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Will Disney be ignoring all guest comments?

Written by
Published: August 7, 2008 at 1:01 PM

I've spent quite a bit of time in Busch and Six Flags theme parks this summer, talking with park managers who have made a point of insisting that their companies read and respond to every written or e-mailed guest comment that they receive. I haven't written a guest comment to either company since, well, ever, so I don't have any first-hand experience with whether that is indeed the case. But the managers I spoke with felt strongly enough about the topic that they brought it up.

Now, for the other side... Al Lutz reports on MiceAge this week that Disney won't be even reading comments from its guests anymore. In the section titled "Mickey, Can You Hear Me?" Lutz reports that Disney, in response to lawsuits from guests who allegedly made suggestions that Disney later adopted, won't be allowing guests to fill out comment cards inside the park. Nor will it even read letters about theme park visits sent in by guests.

"When [a] letter contains a phrase or sentence that mentions a visit to a Disney park, it is folded closed. Once closed, the visitors letter is attached to a form letter that politely informs the reader that this correspondence has been formally rejected by Disney for liability reasons and has been returned to the sender without further acknowledgement of the company.

"The form letter and the visitor's original letter are then stuffed into a larger envelope, and the packet is returned to the sender via regular mail."

OMFG. I can't even wrap my head around this one. You've got to be kidding me.

Readers' Opinions

From Reid Loveland on August 7, 2008 at 1:46 PM
I put Al Lutz in the same category as Jim Hill: I'll believe it when I see it.

Disney would never be so callous as to do something like this. And the backlash from something like this would be just amazing that it would quickly be stopped.

From Christopher Combs on August 7, 2008 at 2:08 PM
i am very disappointed to hear news like this. when i worked there it was crammed into our brains that custumer service was number one. and that guest are heard. this is somewhat troubling in my opinion. but for some reason, and i hate to say this, but its not too surprising. ive felt there is a hidden side of disney's leadership that are just like "who cares what happens to them, were still making the money". but that may not be true. but i feel like that sometimes. but there must be a logical reason for all this. i have all faith in disney
From Christopher Palma on August 7, 2008 at 2:09 PM
I can say I have written quite a few comments to Six Flags this season regarding Great Adventure, and every single one, even those thanking them for a previous assistance have been answered very uickly and I have to say each response has been very helpful and addressed the uestion or concern precisely.
From Sylvain Comeau on August 7, 2008 at 2:20 PM
I blame the damn lawyers, and the lawsuit mania infecting the U.S. If it really has become a problem for Disney, what can they do? They can't leave themselves exposed to malicious lawsuits all the time.

May I say it again? Goddam greedy lawyers!

From Brian Emery on August 7, 2008 at 2:27 PM
I think it’s all BS and I don’t believe everything I read anyway.. Heck I don’t believe the things I write either….You know, because then I re-read what I just wrote and like I said I don’t believe everything I read… hahahahahahaaahahaha

Let’s try to send some comments to Disney and see what happens.
Who is with me?

From Anthony Murphy on August 7, 2008 at 2:43 PM
As far as I know, they read the comments, but what they do with the opinion is unknown.


One example was the closure of PI. I know many people who have written letters and there is actually a Save the Adv Club on facebook. They seem quite big on saving the AC so much so that they were verbally yelled at by the VP of the Downtown Disney Area for complaining/protesting. Here is the message I got from them:


Last night, several from this Facebook group reported DTD VP Kevin Lansberry showed up at the Adventurers Club last night and pulled people one by one out of the club who were suspected of passing out handbills with information about the petitions and groups working to save the Adventurers Club.

When Lansberry was later accosted by people who were pissed at his
presence, what he was doing, etc., he jumped on his Segway and zoomed off into the night only to return with even more security personnel, including a bodyguard-type who followed Lansberry throughout the Island.

Three separate guests reported to our program that there were
literally dozens of Disney security personnel at the AC, alone, last
night.

Also new last night:

*A new rumor has surfaced which suggests the Walt Disney Company has
not signed a single contract for the venues it hopes to put up in
place of the AC and other Pleasure Island. FOR ANYONE WHO ONCE
SUGGESTED THIS EFFORT WAS FUTILE, think again. We have a huge asset in this news. Keep fighting.


--Brandon

Complaints? News? Rumors? Hate Mail? Message ME.


(I took out the website so not to publicize them on this forum- Of course their claims might not be true)

From Robert Niles on August 7, 2008 at 2:55 PM
As for the concern about lawsuits, California has a "malicious prosecution" law that allows defendants to sue the living daylights out of anyone who brings a frivolous lawsuit against them.

A) I find it hard to believe that any of these suits that Lutz described would not be tossed swiftly once filed. Courts really don't stand for much of this stuff.

B) If any of these suits did make it to trial (I've not seen any press reports, and, trust me, these are cases that papers would eat up), I cannot believe that Disney wouldn't use California's malicious prosecution law to nail the lawyers who brought them.

Like I said, I can't wrap my head around this one.

From Donna Tolliver-Walker on August 7, 2008 at 2:56 PM
Busch has always responded quickly to my comments, which I've always submitted via email. Usually, I get an email back within 24 hours. I've asked for ingredients lists for food items, inquired about special events, and once reported a website problem I was experiencing -- that kind of thing.

Earlier this year, though, in response to an email I sent praising the service I received at one of the funnel cake shops, I got an actual postal letter in return. The second sentence of this letter is: "It is always a pleasure to hear from guests about their visits to our park."

Quite a difference in attitude, I'd say.

From Bruce Lane on August 7, 2008 at 6:55 PM
I don't buy it. My wife sent an E-mail query to Disney World not that long ago (granted, not in California). It mentioned a previous park visit, but it was answered promptly and courteously and contained all the info she'd asked for.

I've asked the nice folks at snopes.com to look into this. Hopefully, they will do so and get to the bottom line.

Happy travels.

From Donna Tolliver-Walker on August 7, 2008 at 8:28 PM
^ One does have to wonder if this is truly the policy, or one employee misrepresenting the situation, or some other mistaken report.
From LJ Warner on August 8, 2008 at 12:05 PM
I agree in that it is hard to believe that this kind of policy would be enacted by any "service" company. Disney provides a service of entertainment to the guests and a dis-satisfied guest will discuss their problems with more people than the satisfied guest.
I did send a comment to them last year about an incident involving some VERY Un-Disneylike actions of a crew member at the Disneyland Railroad, along with positive comments about 2 cast members and I received a prompt reply appologizing for the incident and thanking me for the positive comments. 3 years ago my family and I had a major problem at the River Belle Terrace(not involving food), we made a comment at the guest services on the way out that night and then I followed up with a letter. The reply sent to us resolved our sitiuation. I don't know if the addition of the fence around the eating area and the screening of people sitting the area came from guest complaints (including mine) or not, frankly I wouldn't care, I just wanted a place to sit and eat that food I just bought.
I certainly hope Disney does not turn their back on guests who have a legit problem. Since they encounter many people with non-exsistent or petty "problems" they do have to sort those out from the guests with real concerns. Sometimes that can take time and effort to respond to the right person and their problem.

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