The “Battle of the Bobs” culminated last week with one of the biggest shocks in Disney history.
Bob Iger is returning to once again head the Disney empire after The Walt Disney Company released an official notice on Sunday, November 20, 2022, revealing that Bob Chapek would be stepping down immediately as CEO. Chapek has been replaced by Bob Iger, who left the position at the beginning of 2020. Susan Arnold will continue to serve as Chairman of the Board.
After only a spooky 999 days in the role, Chapek’s firing came as a surprise to the entertainment world, with many rumors and theories swirling as to why he was so quickly let go by the Mouse.
And now, we’ve had the biggest “sign” that something bad went down between Disney and former Disney CEO Bob Chapek.
Amid several Disney PR backlashes, dealing with pandemic Park closures, and a divisive reputation, new CEO Chapek certainly had a rocky ride when it came to his public narrative. Disney fans had been calling for Mr Chapek to be fired for quite some time, with a petition going viral last year trying to persuade The Walt Disney Company to fire Disney CEO Chapek. It seems that suddenly, the Disney Board listened.
Chapek’s political battle with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis over the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, the new Disney Genie+ and Park Reservation systems, and a recent focus on budget cuts and layoffs after a poor quarterly earnings report all led to his untimely exit from the company.
Disney’s streaming services lost $1.47 billion last quarter, more than double the unit’s loss from a year prior, while shares of Disney fell roughly 8% in after-hours trading on Wall Street. It seems that Disney falling short of expectations for profit and key revenue segments led to Chapek’s demise.
But a recent “sign” has shown that Disney couldn’t remove Chapek quick enough from its history, revealing that perhaps, something more serious went on behind the scenes of the Iger-Chapek switch-up.
At Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay, signage that previously referenced Disney CEO Bob Chapek has been totally removed.
That’s right, in what some are calling the fastest refurbishment in Disney’s history, Chapek’s “Master Ship Builder” sign has been very quickly removed from the Disney Cruise Line island.
“Pump House 1” previously had a sign on the side that read “Bob Chapek, Master Ship Builder,” sat opposite a sign of Josh D’Amaro, the current Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. In a recent post by Twitter user @TheDCLBlog, the sign is seen to be “gone, gone gone”:
GONE, GONE, GONE#PumpHouse1Watch is OVER pic.twitter.com/p2nhkykyyv
— Scott Sanders ??? (@TheDCLBlog) November 27, 2022
Disney CEO Bob Iger recently diagnosed that Disney was losing its “soul” under Chapek’s time, and now it seems, Disney is making efforts to “lose” references to Chapek himself.
The fact that this sign was removed so quickly hints at some bad blood in the company. In the recent Cast Member town hall, Iger called himself a “Boomerang CEO,” saying he was “happy to return, but sorry he had to be asked”.
Bob Chapek’s role as Disney CEO followed a 15-year tenure from Bob Iger. Iger was a well-loved Disney CEO, steering Disney through acquisitions of Lucasfilm, Pixar, Marvel Studios, and 21st Century Fox to become the giant entertainment company it is today. It is unknown at this point how his reinstatement as Disney CEO will impact the company going forward, but he has already sent a heartfelt message to Cast Members expressing his “gratitude” for being back as Disney CEO.
We believe that it won’t be long before we see the former Bob Iger sign back up on Castaway Cay. The “Captain Bob Iger” sign referenced his wife, Willow Bay, and had a very different tone to Chapek’s “Master Ship Builder” sign:
With five ships (soon to be seven), a private Caribbean island, and a myriad of destinations from Norway to Alaska, Disney Cruise Line has become one of the most prestigious cruise companies since its launch in 1996.
Disney Cruise Line, of course, owns Castaway Cay, a private island in the Bahamas designed as an exclusive port of call for Disney’s ships. A second private destination, Lighthouse Point – a 700-acre property on the southern end of Eleuthera, Bahamas – is set to open in late 2022 or early 2023.
Castaway Cay is a 3-mile long, 1000-acre island used exclusively by Disney Cruise Line Guests and Crew Members. DCL’s ships dock right on the island, with the beautiful Serenity Bay about a 20-minute walk from the ship. We recommend walking to Serenity Bay and taking the shuttle back at some point during your day at Castaway Cay, so you don’t miss all the little Imagineering details and fun Disney story items – like the Disney executive signs!