Fans Point to Bob Chapek for Disney’s Decline

bob chapek disney's decline

Bob Chapek is at the center of discussion yet again, with Disney fans pointing fingers at him for Disney’s seeming decline.

While the Disney Resorts and Parks — be that Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort, or others — are often in the news for Guest stories, ride breakdowns, or wholesome Cast Member interactions, ever since he took on the mantel of Disney CEO, Bob Chapek has been as popular a topic of discussion as the Theme Parks themselves.

Disney CEO Bob Chapek/ Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Disney CEO Bob Chapek/ Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Related: Disney’s Enormous Price Rise is “Inevitable”: Executives

Disney has been under fire from fans recently for the rising prices, especially because many fans feel like the price is not reflective of the quality of the experience. However, despite the concerns from fans, per this report from The Wall Street Journal,  The Walt Disney Company is making more money than ever from the Disney Parks, with fewer Guests in attendance than prior to the pandemic.

However, even though this is the case, and profits are on the rise, Disney’s stock prices are presently at a 5-year-low according to The Motley Fool. So, what do all these seemingly contradictory facts actually mean?

James—@sayheyjames—a fan and TikToker who makes videos commenting on all things Disney, took to the platform to discuss the topic.

James opened the video with the following:

“Ever since Bob Chapek became the head of The Walt Disney Company, or as he’s lovingly referred to by fans as ‘Bob Paycheck,’ people have noticed that things have changed in a not-so-positive light…Well attendance at the Disney Theme Parks are down, they have not reached pre pandemic levels, there are less people in the Parks, so if you’re seeing that you’re right. So you might be thinking that, ‘well if less people in the Parks, less money being generated.’ No, actually the opposite has happened and its really fascinating.” 

James noted that Disney has managed to keep Park attendance down and increase profits by trading out previously free services, like FastPass+, for paid services like Genie+ and Lightning Lane. They’ve also removed complimentary services such as the Magical Express which provided transportation from the airport.

Mickey and Friends, Walt Disney World Resort/Disney

Mickey and Friends, Walt Disney World Resort/Disney

James continued that after laying off thousands of Cast Members due to COVID-19, the Disney Parks haven’t hit pre-pandemic employee levels either. Guests have noticed attractions breaking down more frequently and an increasing number of issues in the Parks; finally, James rounded off his observations by noting that Disney+ is a massive moneymaker for The Walt Disney Company.

“An interesting factor in all of this, though, is the stock prices of the Disney company. While The Wall Street Journal has pointed out that allegedly the Disney Company is still increasing their profits, the stock price has fallen since this time last year, where it was trading at roughly $180 a share,” James elaborated, “today, it’s trading at roughly $111 a share.”

So to the question of “Is Disney Dying?” this was James’s answer:

“It’s kind of a yes and kind of a no. No, in the fact that the Disney Company is still making record profits. Money’s still coming in. People are still buying things and still showing up to the Parks. However, the quality of the experience is now becoming compromised in a lot of individuals’ eyes. Will this reflect more tanking of the stock price or actual stagnant growth within the company? Only time will tell. But as of right now, people are still willing to pay the price for Disney.”

Disney CEO Bob Chapek

Disney CEO Bob Chapek/Disney

Fans chimed in, in the comments, sharing their thoughts about the matter. John Blackstock said, “Thanks to Bob paycheck never before in the history of Disneyland have so many people been so disillusioned, dissatisfied, disappointed, & overcharged.”
“My magic key is up TODAY. It’s my last day in the Park. I will not be renewing unfortunately. Not worth it IMO,” Rachel Gam agreed.
Meanwhile, current Cast Member Justin Bazzini provided a different perspective, “I do not represent Disney but I am a current Cast Member. We are as busy as can be without packing in the parks. it’s more comfortable for the Guests.”
Only time will tell what the effects of all the recent changes are for the Walt Disney Company’s future.
We at Disney Fanatic will continue to report on this and all other Disney news as it comes to light.

About Priyanka Kumar

Priyanka is a writer, artist, avid reader, and travel enthusiast based in Chicago. In her free time, she is probably walking by the lake, catching up on the latest releases on TV, or spending inordinate amounts of time rewatching Moana, Encanto, and her Disney Channel life-long favorites Zack and Cody wreak havoc on the Tipton.

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