Disneyland fans angered by exec’s ‘fat shaming’ comment

Some Disney fans are doubly furious after the company’s chief financial officer suggested reducing theme park food portion sizes as a cost-cutting measure — and then made a comment about guests’ weights as a joking justification. 

On Wednesday’s quarterly earnings call, Walt Disney Company CFO Christine McCarthy was asked how Disney is handling rising inflation.

“We have things on the cost of goods side,” McCarthy said. “And it’s interesting. Just last week … I was talking to our parks senior team about things we could do there. And there are lots of things that are worth talking about. We can adjust suppliers. We can substitute products. We can cut portion size, which is probably good for some people’s waistlines.”

The last part of the comment drew immediate scrutiny from Disneyland and Disney World fans, who had several reasons to bristle at McCarthy’s suggestions. In a year of penny-pinching at the parks, when everything from parking to line-skipping services have seen price increases (while traditional entertainment like fireworks and parades haven’t returned to pre-pandemic schedules), guests weren’t happy about hearing another thing may be reduced without a commensurate price decrease.

In addition, many viewed the “waistline” joke as a cheap shot, especially considering the vast majority of the Disney parks’ food options are hardly of the healthy variety. 

“So we’re fat shaming now as justification for cutting costs?” one person wrote on Twitter

“If they really cared about the overweight guests, they’d provide healthier options,” another fan wrote on the Disneyland subreddit. “What a bunch of BS.”

CEO Bob Chapek’s reign has increasingly been marked by cost-cutting paired with price increases, a combination that has not gone unnoticed by fans. At least one study has pointed out that Disney is pricing its most loyal fans out of the parks, which the company seems unbothered by as it targets its bigger-spending visitors. Chapek in particular called out the huge revenue increase brought in by Genie Plus, Disney World’s new app that charges each guest a fee to use an expedited line at attractions.

“One-third of our guests at Walt Disney World are buying the Genie Plus upgrade at $15, that’s per guest per day,” Chapek said on Wednesday’s call. “And that is a very, very material increase for us in per caps, but also in margins.”

The service is expected to launch “very soon” at Disneyland, Chapek said.