LIFE IS A SPECTRUM / The Happiest Place on Earth??

angry_letter_writers

I realize that yelling at Disney is a bit like this.

FROM WDW to ME:

Dear Ms. Broadfoot,

Thank you for speaking with me regarding your recent visit to the Walt Disney World Resort.

I am very sorry for the disappointment you experienced during your family's New Year's Eve celebration at Disney's Hollywood Studios Park.

I wanted to personally assure you that your feedback has been considered taken seriously. The safety and well-being of our guests are of the utmost importance to us in all aspects of our operation. Our Cast Members are instructed to assist Guests requiring assistance and their families to our First Aid stations located in each of our four theme parks. These locations are established areas where your family can seek comfort during experiences like the one you encountered from the actions of other Guests. I am sorry if you felt assistance was not promptly provided to you, and truly apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you and your family. Please be assured that your comments have been shared with the appropriate Disney management.

Our Guests? feedback allows for our continual growth and the preservation of the magic Walt Disney dreamed about, and I thank you again for your feedback. I am available Wednesday through Sunday between 11 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. EST should you have any questions.

Thank you again for sharing your thoughts with us.

Best Regards,

Benjamin Bradley
Guest Communication Services
Walt Disney World Resort
407-560-2898

****

write-complaint-letter-elephants

If only it were this easy.

FROM ME to WDW:

Dear Mr. Bradley,
Thank you for taking the time to talk to me a week ago about my concerns and for your email below. However, I'm afraid I haven't made myself clear about the problem we encountered at the Commissary in Hollywood Studios.

When I first contacted you, I wasn't complaining about noise in the restaurant in which we dined. My son, who is 4 years old and autistic, was bullied. He was targeted by a group of aggressive, rude and possibly drunk teenagers who found it amusing to blow their noisemakers directly at him non-stop so that they could watch him hit himself in the head -- his reaction when he gets upset.

The teenagers were asked politely by my father to stop. They refused. In fact, they redoubled their efforts and blew the noisemakers almost constantly. When my brother-in-law told them, "You are tormenting an autistic child," their response was, AND I QUOTE, "That's not my problem."

At that point, my family asked for help from the manager. She also asked them nicely to stop. When they wouldn't, she said there was nothing she could do.

Surely Disney takes a stand against bullying. Surely it is not too much to ask to eject bullies from restaurants when they are targeting children, particularly those with special needs who are the least able to defend themselves. I am certain that restaurants like The Brown Derby or Cinderella's Castle wouldn't accept that kind of behavior. Is there a dollar value at which a family can expect a restaurant to provide a safe environment?

There were ten adults in our group and four children. We had paid quite a bit of money for our dinner, despite the fact that the Commissary is one of the lower-cost options, and should be entitled to eat it in peace. The idea that we should have to take our dinner to the first aid station, one of the "safe havens," in order to ensure our children weren't bullied, is nothing short of ridiculous.

I'm glad that Disney has designated certain areas as "safe havens" within the park. But every area of Disney should be a safe haven for any child.

I am going to suggest to my readers, who have been following my communications with WDW on my blog, that before they take their special needs child into any of your parks, they input the number for Disney Security into their cell phones. Then, should their child be bullied, they can call security for assistance, as it seems the cast members are not empowered to protect children.

If you have a better suggestion, I would welcome your input.

I will be posting this letter, as well as your email to me, on my blog at http://www.LifeIsASpectrum.com.

Best regards,

Amanda Broadfoot

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My hat is off to you for your polite, yet firm response. Well done.

I am SO sorry!

That is so, so galling!!! I read Beth Zimmerman's post and had to follow through here to see it for myself ... because, of course, who could believe that such barbaric behavior is still possible??? And that the manager couldn't be bothered doing his job, or getting security??? I've always hated Disney World, and this just cements my case. I am so, so sorry your family had to go through this ....

I am new to the "Spectrum" via my son's diagnosis but am quickly learning what it means to advocate for my child. You'd think a Disney themepark would be one place you wouldn't have to advocate for a child. Disney's response truly is unacceptable. It makes me sad to know that people can be so obnoxious and hurtful towards a young child, and a huge "family friendly" company like Disney thinks telling you to go to a First Aid station is an acceptable response. I've tweeted about this too (@thankfulmomma) via Beth (Work in Progress)

I am deeply disappointed by the reaction you have had thus far from Disney. How is it fair, or providing a wonderful family experience, when the victim and his family are the ones that have to seek a "safe haven". Isn't the park as a whole supposed to be such?

My family also has an autistic son, and we have made two trips to Disney World... after reading this, i am inclined to not repeat a trip there.

I have just found your blog via the "share" tool from a friend on Facebook... i have done the same.

wow. I'm not sure how i found your blog but my heart just hurts when i think about what your family and little guy had to go thru and how WEAK the response from Disney has been. I hope that with all our support they can step up their policies in order to protect their guests in the future. Those teens should have definitely been kicked out (at the least! i would like to meet them in a dark alley and teach them a lesson or 3!) and I can only hope that KARMA comes around for them someday.

Total 25 comments

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