Don’t expect Disney to get rid of its park pass reservation system anytime soon. The system, which was implemented in 2020 when Disney began reopening its park from their pandemic shutdown, helps the company create a better guest experience, according to CEO Bob Chapek.

What You Need To Know

  • Disney CEO Bob Chapek participated in the WSJ Tech Live conference Wednesday

  • Chapek answered questions about the parks, the reservations system and more

  • He said the company's park pass reservation system creates a better guest experience

  • The system was implemented when Disney reopened its theme parks after their pandemic-related closures

“We want to guarantee a great guest experience no matter when people come,” Chapek said, while speaking at the Wall Street Journal Tech Live conference on Wednesday. “If they come the second Tuesday in September, we want them to have a great guest experience. Maybe that wouldn’t be so hard in the past, but if they come the day after Thanksgiving, we also want to guarantee that they are going to have a great experience.”

With the system, those wanting to visit Disney’s theme parks need to book a park pass for the day of their visit. Chapek likened it to systems that other companies use to manage demand.

“So what we developed during the COVID shutdown is a reservation system so we can plan like every other business out there, like an airline that’s got fixed capacity, an airline, hotel, cruise industry," he said. "We developed a reservation system so people would know ahead of time whether they were going to get in or not."

Disney is facing separate lawsuits filed by Disneyland and Disney World passholders in relation to the system.

Chapek answered questions from Wall Street Journal editor in chief Matt Murray on a number of other topics, including Disney’s streaming service, plans for a metaverse, and lessons learned from the dispute with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on the state’s Parental Rights in Education law, which critics have dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” law.

When the company's initial response did not include a public statement about the legislation, Disney experienced backlash from the public as well as Disney employees — and even led to walkouts. When asked what lessons he learned from the incident, Chapek said the company was reminded that it’s all about cast members.

“You have to make sure the cast is at the center of everything you do,” Chapek said. “We were reminded, through the passion of our cast reaction, and how important their sentiments are on these issues in terms of making them feel that they were part of The Walt Disney Company and could relate to the products that the Walt Disney Company puts out."

Chapek, who became CEO in early 2020 after leading the company’s parks division for several years, was also asked about criticisms he’s received since assuming the top job.

“My own personal feelings aren’t really important,” Chapek said. “What’s important is how people think about our company, and so I take myself out of it.”

In June, Disney’s board of directors voted unanimously to extend Chapek’s contract by three more years. His contract will now expire in 2025.


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