Disney CEO Bob Chapek has made some very public mistakes of late, including his handling of the company’s response to Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
This weekend, Chapek returned to his alma mater, the University of Indiana, to receive an honorary doctorate and deliver a commencement speech. In it, he gave a heartfelt account of growing up in Hammond, Indiana, his family’s yearly trips to Disney World and his time at the university studying microbiology. It was not without its missteps, however.
In the speech, the Disney CEO compared himself to Iron Man and mistook Disneyland’s motto for that of Disney World.
“IU was my ticket to a new life…I was kind of desperate. Desperate to demonstrate my worthiness and desperate not to waste a dime of my parents’ money on a school that was frankly testing my limits at the time,” said Chapek. “But that desperation turned to determination and my dream of defying expectations and the odds took over. And just like Iron Man draws his energy from that Arc Reactor, I get a thump from my drive to prove myself every single day. It’s a lifetime power supply that pushes me through doubts, difficulties and around those who underestimate kids from the region.”
While Chapek ran Disney’s Parks division for five years before taking over as CEO in 2020, in his speech this weekend he mistakenly referred to Walt Disney World as “The Happiest Place on Earth.” That, of course, is Disneyland’s motto. Disney World is “The Most Magical Place on Earth.”
You can watch his speech in its entirety below.