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Thursday, October 3, 2013
Disneyland Misses the Mark
Disneyland Misses the Mark
Several weeks ago
a reader of my blog asked for a little help with information on taking her dying
son to Disneyland. They do not live in California. The boy was scheduled for
medical treatment in the Los Angeles area and they would be in town for 4 days
with the possibility of taking their child to the park and out of the hospital
for 1 precious day!
They hoped Disney
would give them tickets to the parks Mickey’s Halloween Party but tickets are
only given if the person goes through a nonprofit such as Make a Wish. This
little boy did not wish to use Make a Wish because he did not want take resources
away from some other child that needs it. Also the treatment in the area came
up unexpectedly. There was not much time and many other things to do with this
boys medical needs to take time to set this up with Make a Wish or any other
organization. I do understand the reasoning behind Disney requiring those in
need go through an established organization. Disney wants to make sure that
those that really deserve the attention get it. Sadly there are people out
there that would lie for free tickets to a Disney Park. Look at the stories
about abuse of the Guest Assistance Cards at the park. If someone would do that
they would take free tickets too. Going through an approved organization is how
Disney can verify that the story they hear is true and the need valid.
tickets they still planned on going. They had 7 people total, the sick child
plus parents, 2 adult siblings and 1 in-law along with nurse for the child. I
stepped in to make a few calls and contacted Disneyland and ended up talking to
someone in Community Relations. These people really wanted to help but due to
rules what they could do would be limited. I waited between calls for things to
happen. Finally I was informed that most likely they would not get tickets but
special seating for the parade and fireworks would be set up. Still communication
was not totally clear as to if they would get tickets and what to do. The
family was thankful for anything Disney might do!!!
Sadly this did not
happen. Communication was incomplete. Disney wanted to talk to the family directly
and the family is under such stress at this time I believe they were not fully
understanding what was needed or being offered by Disney. I think that was part
of the communication breakdown.
The family tried
to purchase tickets for the Halloween Party the day before at the park. Sadly
they were informed the party was sold out! They were informed they would be put
on a list so they could still purchase tickets if they came back the next day
(when they wanted to come). When they returned the next day they were shuffled
from line to line being told no list existed and the party sold out until
finally, in the 4th line they were told tickets were available and
they could pay FULL price not the presale price they could have paid the day
before! By the time all of this happened they missed the parade. This was the
start of their “Magical” time at Disneyland.
inside the park they stopped at City Hall for their Guest Assistance Card. They
asked if they were on the list for special viewing of the Fireworks as promised.
They were not on the list! After having to repeat their story and saying what
had been promised to multiple people they were finally “put on the list”.
Having to do this added stress to the entire family and took more time away
from enjoying each other at Disneyland.
The family got on
2 rides in Fantasyland before heading over to the VIP seating area for the
fireworks. Once there they talked to the Cast Member and were told they were
NOT on the list, again!! Once more they repeated their story until they were
finally granted access to the VIP seating area. More frustration and disappointment.
By the time the
fireworks were done this family was tired, frustrated and disillusioned. Their
Magical Day at Disneyland was anything but Magical. The little boy summed it up
by saying, “How can Disney care less about me than anybody else?”
Now to be fair I’ve
got calls out to Disneyland to find out where the miscommunication happened. So
far the people I’ve talked to are sympathetic and understand how wrong this
was. Disney does NOT like having unhappy guests, especially guests with special
needs such as this! They are looking into what happened and into what they can
do to make it right for this family and, even more importantly to make sure
this does not happen to anybody else in the future. The people I’ve spoken to
are glad I’ve taken the time to follow through and let them know what happened!
As is the family.
The first moral of
this sad and true story is if Disney makes a mistake don’t stay silent!! If
something is broke/not working they can’t fix it if they don’t know it is not
functioning! They cannot see/know everything that goes on in the parks! You don’t
have to scream and yell. You don’t have to take it out on the first Cast Member
you see. Be clear and direct in your communication and ask to go up the chain
of command if you don’t feel you are getting the answers and result you think
does not always work. I feel like saying, “Come on Disney!! Less than $450
worth of tickets!! Your really can’t afford that?!?!” Yet, on the other side of
the coin I do understand they can’t give to everybody that asks and they have
to have a system in place to confirm the need and truthfulness of the person
they are giving tickets/perks too. That is a legitimate concern for both Disney
and the people in need. If Disney just handed out tickets and such to anybody
that “said” they had a need soon they would have to stop giving them out
altogether! They would have to stop the abuse that WOULD happen.
The second moral
to this story is if you have a need contact an organization such as Make a
Wish! See if they can help you. For those of us that don’t have a need donate
to organizations such as Make a Wish! Help those like this little boy that
deserve a happy day at Disneyland! ***UPDATE*** Disney is in contact with this family and IS attempting to make things right for them!
Christmas book, “An Angel Remembers 25 Voices of Christmas” is available!!
This is a collection of 26 short Christmas stories that
together bring the amazing events of Christ’s birth alive. It is my hope that
this will help encourage families to spend 10-15 minutes a day together during
the busy holiday season remembering the true reason for the season.
find it for ALL eReader formats and PDF at: