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Bob Iger Stepping Down, Bob Chapek New CEO

UNCgolf

Well-Known Member
New Fantasyland, Radiator springs, SWGE and Pandora, Festival of fantasy were all great additions to the Parks. He revamped/fixed DCA, Disneyland Paris and much of WDW. Epcot and HS are both getting much needed facelifts because of him. Disney Springs much better too. Art of Animation was another great addition. I could go on, but I’m confused as to why people think he didn’t do anything to the parks. The parks are much better because of him

You didn't really read what I said. I didn't even come close to implying he did nothing for the parks.

What I said was he had a lot of doubles that should have been home runs. New Fantasyland is a great example of that. It was nowhere near what it should have been. Pandora was probably a home run, but I'm not sure anything else has been (I'm only talking about WDW here). DHS has had one very good (albeit slightly disappointing) addition in SWGE, one horrible addition in TSL, and a good ride (MMRR) that's dragged down by replacing something that should not have been replaced.

The parks are not better because of him, though. They were better overall in 1995 than they are today, which is sad, although it's not like he's solely to blame for that. Eisner is as much to blame for EPCOT being a disaster, although Iger has done absolutely nothing to improve it.

Animal Kingdom is the exception -- it's definitely a better park now than it was 20 years ago because they've added some good things without removing anything of value. I don't think the park would exist at all if Iger had been in charge in the 90s, though.

To be fair to Iger, I don't know how much he was involved in any of this. We know Eisner was pretty involved in what went on in the parks (both good and bad, depending on the time frame), but I don't know that Iger did much beyond sign off on budgets. We do know about his IP mandate, though, which certainly wasn't a good thing for the parks.
 
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el_super

Well-Known Member
I mean someone who understands and loves the parks. Heck, I’d settle for “someone who has visited the parks” at this point!

I know this is going to sound CRAZY but, in all seriousness, Iger would probably be the best model for someone who cares about the parks. He spent lavishly on them, and made moves to keep the Disney company united as one entity. All that talk about selling off the parks or spinning them off was just that... talk.

There's a good chance that Chapek will feel the same. Iger was heavily invested in DISNEY as a legacy, and hopefully this new Bob will be as well. No one wants to be the Bob that sinks the company.
 

lazyboy97o

Well-Known Member
I know this is going to sound CRAZY but, in all seriousness, Iger would probably be the best model for someone who cares about the parks. He spent lavishly on them, and made moves to keep the Disney company united as one entity. All that talk about selling off the parks or spinning them off was just that... talk.

There's a good chance that Chapek will feel the same. Iger was heavily invested in DISNEY as a legacy, and hopefully this new Bob will be as well. No one wants to be the Bob that sinks the company.
Return on investment getting orders of magnitude worse because costs has spiraled out of control is not good for any business.

And actively seeking buyers is more than just talk.
 

el_super

Well-Known Member
Return on investment getting orders of magnitude worse because costs has spiraled out of control is not good for any business.

And actively seeking buyers is more than just talk.

The fact that costs have spiraled out of control IS a problem, absolutely. But unlike a late-stage Eisner that would have just refused to invest, Iger spent the money anyway.

I'm not entirely sure what the answer to the costs problem really is. Part of it was corporate bloat, most assuredly. Part of it was the culture of WDI, thinking that money should be of no concern. The only answer to that was ever going to be tearing down WDI, which was one of those type of decisions that would have been seen negatively within the fan community. It probably needed to be done, and the pandemic has basically done a lot of that work for them now.

There are still some things that are absolutely out of their control, and as long as they have the name Disney attached to them, contractors and businesses will always charge a little extra because they know Disney is good for it.

It's also hard to determine how serious talk is ... when it doesn't result in any action.
 

HauntedPirate

Sheltered-at-home Park nostalgist
Premium Member
Define what a parks-centric business leader would be. If you think it's someone who is going to spend recklessly on new attractions, then no, one does not exist.
WDI does a fine job of spending recklessly all by itself. And their spending gets approved by senior management. But hey, $450 million for a 65-second GotG roller coaster in the wrong park isn’t reckless, right?
 

_caleb

Well-Known Member
I know this is going to sound CRAZY but, in all seriousness, Iger would probably be the best model for someone who cares about the parks. He spent lavishly on them, and made moves to keep the Disney company united as one entity. All that talk about selling off the parks or spinning them off was just that... talk.

There's a good chance that Chapek will feel the same. Iger was heavily invested in DISNEY as a legacy, and hopefully this new Bob will be as well. No one wants to be the Bob that sinks the company.
I agree. Early Bob Iger (when he was Roy’s pick to Save Disney) and Late Bob Iger (when he was concerned about his legacy and potential political career) were the best Bob Igers as far as the parks were concerned. He (and his publicist and staff) worked to style himself as a modern Walt type, and that sort of includes how he has related to the parks/WDI.

Chapek, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to even be capable of pretending to be a parks guy.
 

UNCgolf

Well-Known Member
I mean someone who understands and loves the parks. Heck, I’d settle for “someone who has visited the parks” at this point!

It's basically the difference between early-era Eisner and what's come since. Early-era Eisner was heavily involved in the parks and invested in making sure everything was up to quality standards to the point of changing plans to make sure the theming was correct, sight lines were good, etc.

That obviously stopped later in his tenure (although he did thankfully still give us Animal Kingdom), but it never restarted under Iger.
 

lazyboy97o

Well-Known Member
The fact that costs have spiraled out of control IS a problem, absolutely. But unlike a late-stage Eisner that would have just refused to invest, Iger spent the money anyway.

I'm not entirely sure what the answer to the costs problem really is. Part of it was corporate bloat, most assuredly. Part of it was the culture of WDI, thinking that money should be of no concern. The only answer to that was ever going to be tearing down WDI, which was one of those type of decisions that would have been seen negatively within the fan community. It probably needed to be done, and the pandemic has basically done a lot of that work for them now.

There are still some things that are absolutely out of their control, and as long as they have the name Disney attached to them, contractors and businesses will always charge a little extra because they know Disney is good for it.

It's also hard to determine how serious talk is ... when it doesn't result in any action.
Iger did refuse to spend for most of his tenure. Many of those big projects like Hong Kong Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure were pushed by others outside the company. Even the current binge at Walt Disney World is more a last resort because things like NextGen failed at their goal of slowing the need for investment.

Costs are a problem of culture, not vendors. Contractors bend over backwards to stay on Disney’s good side, offering up severely discounted work and dealing with constant changes well beyond when they would be tolerated anywhere else without significant compensation. Disney’s bloat and excess largely stems from too many cooks in the kitchen. It’s not just Walt Disney Imagineering. When you have layers and layers and layer and layers of managers and executives who all get a say and are allowed to order drastic changes late in the process you get problems. There is no trust or accountability to get the job done well and on budget.
 

el_super

Well-Known Member
WDI does a fine job of spending recklessly all by itself. And their spending gets approved by senior management. But hey, $450 million for a 65-second GotG roller coaster in the wrong park isn’t reckless, right?

So what's the answer? Sell off WDI? Fire all the Imagineers and start over? Dare to tell them they have to spend less?

Putting a GotG coaster in EPCOT was a strategic decision, and I know it's debatable as to whether it was a good one or not, but $450 million is really inexcusable.
 

corran horn

Well-Known Member
What percentage of their brains do either of the Bobs dedicate to the Parks in their role as CEO?

From a profit ceiling perspective I imagine other areas of Disney are a little more easily reachable.
 

lazyboy97o

Well-Known Member
So what's the answer? Sell off WDI? Fire all the Imagineers and start over? Dare to tell them they have to spend less?

Putting a GotG coaster in EPCOT was a strategic decision, and I know it's debatable as to whether it was a good one or not, but $450 million is really inexcusable.
Trust but also accountability. You don’t need four layers of resort management to renovate a bar but if someone royally screws up then they don’t get a promotion.
 

el_super

Well-Known Member
Disney’s bloat and excess largely stems from too many cooks in the kitchen. It’s not just Walt Disney Imagineering. When you have layers and layers and layer and layers of managers and executives who all get a say and are allowed to order drastic changes late in the process you get problems. There is no trust or accountability to get the job done well and on budget.

Oh BOY how I know ... There's still a big gap between how fixing things internally, and how they are perceived externally. For me, as an example, I can't imagine how George K still has a job at Disney... but they like him, he's been a good Cast Member, so they kept him around. I can't imagine that his responsibilities are all that vital to the development process, but I can say with certainty that if he were fired or let go, it would be perceived as one of those "Chapek doesn't understand the business" type decisions that would be lambasted online.

So at the same time, Disney can be extremely proud of their culture and legacy, their family, all the while it is still weighing them down.

I tend to think that people don't appreciate those hard decisions when they launch into the classic old Eisner/Iger/Chapek debate.
 

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