

in Disney, Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World

bob chapek with mickey and minnie

Credit: Disney

The Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek quickly became a controversial figure in the Disney Parks fan community after replacing Bob Iger in 2020. Fans have long-begged for a replacement, writing “Fire Bob Chapek” petitions and suggesting anyone from Abigail Disney to current Chairman of Parks and Resorts Josh D’Amaro.

Bob Chapek
Credit: CNBC

Though insiders rumored that The Walt Disney Company had plans to replace Chapek, the board unanimously voted in June to extend the Disney CEO’s contract for three years with a hefty bonus.

Who Is Bob Chapek?

Bob Chapek and Bob Iger
Credit: Variety

Bob Iger quit The Walt Disney Company in 2020, saying that he knew it was time to go after he had become “a little bit more dismissive of other people’s opinions.” Though he initially wished Chapek the best, Iger has hinted at friction in the last few years. The pair reportedly “no longer speak” following a falling-out.

Related: Long-Rumored Disney Plus ‘Star Wars’ Series Is Really Happening

Despite the fragility of the stock market and the Dow Jones, The Walt Disney Company has reported record profits from Disney Parks and Disney+. Meanwhile, Guest experience ratings continue to decline.

bob chapek
Credit: Screenshot via Annual Shareholders Meeting

Recently, Disney Parks fans took to Reddit to discuss what they’d do if they were offered Mr. Chapek’s role.

Fixing Disney Parks Maintenance Issues

"it's a small world"
Credit: Disney

The most popular suggestion was a practical one from u/vinbel121: increasing the maintenance budget. Ride maintenance has been overlooked recently, with budget cuts and staffing shortages following COVID-19-related closures.

Related: Cast Members Furious With Disney Park Over Proposed Attendance Policy Change

u/shhmandy felt The Walt Disney Company and Parks boss Bob Chapek should have taken COVID-19 as an opportunity to improve the Disney Parks, rather than make cuts: 

This was a missed opportunity during Covid. I would have given cast members the opportunity to work shifts as entry level maintenance personnel at their old wage rate or entry level maintenance wage rate (whichever was higher). There would have been a lot of painting and lubricating parts.

Guests riding Haunted Mansion
Credit: Disney

In general, u/Jorgedetroit31 said The Walt Disney Company needs to treat its Cast Members better, and many fans agreed. Disney Cast Members make the magic happen, but many report dissatisfaction and low pay at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort.

“Changes can still be made to the payment model where enployees are still being paid more and given more humanity. You dont gotta screw people over and throw your hands up at it,” u/DatumInTheStone wrote.

Special Events

not so scary halloween
Credit: Disney

So far, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, Oogie Boogie Bash, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, and Character meals have made triumphant returns to the Disney Parks. But many Disney Parks fans say the Resorts desperately need more pre-pandemic special events to return.

Related: Elderly Universal Orlando Resort Guest Experiences “Life-Changing” Encounter Coaster

The most popular comment requested late nights at EPCOT and Magic Kingdom. While after-hours events are returning to Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios next year, they’re extremely limited.

paris halloween
Halloween at Disneyland Paris! Credit: Disney

In addition to events, Guests want day-to-day special experiences to return. “Re-hire entertainment CMs that were cut, like the Citizens of Hollywood. Restore interactivity between parkgoers and characters,” u/RichLather wrote. “Heck, increase in-park entertainment so we can get things like (using Galaxy’s Edge as an example) the stage/stunt/chase shows, the First Order recruitment showHondo Ohnaka… the list goes on just there.”

New Attractions and Experiences

An official poster announcing Tiana's Bayou Adventure, opening late 2024.
Credit: Disney Parks Blog

Of course, every Disney Parks fan wants new rides, attractions, and shows! But many have more specific requests for the Disney CEO. For example, u/alphaxion and hundreds of others said they’d like new original rides, like Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, and The Haunted Mansion:

Scrap the requirement for rides needing to have established IP, allowing Imagineers to create new experiences without having to worry about the specifics of what an established character needs.

splash mountain interior tokyo disneyland
Credit: Disney

Related: ‘Guardians’ Cosmic Rewind “Hidden” Show Building Isn’t So Hidden

u/TheDisneyholics agreed but said it might be possible to incorporate Disney characters and properties in a more organic way than Disney Imagineers are now:

There has always been intellectual property and corporate synergy in the parks. That’s fine and it’s time to look past that. We need imagineering to focus on making new lands and rides that are fresh, innovative and story-driven regardless of the source material. Also, give them big budgets and big bonuses for completing projects on time! Also continue promoting cast members into corporate leadership roles!

Guests riding Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at EPCOT Walt Disney World
Credit: Disney

Naturally, many Disney Parks fans suggested a new American Disney Park altogether! Though that’s unlikely to happen anytime soon, Disney Imagineers are currently dreaming up the largest Magic Kingdom expansion ever that would include Coco (2017), Encanto (2021), and Disney Villains!

Personalized Guest Experience

genie disney phone mobile
Credit: Disney

More than anything, Disney Parks Guests want a personalized experience. Many feel that the Disney Genie app, Genie+, Individual Lightning Lanes, and the Park Pass reservation system are ruining once-magical vacations.

u/mr_pinks_tip_policy said a better experience could be achieved simply by bringing back Fastpass+ and the Disney Dining Plan at Walt Disney World Resort:

Personally, I don’t think it’s fair to charge people extra money to ride rides when the price of a ticket is what it is. I get that it’s giving access to the faster lines but there must be a better way. We don’t want people waiting in lines, we want them buying food and souvenirs. I also don’t want people buried in their phones all day. That’s the genius of the fast pass because it was tangible and first come first served.

And I’d revamp the dining plan for Florida. It needs to come back. Maybe even do a drink package like how the cruises do.

Disney-cruise-holiday
Could the Disney Parks implement a Disney Cruise Line style dining package? Credit: Disney Parks Blog

u/Vangaren agreed:

Focus on the conveniences that made taking a Disney vacation easy for parents. Magic Express, the dining plans, tagging your luggage before you even get on the plane and have it arrive at your hotel room, complimentary magic bands, heck, even the towel rolled into a Mickey shape on your bed when you arrive at your hotel. Make it easy for people to come to the resorts and parks, and they will enjoy it more. People having fun will spend more because they can, not because they have too.

bob chapek
Credit: Disney

u/Heatherskelly summed up the mood of Disney fans best: “Set as many safe guards in place as possible to assure someone like Bob Chapek can’t become the CEO again.”

What would you change if you were The Walt Disney Company CEO? 

 

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