It became most clear that Chapek could not appear in front of Disney fans after his brief meet and greet with guests on October 1st at the Magic Kingdom. While some asked the CEO for a quick pic, others heckled him from afar over budget cuts, mass layoffs, and the “nickel-and-diming” that have been a hallmark of his regime as either the head of the theme parks division or now the entire company. Once the heckling started, Chapek bolted from the scene to a backstage area. That being said, he’s never been one for public appearances or for actually greeting guests, often making brief on-stage appearances and then leaving as quickly as possible after a photo or video is taken.
The more knowledgeable the Disney fan, the more likely they are to disagree with Chapek’s decisions, which often go against long-standing beliefs of past executives in The Walt Disney Company. You’d be hard-pressed to find a room of more knowledgeable or die-hard fans than you will this weekend at Destination D23, an event attended by members of Disney’s official fan club. Chapek being booed as he walked on stage on Saturday wouldn’t be a good look for the CEO, so he simply won’t appear according to sources inside the company.
Saturday’s festivities will instead be lead off with some nondescript introduction, which after this piece may end up being pre-recorded by Chapek to save face. Either way, any and all announcements regarding the future on Saturday will be left to Josh D’Amaro, who will make his first keynote presentation to the public since taking the job.