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.

Without the 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.

After getting 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 you deserve.

No, “complaining” 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!




My 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.
You can find it for ALL eReader formats and PDF at:

For your Nook the link is:

It is also available at the iTunes book store and many other ebook seller sites.
The only big site not carrying my book is Amazon.

You can download a Kindle version from Smashwords.com

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