Bob Chapek, Disney's new CEO.
Tuna Amobi, director and industry analyst at CRFA Research.
To be sure, the title of CEO will require Chapek to oversee many things, from shareholder concerns to the growth of the Disney + streaming service. But there should be no worries about the theme parks, several experts said.
Amobi said that theme parks typically go into cycles of major investments, and Disney is in that cycle now, which should support the notion that the company will continue to invest money in new attractions and amenities.
And Chapek will not step into that position alone, but instead with someone helping him make the transition, said Duncan Dickson, a tourism industry expert and retired attractions professor who now serves as a principal at A&D Partners, a human resources consulting firm. That's because Iger plans to serve out the remainder of his contract that ends in 2021 as president of the company, as well as taking a creative role in the efforts he wants to complete before he leaves. "[This transition] gives Chapek the opportunity to bounce ideas off Iger. It's a good opportunity to keep the main guy there and train the new guy," Dickson said.
In addition, Dickson said that Chapek's more recent role in the theme park business shows how much he values that division, which should allay any concerns. "He was responsible for the parks, so he probably has a better understanding of the park than Iger does."
However, Chapek's appointment has sparked some animosity among Disney fans. For example, some have posted on social media that they fear Chapek will cut back on capital investments in the theme parks - with some calling his appointment "a nightmare" for the parks.
But speculating about the future of the theme parks may be a bit premature, as there will now be a huge hole left by Chapek with his departure from overseeing the parks. And that position will have an equal impact on the parks, said Robert Niles, editor of Theme Park Insider, an attractions website.
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