OpEd: Is Bob Chapek Actually Giving Guests What They Want?

Bob Chapek
Credit: Disney

Okay, I know what you’re probably thinking, but hear me out.

Since he took over the role of Disney CEO in February 2020, Bob Chapek has consistently been one of the least popular CEO’s in Disney history. While most people thought that he handled the theme park COVID closures as well as anyone could, they have been decidedly less forgiving regarding everything he has done in the years since.

Bob Chapek

Credit: Disney

In the few years that he has been at the helm, theme park tickets to places like Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort have shot up. Prices at Disney Resort hotels have also increased, leaving many families feeling priced out of a magical Disney trip. Even things like bottles of water and Mickey pretzels have become more expensive.

Aerial View

Credit: Disney

One of Chapek’s most unpopular moves was to end Disney’s free FastPass system and replace it with Disney Genie+ — a system that can cost each Guest up to $30 per day. While many thought that the new system would help cut down on wait times and help increase the number of attractions you can enjoy each day, lines seem out of control and Disney Genie+ may only get you to the front of the line on 2 to 3 rides on a busy day.

Tomorrowland Speedway

Credit: Disney

With all those things combined, Disney Guests seem more miserable than ever. Many say that Disney has “lost its magic” and that they won’t be visiting the Parks as much as they used to in the past.

Recently, Bob Chapek spoke at the Wall Street Journal Tech Conference and said that Disney is prioritizing listening to its Guests. Now, everything that I listed above may make you wonder, “Is he really listening? Because if he were, then prices wouldn’t keep going up and Disney Genie+ would be a failed experiment of the past.”

Bob Chapek

Credit: Wall Street Journal

However, even though people say they are unhappy with Disney, they continue to go to the Parks in droves. Some Parks seem more crowded than they were prior to the pandemic (so much for that reservation system) and, during peak seasons, the Parks continue to reach capacity.

So, it seems that Bob Chapek isn’t so much listening as watching.

Why would he get rid of the reservation system? Why would he get rid of Disney Genie+ and bring back FastPass? Why would he lower hotel or ticket prices? We are still going to the Parks and spending money and, as long as that is happening, that means that we are really okay with all the changes that are being made.

Disney Enchantment

Credit: Disney

So, while it may seem that Bob Chapek is doing everything that is anti-Disney, Guests are accepting it by visiting. Until Guests put their collective feet down and say “enough is enough”, he will continue to watch and act accordingly, always with profit in mind.

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!