It's over. Disney's (NYSE:DIS) search for a new CEO could have landed it a dynamic chieftain from outside the company -- it flourished two decades ago after Roy Disney Jr. brought in Michael Eisner and Frank Wells -- but the board took the easy way out. On Sunday, it revealed that it would promote Bob Iger to replace Eisner at the top.

The announcement came one day after The Wall Street Journal reported that eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) CEO Meg Whitman got in touch with a Disney board member and asked to have her name removed from the short list of potential replacements.

Whitman's move may not come as much of a surprise to listeners of The Motley Fool Radio Show. We had her on last month and asked her whether she was interested in running Disney. She responded that she would not want the CEO gig there because she was already at the helm of best company in the world.

Whitman would have been a great mouse-eared chief. She was an executive at Disney's consumer-products division before making the move to eBay. She also excelled in marketing at toy maker Hasbro (NYSE:HAS). The areas in which Disney was struggling the most in recent years are exactly her strengths. But eBay was so dear to her because the market has been kind to the company over the years. In fact, both companies have market caps just north of the $50 billion mark.

Disney will be missing out on a proven creator of wealth here, but Whitman could be making an even bigger mistake. Disney is starting to turn itself around. From ABC's strong comeback to the banner year that looks to be in store for the theme parks, Disney could have given her easy accolades as inertia did its thing. Indeed, staying at eBay may be the riskier thing for Whitman to do.

Why? Well, because there are more than a few signs indicating that eBay's high-growth days are a thing of the past. This year, the company is looking to grow earnings per share by no more than 24%. The world's leading auctioneer is also showing symptoms of vulnerability. It recently had to scale back a recent fee hike, and it seems to be offering cut-rate listing promotions at a feverish pace these days. Rule Breakers newsletter recommendation (NASDAQ:OSTK) is also promoting its new auction offerings aggressively, and that's something that others like Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) never did.

We may never know whether Disney's board had finally snapped out of its hypnotic spell and was ready to hire an outsider the way it did in 1984. But Whitman would have been smart to keep her hat in the ring anyway. Instead, Disney and Meg both took the easy way out -- and it's a shame.

Here are a few recent Disney and eBay headlines:

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz thinks that Meg Whitman's ability to grow a community would have served her well at Disney. He owns shares of Disney. The Fool has a disclosure policy. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.