Back in January, I detoured from my usual discussion of EPCOT Center to reflect on The Walt Disney Company's horrible decision to move the annual shareholder's meeting to New Orleans.
Many of you commented (both publicly and, even more so, personally by e-mail) that this move really should be taken at face value as Disney's efforts to bring attention and business to the New Orleans area, ravaged in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina.
The Associated Press reports today that this year's Walt Disney Company Annual Meeting of Shareholders was attended by ... 400 people.
Now, bear in mind that last year in Anaheim, Disney attracted (according to the AP) "several thousand" shareholders. Sure, it's true that Disney "webcast" this year's shareholder's meeting, but since there was no opportunity for interaction, the result wasn't much different than reading a transcript of the proceedings.
Could it be that the miniscule attendance in New Orleans is exactly what Disney wanted? What, then, are they running away from?
Could it be that they don't want to discuss the downsizing, outsourcing and selling-off of the theme parks? That they really don't care to get into a conversation about ABC's dramatically plummeting ratings? Could they be a little embarrassed by Bob Iger's $15-million payday?
Or is it, simply, that they are finally letting the "little guy" know that we really, frankly, don't matter? Sure, they want tens of thousands from each of us for a Disney Vacation Club "membership," and have put a sales kiosk everywhere (including EPCOT's Future World, above) but your resort toilet. But what about those who invest the same amount in shares of the company then expect an opportunity to voice an opinion about how the company is being run? Well, you're just plain out of luck.
Sorry to digress from the EPCOT discussion -- just thought it might be worth following up on my original post.