The annual shareholder meeting for Walt Disney (DIS 0.33%) is now a month away, and things could get a little heated. CEO Bob Chapek is in the crosshairs of angry theme park fans congregating on social media, and they're looking to challenge Chapek's leadership of the media giant as shareholders. 

Coverage of the anti-Chapek fervor has been limited largely to Disney enthusiast blogs, but even Monday's New York Post ran a piece on the backlash the CEO is facing. Could a loud group of angry shareholders oust Chapek from the corner office? The short answer is -- no, they can't -- but this is a bigger story than that.

Alice, Mad Hatter, and Rabbit confused at the Mad Tea spinning teacup ride at Disney World.

Image source: Disney.

We're going to need a bigger vote

Disney's helmsman is on the ballot in next month's proxy vote, but it's not his corner office that's up for grabs. All 11 board members are up for renewal. In short, it's just Chapek's board seat -- and not his actual status at CEO -- that can be upended if a majority of shareholders want him gone. 

This doesn't mean Chapek is safe. We have an interesting precedent with pitchforks rising at a Disney annual shareholder meeting. It was 2004 when activist investors rallied against then-CEO Michael Eisner. With 43% of the shares withheld, he escaped being booted from the board, but Disney got the message. He was demoted as chairman of the board, resigning as CEO a year later.

The problem here is that angry retail shareholders don't have the votes on their own to have Chapek removed from the board. The 2004 revolt had a lot of large stakeholders -- including Walt Disney's nephew Roy, Pixar Chairman Steve Jobs, and even Comcast (CMCSA -0.12%) CEO Brian Roberts -- joining pension funds and other institutional investors clamoring for change. That's not going to happen this time.

Let's start with what's eating Disney fans on the state of the media giant. The venom seems to be oozing largely from theme park enthusiasts. The opening line of this week's New York Post story mentions fans "fuming over soaring ticket prices and long lines at theme parks." Does anyone see the problem there? Long lines and higher admissions are magic to the ears of shareholders, at least the institutional investors and pension funds that can get behind the fiduciary duty of maximizing returns for its investors. One can also argue that if lines are long despite rising prices and suspended sales of many annual pass types, it has the pricing elasticity to be even more expensive

Some of the other moves that are gnawing away at Disney World pass holders -- including charging for access to expedited queues and making in-park photos a premium add-on -- are just incremental revenue generators that rival theme park operators have been offering for years. It's easy to see why the folks spending more for a day at the park are upset, but not the shareholders who are looking for ways to offset rising costs. Comcast's Roberts said his company's Universal Orlando resort just had the most profitable quarter in its history. You don't see too many people asking him to step down.

Disney stock has been disappointing lately, but things aren't as bad as you think. Bob Iger handed Chapek the keys to the kingdom at the end of February 2020, when the world was on fire. Disney shares have risen 11% under Chapek's watch, losing to the market, but not the negative return one might expect for a company operating theme parks and cruise lines while providing movie theaters with content. It continues to be the top draw for investors among entertainment stocks, but it's going to need large investors -- not just loud but small ones on the socials -- to rattle the House of Mouse.