Disney Turns a Common Sense Policy Change Into a Potential PR Problem


By James F. Thompson Comments

Ugh, we hate to see brands like Disney suffer the consequences of not providing the public with the “transparency” it demands. Pleasing millions of finicky fans seems so simple on the surface: it’s all about respect and communication, right?

Well, not even the most well-intentioned communicator is successful all of the time. Just ask your significant other. Also: when a person or brand forgets to mention certain important details, the public has a dangerous and instinctual tendency to fill in the blanks on its own.

That’s how conspiracies are born. By not providing enough evidence to prove your case to the public, you leave the door open for wackos and well-meaning but misinformed “advocates” to take control of the narrative. Case in point: Disney’s recent decision to require all children entering any of its parks to be supervised by someone at least 14 years old. Said parks will continue to be “the happiest place[s] on Earth”–for kids traveling with legally viable guardians.

Wait…how was this ever NOT a rule?

The poor behavior of unsupervised kids aside, the people who are evil to kids tend to go where kids are to be found and, well, a Disney park is every child’s Holy Land. Disney shouldn’t have any problem explaining to the public why this policy move is an exercise in common sense.

Nevertheless, the news is hitting the Internet like an evasive press release without any context other than a few basic details, which means the public will certainly seize the opportunity to characterize the new policy as a stunt to make more money or somehow exploit consumers. And they will complain about it online. Mark our words.

Here is what Disney should have said:

“All young children must be accompanied by someone at least 14 years old, because we care about the safety of customers and we know, based on research and policy review, that this is the right way to go about it. We know what we’re doing. Thank you. – Disney”