As news broke this month of price increases at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort, many fans once again blamed The Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek, often the scapegoat for unpopular decisions and price increases.
So when Chapek took the stage on Wednesday for a live interview with The Wall Street Journal, many were curious what the controversial CEO would have to say about unwanted changes to the Disney Parks.
Chapek spoke positively of the detested Park Reservation system and even responded to claims that Disney has gone “woke.” “Disney is a company that has survived for 100 years by catering to its audience, and it’s going to thrive [for] the next 100 years by catering to its audience,” Chapek said.
The Disney CEO also spoke about Cast Members, the heart of Disney Park operations. “It’s all about the Cast,” Chapek said. He called Disney Cast Members “the secret sauce” to Guests’ magical memories.
“If you think about the nature of why people have great Disney memories, remember, the end benefit is memories, magical memories that last a lifetime – the reason they have those, yeah, it’s about the castle, and yeah, it’s about the great attractions, or they really enjoyed that churro on Main Street but really, what they remember more than anything is Guest-Cast interactions,” Chapek said.
Chapek also referenced his time as Chairman of Disney Parks & Resorts. “I would say 99% of the letters I got were about Guest-Cast interactions, not about attractions. Literally, it was almost every single one,” he recalled.
“So if that’s the key to a great Guest experience and we’re all about the Guest and the audience and maximizing their experience, then you have to make sure that the Cast is at the center of everything that you do,” Chapek argued.
Of course, it would be impossible for Chapek to please everyone – but many Cast Members were displeased by his comments. “Yet he pays the cast so little they can’t afford a place to live😳,” one wrote.
Countless Cast Members have recently spoken about poor working conditions, saying they’re treated poorly and not paid enough. Many Walt Disney World Resort Cast Members are homeless, while their Disneyland Resort counterparts report living in cramped spaces and relying on sex work to survive. Others have come forward with allegations of repeated sexual harassment from coworkers and Guests.
Chapek may feel Cast Members are at the heart of The Walt Disney Company, but unfortunately, his employees aren’t feeling the love in return.
What do you think of Bob Chapek’s comments about Disney Cast Members?