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How to complain to Disney

Often you'll hear me implore all of you to complain to Disney about issues such as the cutback in Fantasmic! but there is an art to complaining.  More to the point, there's some ways to do it the right way to get your point across without coming off like a jerk or not being fair.  If you've considered voicing your opinion but wanted to know the right way to do it, here's a quick guide.

Before we dive in, you may ask why one would want to complain.  As consumers, I feel that things will only change if we tell the supplier (Disney) that something they're doing is wrong.  We can gripe all we want online but the fact of the matter is complaints in the theme parks are the best way to get your voice heard.  After all, we spend hundreds and thousands of dollars at Walt Disney World and I think we have the right to tell management what we do and don't like.  Therefore, we should voice our opinions when something is great and when something isn't great.

We also need to discuss how to complain.  Understand the "front line Cast Members" (the ones wearing costumes) are the first people you will see but they are also the Disney employees that do not make these decisions.  In fact, many are emphatic to our plights.  When I complain about Fantasmic!, I often get Cast Members who agree with me.  Just understand that these people are the messengers, not the source of the problem so yelling your head off at a kid isn't going to do much.  Instead, calmly explain you are dissatisfied and why.  

When at all possible, I like to complain to managers or people higher up in the Disney food chain.  The reason I prefer to complain to them is because managers have a greater influence on the park day-to-day operations.  It's the managers who are in the meetings that help decide changes in the park, not the kid taking my FASTPASS at Toy Story Midway Mania.  If you'd like to speak to a manager, just say something like "I'm not happy about ____ but I'd like to speak with your manager just so I can be assured my complaint is going to be heard by the people that need to hear it".  

If you're going to complain, you need to find the right place and person to do so.  The first choice is Guest Relations, where you have Cast Members dedicated to guest satisfaction.  What's interesting is Guest Relations actually doesn't take complaints.  If you say you want to lodge a complaint, they will usually tell you to email Disney Guest Relations (on the flip side, if you have a compliment, they will take it down immediately right then and there, which seems a little wrong). That being said, you should still feel free to complain because voicing your opinion is still important.  So general complaints like the Fantasmic! cutback, displeasure with merchandise and other broad complaints are best suited here.

You could complain about anything really in Guest Relations but sometimes I like to bring the issue to the people who are in charge of that particular entity.  A great example is if I'm not happy at a restaurant.  I feel that by directing my complaints to the people who have an everyday hand in the issue, I will get more accomplished.  If you're at a restaurant and don't like a recent menu change or the service or whatever, I feel it's best to complain there rather than leave and go to Guest Relations.  Ask to speak to a manager and tell him or her why you aren't happy.

Also understand that after you complain, there isn't much that will happen right then and there.  Expect to be thanked for your opinion and that's about it.  While that seems like your complaint was a waste of time, it really wasn't.  Disney thrives on guest feedback and the more feedback they get (good or bad), the more likely something will change.  While it doesn't seem like you stopping by to complain about something will change everything, it's a collective effort.  Just remember to be courteous and fair and remember the people you complain to likely aren't the ones that instituted the change, but they can be our conduit to effecting change down the line.

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A regular look into Disney's Hollywood Studios, both past and present, with commentary and analysis from Matt Hochberg.


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Posted: Wednesday, September 22, 2010 by