PR Disaster: Disney Called the Skyliner Accident a “Malfunction.” Fan Bloggers Disagreed.

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While no company likes bad press, there’s definitely something up at Disney these days.

Could it be… panic?

When the Skyliner incident occurred less than one week after Disney opened the new transportation option to the public, Disney PR kept referring to it as a “malfunction.”

Despite the fact that Walt Disney World guests were stranded in the air for over three hours (some hospitalized) and that numerous social media posts could prove that Skyliner gondolas had crashed into each other, Disney refused to acknowledge the accident as anything more than a “malfunction.”

And their insistence on downplaying what was, honestly, a dangerous situation for guests was infectious. Many of Disney’s faithful took to their access media blogs, social media accounts and even YouTube to help Disney spread this “partial truth.”

(We’ll call it a “partial truth” instead of a lie, because “lie” feels too negative. Not Disney enough.)

And the blogs that didn’t help spread Disney’s disinformation? Well, they apparently were lectured by Disney’s PR people.

Here’s Where Disney’s PR Machine Starts to Look a Little Crazy…

WDW News Today — an objective, long-running fan news site that has been on the receiving end of Disney PR backlash in the recent past — received a curt warning from Jodi Bennett at Disney PR…

“Inaccurate information alert.”

This… sounds like a test of the Emergency Broadcast System (…from a third world fascist regime.)

And maybe to Disney, this was an emergency broadcast to desperately try and contain yet another PR black eye after Galaxy’s Edge’s lower-than-expected numbers, after park attendance dipped in Q3, after backlash over price increases… the list goes on and on.

But it backfired. Horribly. And to armchair observers like myself — and even other news outlets — the company is looking more and more desperate. In trying to smite any and all negativity, Disney is actually creating more fan backlash in the process.

People aren’t that stupid, Disney. C’mon.

One of Disney’s Top Travel Agents Weighs in Once Again.

The always outspoken Pete Werner at The Dis had plenty of choice words for Disney in a recent Dis Unplugged podcast.

No one can accuse Werner of being a “Disney hater,” as he is co-owner of Dreams Unlimited Travel — the #1 Disney focused travel agency in the country — and the owner of some of the longest running, most popular Disney fan sites on the internet.

On yesterday’s episode, Pete flat out called the Skyliner accident a “disaster.”

“When I heard about it, I knew it was going to happen, I just didn’t know when,” Werner stated. “People were already concerned about these things, the minute they announced it.”

He then proceeds to roast Disney’s emergency kit, which contained a defecation bag, to hilarious effect.

“The one thing I’ve always wanted to do in my life, is to take a shit on a gondola in front of nine other people I’ve never met before.”

Ouch.

Werner continues to point out that something is amiss at Disney these days. The company isn’t what it once was, and he blames a lot of that on the extreme cost-cutting measures Disney has been taking lately.

Disney can’t handle the truth, even when it comes from “Super Fans.”

Disney current year seemingly can’t handle the truth. Whether its legitimate criticism of their theme parks, or even the decline of the Star Wars franchise on their watch, there seems to be an insane need to control to the narrative these days.

Disney seems to be enlisting more and more “influencers” who will tow whatever line PR tells them to and promote whatever the company wants them to, even if doing so is a disservice to longtime fans who’ve thrown thousands upon thousands of dollars Disney’s way.

And we get it. Disney fans are very loyal. Many feel the need to defend the company even when it makes obvious mistakes. People wouldn’t spend so much time defending or criticizing Disney if they didn’t care.

But eventually even the hardcores will start to see through all the Pixie Dust. And passionate longtime fans will feel betrayed by a litany of “partial truths.”

And a scorned super fan, much like a scorned lover, will rain down more wrath on the company than someone who could care less one way or the other.

And that’s what we’re seeing.

Passionate Disney fans who want the company to be better. Because they’ve been better.

But if you can’t admit there’s a problem, then you can’t improve.

This is the truth.

Galaxy’s Edge flopped.

Parks attendance is down.

Prices rise, while Disney continues to cut back on entertainment.

Disney PR is out of control.

We need more passionate voices telling parks fans the truth.

People complain about what they love because they love it.

And the Skyliner? It was an accident.

 

 


Pirates & Princesses (PNP) is an independent, opinionated fan-powered news blog that covers Disney and Universal Theme Parks, Themed Entertainment and related Pop Culture from a consumer's point of view. Opinions expressed by our contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of PNP, its editors, affiliates, sponsors or advertisers. PNP is an unofficial news source and has no connection to The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal or any other company that we may cover.



Thom Pratt
A Disney fan, but never a "pixie duster." As a former newspaper editor, web developer, and Disney comics freelancer, I'm able to combine that experience into writing about Disney objectively. I previously built The Kingdom Insider website from the ground up, and was Managing Editor for years. Current co-host of the Clownfish TV YouTube channel. Opinions my own. Yes, they're STRONG ones. Deal with it.