View Full Version : Disney hates suggestions!

King Triton
09-23-2002, 11:46 AM
I am quite shocked with the letter I received from Disney today.:mad: Sometime ago, I mailed a letter with positive suggestions on how to improve the park and enhance some of the rides. I love Disney and I wanted to share some feedback that I thought would help. Then I receive this letter from Disney stating that they do not accept "ideas" from outside the company. :confused: The letter was surprising in a negative tone. Stating, please refrain from sending in any more suggestions.:mad:

If Disney hates feedback and suggestions, then why do they even do surveys at the parks??:confused: :confused: :confused: :confused: :confused:

Hey, I was only trying to point out some things to bring up attendance again. Chill out. A good company should always welcome feedback and suggestions.

Usually, I've always been treated nice by Disney. This one puzzles me.

King Triton

09-23-2002, 11:50 AM
Just out of curiousity -- who was the letter from?

09-23-2002, 11:50 AM
Ack! My sister got that form letter years ago when she wrote in suggesting a kids book for a movie. This was a book about toys that come to life and it was about a year before they started Toy Story-lol!

I think they are so paranoid about people wanting payment if they do something that was suggested that every suggestion gets that form letter.

We didn't like it, either!

09-23-2002, 12:00 PM
It's not uncommon, in fact, it's pretty standard procedure for entertainment companies not to accept unsolicited material. The main reason is legal.

If, for example, you write a great screenplay and send it unsolicited to them and they open it only to find out they are working on a similar idea, then the case could be made that they "stole" the idea (please see Andy Rooney and Coming to America).

The proper way is to write a query letter with a one or two line synopsis of the idea. If they want to hear more, they will ask, otherwise they will tell you no thanks. The query letter route keeps your idea private from them while still giving them the opportunity to see the work.

Also, most large entertainment companies do not accept material from people they don't know. That's why writers get agents and the agents to the talking.

I wouldn't take offense at the letter, you just went about it the wrong way. If you really have good ideas, then work them into a project. Ideas are a dime a dozen, you need to spend the time developing it yourself before simply presenting ideas. Once you have something concrete, then locate a contact to whom you can pitch your idea.


King Triton
09-23-2002, 12:14 PM
I wrote the letter to customer relations and to some of the top Disney suits. My only thinking is Disney is so paranoid that if they use any of my ideas, I might come back later on to demand payment for them (of course I would never do that). They are so afraid of lawsuits. The letter from Disney even made it clear that they will not keep a copy on file. The part, "Please refrain from sending in more suggestions" caught me by surprise. Come on guys - I only suggested some ideas to enhance some of the rides. At least send a friendly reply letter.

Corporate needs a big dose of pixie dust and relax. It is a good idea to get feedback from your paying customers. When someone sends in a good idea, they should be grateful and brainstorm over it. Maybe it will help the company. I know my letter did not go to the person I was addressing it to. Disney hires a paralegal to read all mail and most of it ends up in the trash. :mad:

Ever since the mid 90's, Disney has made some poor decisions in certain areas that have taken the Disney experience down a notch. Disney needs to be more open to suggestions, especially now. Stop living in a bubble and listen to your fans Mr. Eisner. We do count.

I will always love Disney, but chill out guys!

King Triton

King Triton
09-23-2002, 12:23 PM
The letter was from the legal department.

Isn't that funny.:bounce: :bounce: :bounce:

King Triton

09-23-2002, 12:33 PM
There go those d**n lawyers again ;). You are also seeing what results from a few greedy, selfish, sue happy people as well :(.

If you send Disney an idea, and they happen to do something similar in the future, it puts them at risk for not owning the creative liscence associated with the idea. Many a person has sued a company for using a similar idea. Disney is not about to start paying everyone who sends a letter or contributes an idea in the way you did. It is unfortunate that the state of the legal system and some people's propensity to sue results in an unpleasant letter like you received.

I'm sure they appreciate the feedback, but unsolicited ideas in such feedback creates a sticky situation. Now, if Disney gets your idea through a survey they are off the hook if they develop an idea based on the results.

Any ideas on a better way for Disney to handle the situation? I bet they paid a ton in legal fees to come up with the current 'nasty letter' solution :(. BTW - if you have an idea for a better way to handle the situation, by all means, don't send it to Disney :crazy:.

09-23-2002, 01:17 PM
As much as they get sued, they don't have much of a choice other than to take the stance they take.

After all, King Triton, if they used your ideas and attendance went up 10%, whats to stop you from sueing for your cut? In today's environment, nothing.

That doesn't mean that you personally would sue, but they don't know that.

They were sued over Wild World of Sports, and I even saw a suit filed over Mike (from Monsters Inc).

09-23-2002, 01:22 PM
I recently wrote to Ford with my thoughts about the upcoming redesign of the Mustang, and received a similarly curt letter in reply, which in effect stated, "Please keep your thoughts to yourself." I was put off by it just as you were by your reply from Disney legal.

As Dragonflymanor pointed out, I guess in situations of unsolicited ideas, they need to protect themselves legally, and they need to be very specific about the language of a reply in such a case -- hence the rather brusque tone.

I was insulted at first as well, but I'm getting over it. :D

09-23-2002, 02:04 PM
It's not just Disney. About 30 years ago my dad sent a few suggestions to a television show on ideas for a story. He received the exact same response. I think it is SOP or all entertainment companies.

09-23-2002, 04:32 PM
They have no choice given how they were sued AND LOST the suit over WWof Sports...I sent an email to the NFL about how they might honor the 9/11 victims at the Super BOwl by having 3000 fans leave one section of the stadium and stand on the field to show people what 3000 people look like and what their absence looks like as well in the stands--I got the same sort of nasty response about keeping my mouth shut! What a sad reflection on the state of things that the lawyers (and juries) have brought it to this.


09-23-2002, 08:01 PM
After having received replies like that after having only sent what I thought was constructive critisizm, I purposely cut the disclaimer that their email submission page posted (which stated that Disney owned any ideas you submitted and such) and pasted it directly into the top of my mail. Legally speaking that act itself acknowledged that I was waiving my rights to any ideas that followed. Then I, again, mearly made some constructive suggestions. Nothing dealing with new ride ideas, only problems I ran into and how they could be corrected (moreso so the problem could be understood better), and how cars could be parked more efficiently and safely. And I still got it sent back?!?
The strange thing is, the returned letter itself acknowledges that someone had to have read the ideas that I sent to have then rejected and deleted them...so the form letter itself is quite damning in that it is hard copy proof that your idea had been seen by Disney.
I think, legally speaking, they should file each idea with the disclaimer and never acknowledge it.
The WWoS example has little to do with this topic, since the architechs themselves actually held a meeting with WDW to propose their idea for a sports park.

09-23-2002, 08:11 PM
I had had a problem with CRO and I wrote an E-Mail to Disney. I got an actual letter from Emily Hunt? I think that's her name....

My letter was not a suggestion, but a complaint. I won't get into the meat of the complaint, but basically this Emily woman apologized that I was treated so rudely, but that their representative was right, and that I was wrong. (Nevermind the fact that I later spoke to a CM who told me that I was right....)

I can and do understand Disney's refusal of ideas for legal obligations, and it's kind of difficult to phrase it in a pleasant manner. They can't really disclose the reason, because even if your intent ISN'T to steal, and they stated that in a letter, it could create "One Little Spark". (Excuse that hideous pun)

But when Disney flat out says to a customer "You were wrong!", THAT truly sucks.

It's really sad that Disney is more about "Disney®" and not "WALT Disney".

09-23-2002, 08:19 PM
when I called in an idea. I suggested that Disney do with struggling DCA the same thing that they did to boost DL attendance back in the 80's when Eisney first came in, do a "gift-giver" program at the front gate. For DL's 30th anniversary in 1985, they gave away a car a day for the entire year. It was sponsered by General Motors. You would pass the cars on the way in. They also gave away other prizes. It worked like a charm! They did Blast to the Past shortly after (1988?) and gave away prizes.

Here is the conversation that took place when I called:

"Hello Disneyland"

"Hi, I have a suggestion that I would like to pass on please"

"Hold please"


"Hello, this is the Legal Dept."

"I'm sorry, I must have the wrong extention..I wanted to make a suggestion"

"I'm sorry sir, Disney doesn't accept unsolicited suggestions."

"Well, I had a suggestion about boosting DCA ticket sales with a gift giver program"

"Sir, I CANNOT speak to you anymore"

"But it's your idea! You did it 15 years ago...just do it again!"

"Sir, I must hang-up now." Click

That was it. Short and sweet. I didn't bring it up here, because I can understand why they have to do it, but they are very cold about it.



P.S. I still think it's a good idea....

09-23-2002, 08:39 PM
and when they 'reject' ideas despite the disclaimers, then 'we' post our ideas out here in a public forum with many witnesses. Then if they do something that is like something we posted, then we 'could' accuse them of stealing our ideas (posted without disclaimers) from these forums.
I think they'd be better off accepting ideas with disclaimers then leaving themselves wide open.

For instance...
When that moron family tried to claim that WDW stole the idea for Epcot (which bore hardly ANY resemblance to the real thing), then WDW could have came back with a plethora of Epcot ideas submitted by fans that they could say was the basis for their Epcot design.

Imagine what an imagineering team we would be (Disney could layoff some of their paid Imagineers, and save some money), and Disney could keep track of which ideas got used and reward us with free tickets and/or credit on a plaque. Imagine going to WDW with your family or friends and showing them a plaque at the exit of Mission: Space which stated, "The following fanimagineers provided significant input into the design and implimentation of this attraction:..."

Bob O
09-23-2002, 08:51 PM
In this instance i cant blame disney for not accepting ideas.They have been sued way too many times and have to do what they can too portect themselves for the trial lawyers who are looking for any way too make a fast buck and love to go after companies they believe have deep pockets like disney. If we lived in a different world maybe they could act differently but they have to live in the real world which is currently sue happy for any reason at all.

09-23-2002, 09:57 PM
My only suggestion, is that if you want to give Disney ideas / suggestion try to get a job with imaginEARS.

09-24-2002, 10:34 AM
As already stated, they don't have much choice in the matter. It's unfortunate that fan ideas can't be shared but, that's just reality in 2002.

However, they could consider softening these letters up a bit. Just adding a friendlier introduction before getting to all the required legalese would make all the difference in the world. I'm sure that could be done without compromising Disney's legal position and it might make people feel a little better about it.

09-24-2002, 07:20 PM
This thread reminded me about the whole Lion King and Alantis controversy that Disney stole these movie ideas (Simba The White Lion and an animae film previous to Atlantis with the same story line and characters.) Anyone know what is up with those claims? What ever came of them?

09-25-2002, 07:11 PM
I had a more positive response to a feedback letter a few years ago. I visited Disneyland Paris with my family as part of a Europe trip. We also stayed in Paris during the visit.

The core of my complaint was that the Hotel Santa Fe was a rip-off vs. other hotels we stayed in during our Europe trip. I had several specific problems and the letter from Disney was specific and addressed each point (one memorable note: every hotel I stayed at outside Disney during the Europe trip included breakfast... the Hotel Santa Fe now includes breakfast).

So it isn't ALL bad out there. In my case I received a personal, specific and relevant response to my feedback.

09-26-2002, 01:14 PM
Originally posted by mattjs
However, they could consider softening these letters up a bit. Just adding a friendlier introduction before getting to all the required legalese would make all the difference in the world. I'm sure that could be done without compromising Disney's legal position and it might make people feel a little better about it.

Yes and no ... a friendly intro, followed by the required legalese, would leave gray area there. Someone could read that as "they really want to take it, but they can't" and then continue to send ideas in. As curt and rude-sounding as "Please don't send any more unsolicited ideas" sounds, it leaves absolutely no doubt in the reader's mind that sending in ideas is not the thing to do. You can't take that statement to court and make any case for it being ambiguous.

As for the folks who take it personally when they send in ride enhancements and other similar suggestions and Disney rebuffs them, remember that Disney doesn't know you. YOU know that you're not going to sue Disney, but Disney doesn't know that! (And, honestly, if Disney took your suggestion and it made their bottom line bigger by two million dollars a month, are you honestly expecting us to all believe you WOULDN'T mention that the idea was yours and that you don't have a copy of that letter lying around somewhere to prove it?? ;) )

Disney loves to get feedback from guests, and they like hearing what is working and not working in the parks. If you have a problem with a ride and you want that info to get to the right person, state the problem and be done with it. "The lap bar in the coaster car was too wobbly" or "the theming in the last room of the ride seems out of place." As soon as you say something like "You could improve the theming at the end of the ride if you ....", then the letter goes to Legal instead of to Operations or Decorating. A better way to end a letter is to ask a question. Instead of saying "I know how to fix it and here's that idea", end with "Is there something that could be done to fix the problem?" and then request that you receive an update once the problem is looked into. Your idea doesn't get any further, but the problem will get looked into. And that was the point of the letter in the first place, right?