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Disneyland cancels program that gave free tickets to Anaheim 6th graders

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  • Disneyland cancels program that gave free tickets to Anaheim 6th graders

    Seriously?

    I mean, what does this cost the company? This needs to go viral. Chapek and his lackeys need to go. This is beyond unforgiveable.

    The article could be behind a paywall, but I'm sure other outlets will pick up the story as well. The public needs to get vocal about this. It's sheer nonsense.

    https://www.ocregister.com/2021/08/2...ites-pandemic/

  • #2
    It also stinks that the program was supposed to last til 2025. It's also seems a little suspicious to end this early.

    Honestly, while we may want to be quick and blame Chapek(who could still be guilty of the decision), let's not forget that TDA has been revolving door of executives in the last 5 years. Potrock, D'Amaro or even the dreaded "bean counters" (Disney's finance department) may be to blame as well.

    Comment


    • #3
      "This is beyond unforgiveable." Why? Why should Disney give free passes to 6th grade kids?

      Comment


      • #4
        A quote from the OC Register article:


        Five years ago, with much fanfare, Disney started a program in which Anaheim sixth graders who fulfilled a community service project got free tickets to Disneyland.

        A promotional video featuring Mickey himself at an Anaheim school captured the excitement: Two students smile and hold a sign bearing the program’s name, “Happiest Class on Earth,” as they say “I’m in sixth grade and I’m going to Disneyland!”

        The giveaway, launched to kick off Disneyland’s 60th anniversary, was slated to last 10 years.

        Now, one pandemic later, Disney is quietly ending the “Happiest Class” program.

        The company also is ending a similar, much longer arrangement with Walt Disney Elementary in Anaheim – a school that Disney himself reportedly used to visit after it was renamed in his honor. A Disney official said the agreement with Walt Disney Elementary was folded into the “Happiest Class” program five years ago.

        On Friday, news of the program’s end had yet to reach most Anaheim schools. Once students learn about it, they will be crestfallen, local educators said.

        “It was something sixth graders look forward to all school year,” said Disney Elementary Principal Regina Ford.

        With schools fully reopening, students “are hoping everything is back to normal, and they’re very excited,” Ford said. “It’s going to be heartbreaking to tell the kids.”

        A Disneyland Resort official called it a business decision following the year-long COVID19-related closure of Disneyland and California Adventure theme parks. “As a result of the pandemic, we had to make many difficult decisions related to our business and unfortunately ending this program was one of them.”

        The Disney official noted that the company has “a long history of supporting Anaheim schools and kids,” citing a bevy of programs and donations. She also said the company will be offering in the future new opportunities for schools and non-profits to earn tickets.

        Anaheim educators said they are grateful for all those donations and services, but would have liked Disney to keep its 10-year promise to Anaheim’s sixth-graders.

        “This was such a big promotional campaign by Disneyland. All the kids knew about it. And we appreciate we got the chance for some students,” said Frank Donavan, superintendent of the Magnolia School District, which has nine schools in Anaheim, including Walt Disney Elementary.

        “But it’s unfortunate they didn’t at least phase it out,” he said. “They are not keeping their commitment.”

        Although many students in the Magnolia district live in the shadows of the big theme parks and see the fireworks at night, many also are unlikely to be able to afford a visit to Disneyland, where a single-day ticket starts at $104 and jumps to $154 during the weekend. Nearly 90% of the Magnolia district’s students qualify for free and reduced lunches, Donavan said.

        “For a majority of our students, it would be their only chance of going to Disneyland as a child,” Donavan said.



        "Disneyland is often called a magic kingdom because
        it combines fantasy and history, adventure and learning,
        together with every variety of recreation and fun,
        designed to appeal to everyone."

        - Walt Disney

        "Disneyland is all about turning movies into rides."
        - Michael Eisner

        "It's very symbiotic."
        - Bob Chapek

        Comment


        • #5
          I had never heard of this program, but I feel bad for all the sixth graders that were looking forward to their trip. This part of the article resonated with me the most: "Although many students in the Magnolia district live in the shadows of the big theme parks and see the fireworks at night, many also are unlikely to be able to afford a visit to Disneyland, where a single-day ticket starts at $104 and jumps to $154 during the weekend. Nearly 90% of the Magnolia district’s students qualify for free and reduced lunches, Donavan said".
          Brian the Pooh

          Comment


          • #6
            Happy 66th Birthday Disneyland. Great timing on the announcement.
            Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream.
            Mark Twain

            Comment


            • #7
              Maybe Micechat can report this in an article since they have connections to higher-up's, and maybe the higher-up's will give it a read?

              Comment


              • #8
                From the article:

                "A Disneyland Resort official called it a business decision following the year-long COVID19-related closure of Disneyland and California Adventure theme parks. 'As a result of the pandemic, we had to make many difficult decisions related to our business and unfortunately ending this program was one of them.'"


                Of course, during the pandemic Disneyland Resort has no difficulty admitting sixth-graders whose parents buy them a ticket.


                "Disneyland is often called a magic kingdom because
                it combines fantasy and history, adventure and learning,
                together with every variety of recreation and fun,
                designed to appeal to everyone."

                - Walt Disney

                "Disneyland is all about turning movies into rides."
                - Michael Eisner

                "It's very symbiotic."
                - Bob Chapek

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Bearcats2 View Post
                  "This is beyond unforgiveable." Why? Why should Disney give free passes to 6th grade kids?
                  Because as mentioned in the article:

                  1. The kids got free passes as a reward for doing Community Service.
                  2. The program benefited families who can not afford the price tag of a park ticket.
                  3. Disney made a commitment of 10 years for the program. They bailed on it just after 5 years.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I can't imagine the (what must be) paltry savings justify the bad PR here. What are they doing?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Sadly when I read that article, three things struck me:

                      1. Under the current Disney leadership, something as low cost/high community engagement as this program, being cut (I believe this was likely some middle-level TDA park manager working on the budget and was desperate to impress their next-level boss with their dedication to finding cost savings) doesn’t even surprise me anymore

                      2.) The timing of this change, after Disney boasted about its new upcharge attraction reservation revenue generating Genie app, is even more of a slap in the face to these kids and their families

                      3.) Is just another example of how community tone-deaf Disney has further become locally. Just a couple months back in May the company was trying to push it’s DisneylandForward plan and now they are cutting another program that directly benefits the kids and their families near those neighborhoods, whom as the article stated this was not a ‘free’ ticket, the kids had to ‘earn’ it. I guess TDA has had so much turnover they forgot how, in part, the DLR had so little civic influence it could not even get their Eastern Gateway parking structure project off the ground when a true community first city council, that thankfully, held its ground supporting the local Harbor hotels while Disney was, quite literally, trying to fly over with them with a limited access sky bridge.

                      It’s rather sad to think some of these same kids whose families could not even afford them one Disney day in parks during their childhood may have their first park experience serving guests rather than being a guest.

                      Whomever made that this decision in TDA (I also highly doubt it Bob’s and Josh’s level) I hope whatever little extra bonus check money you get from this bush league cost savings move was worth robbing the next five years of Anaheim sixth graders a chance to ‘earn’ just one day at Disneyland.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The thing that's 'just silly' is that it's just ONE free ticket. To use that ticket there would probably need to be the purchase of at least ONE other ticket for an adult to accompany that 6th grader, and in reality it would probably result in the purchase of 2 or more tickets. Plus maybe a burger or two and maybe $10.00 for a pin or something small. That free ticket actually would make Disney a little bit of money AND result in a bit of good PR. It's an example of 'penny wise and pound foolish'.

                        Made me remember that where I grew up 'us kids' got 1 free ticket to the LA County Fair every year. They were given out at school. That meant our parents had to buy tickets to take us plus spend money for rides, food, and souvenirs.
                        "Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain.​"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Jaygatzby View Post
                          Sadly when I read that article, three things struck me:

                          1. Under the current Disney leadership, something as low cost/high community engagement as this program, being cut (I believe this was likely some middle-level TDA park manager working on the budget and was desperate to impress their next-level boss with their dedication to finding cost savings) doesn’t even surprise me anymore

                          2.) The timing of this change, after Disney boasted about its new upcharge attraction reservation revenue generating Genie app, is even more of a slap in the face to these kids and their families

                          3.) Is just another example of how community tone-deaf Disney has further become locally. Just a couple months back in May the company was trying to push it’s DisneylandForward plan and now they are cutting another program that directly benefits the kids and their families near those neighborhoods, whom as the article stated this was not a ‘free’ ticket, the kids had to ‘earn’ it. I guess TDA has had so much turnover they forgot how, in part, the DLR had so little civic influence it could not even get their Eastern Gateway parking structure project off the ground when a true community first city council, that thankfully, held its ground supporting the local Harbor hotels while Disney was, quite literally, trying to fly over with them with a limited access sky bridge.

                          It’s rather sad to think some of these same kids whose families could not even afford them one Disney day in parks during their childhood may have their first park experience serving guests rather than being a guest.

                          Whomever made that this decision in TDA (I also highly doubt it Bob’s and Josh’s level) I hope whatever little extra bonus check money you get from this bush league cost savings move was worth robbing the next five years of Anaheim sixth graders a chance to ‘earn’ just one day at Disneyland.
                          I suspect this was a cost reduction in 2-3 full time staffers who administered the program. Their department was likely eliminated.
                          Matt's 40th Birthday Disneyland Trip. Club 33, Napa Rose, and Adventureland Suite!!! ~~|~~ Katherine's 11th Birthday Dapper Day trip with Club 33 ~~|~~ Matt's Review of the Art of the Craft Tour at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel ~~|~~ My Spring, 2017 Dapper Day Trip Report ~~|~~ My Fall, 2016 Dapper Day and Club33 Trip Report ~~|~~ My Summer, 2016 Walt's LA tour with Bob Gurr and Marty Skylar ~~|~~ My Summer, 2016 Family Firsts Trip Report ~~|~~ Matt's September, 2015 Solo after the Safari Sunrise Trip Report ~~|~~ World Famous Jungle Cruise Safari Sunrise Premium Experience Trip Report ~~|~~ My February, 2015 Dapper Day Trip Report ~~|~~ My October, 2014 Family Vacation with Mickey's Halloween Party ~~|~~ My September, 2014 Dapper Day Trip Report ~~|~~ My August, 2014 Solo Trip Report - 1901/C33 Jazz Club ~~|~~ My June, 2014 Solo Trip Report ~~|~~ My February, 2014 Dapper Day Trip Report ~~|~~ My Epic May, 2013 Trip Report ~~|~~ My October, 2011 Trip Report ~~|~~ My October, 2010 Trip Report

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by BasilOregano View Post
                            I can't imagine the (what must be) paltry savings justify the bad PR here. What are they doing?
                            IMO
                            No surprise to me.....I seen Disney garbage to many time .


                            Folks Just face the facts- Disney "PR" is BS !
                            program was supposed to last til 2025

                            Once again Disney was trying get good side of the News to the public and City of Anaheim
                            and Once again They back off and was not being faithful what they said.......
                            Fulfilled a community service project got free tickets to Disneyland.

                            Disney leadership-Chapek- Disney company is to BLAME.............
                            Greed got the best in this company - I vote no with wallet
                            Last edited by Eagleman; 08-28-2021, 05:06 PM.
                            Soaring like an EAGLE !

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Gosh...they are cheap, but I would have cancelled it, too. It seems like a liability thing to offer free tickets to a group that cannot be vaccinated and might get sick. If parents decide to bring their children in, that's one thing, but the Pied Piper, that's another.

                              Sorry if I'm out of step with everyone else here. It happens.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Stormy View Post
                                The thing that's 'just silly' is that it's just ONE free ticket. To use that ticket there would probably need to be the purchase of at least ONE other ticket for an adult to accompany that 6th grader, and in reality it would probably result in the purchase of 2 or more tickets. Plus maybe a burger or two and maybe $10.00 for a pin or something small. That free ticket actually would make Disney a little bit of money AND result in a bit of good PR. It's an example of 'penny wise and pound foolish'.

                                Made me remember that where I grew up 'us kids' got 1 free ticket to the LA County Fair every year. They were given out at school. That meant our parents had to buy tickets to take us plus spend money for rides, food, and souvenirs.
                                I’ll admit I’m old, so this remembrance might a little hazy, but didn’t Disney used to provide students at OC schools a free child ticket to Disneyland (with purchase of an adult ticket) when the Disneyland band visited nearby public elementary schools?

                                I’m almost surprised Disney hasn’t yet asked Walt Disney Elementary to either pay it a naming rights fee or otherwise the school needs to be renamed.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Knott's should go in there, offer the district MORE than Disney offered, and create a local generation of kids that end up with little to no affiliation with Disney. If Knott's can see the long-term strategic benefits instead of short-term marginal profits, they should hit ALL of the school districts surrounding Disneyland.

                                  Just more evidence that the park is being designed for and marketed to the well-heeled. The childhood dreams of a small local population of the less fortunate are a drag on the (short-term) bottom line.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18

                                    If the concern was at all related to kids not getting Covid, they could have done like the national park system did and just extend the program another year. All 4th graders (and families) get in free to national parks, monuments, forests for 1 year(including some water use area recreation fees). This year they offered it to 5th graders too, because so many 4th graders had missed out in summer 2020. They couldn't know that summer 2021 was going to be worse in some areas...

                                    Hopefully Disney will follow through with the implied promise that "...the company will be offering in the future new opportunities for schools and non-profits to earn tickets"

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Stormy View Post
                                      The thing that's 'just silly' is that it's just ONE free ticket. To use that ticket there would probably need to be the purchase of at least ONE other ticket for an adult to accompany that 6th grader, and in reality it would probably result in the purchase of 2 or more tickets. Plus maybe a burger or two and maybe $10.00 for a pin or something small. That free ticket actually would make Disney a little bit of money AND result in a bit of good PR. It's an example of 'penny wise and pound foolish'.
                                      Since the Eisner regime, when experienced theme park executives were replaced by a revolving-door procession of marketing, strategic planning and finance execs, Disney has been notorious for stepping over a dollar to pick up a dime and having arrogant disregard for its own PR. From the abortive attempt to turn the Main Street Cinema into a merch store, to the ham-handed mishandling of the Scarlett Johansson contract, the Chapek regime has raised the bar on both traditions. It's no wonder Zenia is quitting.
                                      "Disneyland is often called a magic kingdom because
                                      it combines fantasy and history, adventure and learning,
                                      together with every variety of recreation and fun,
                                      designed to appeal to everyone."

                                      - Walt Disney

                                      "Disneyland is all about turning movies into rides."
                                      - Michael Eisner

                                      "It's very symbiotic."
                                      - Bob Chapek

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Mr Wiggins View Post
                                        Now, one pandemic later, Disney is quietly ending the “Happiest Class” program.
                                        That's kind of an odd business decision. Give a kid a ticket, the rest of the family has to buy one.

                                        I used to do this all the time with TGS tickets. I'd give a kid a free ice cream, knowing full well that the rest of the family would have to buy one. Kid is happy, parents feel I did them a good thing, and Disney's happy they made some money.

                                        Not seeing the financial logic behind this move, unless it has to do with a bunch of people coming in with Magic Passes now.

                                        Comment

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