Chapek Says Cast Members Are “The Center of Everything” While Many Struggle to Survive on Disney Pay

in Disney, Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World

Bob Chapek with Mickey and Minnie

Credit: Disney

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.

Related: Disney CEO Bob Chapek Brags About Pricey ‘Star Wars’ Hotel, Calls It “Our Best Experience Yet”

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.

bob chapek
Credit: Screenshot via Annual Shareholders Meeting

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.

Related: Many Say Josh D’Amaro Escapes Criticism by Being More Attractive Than Bob Chapek

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.

bob chapek onstage
Credit: Disney

“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.

Related: Disney Stock Price Jumps, Soars Above Previous Lows

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.

bob iger (left) and bob chapek (right) in front of millennium falcon galaxy's edge
Chapek with former Disney CEO Bob Iger. Credit: Disney

“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.

Disney World Cast Member talking to Guests
Credit: Disney

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? 

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