Disney and the Mommybloggers

A friend to many in the blogging community got some terrible news this week.  Lisa at Clusterfook has developed cancer for the third time.  She fought and won … twice … but now it’s in her organs.  That’s bad, if you didn’t know that already.  Her friends Karen and Miss Ann are organizing a raffle to help her fulfill her last big wish — taking her daughters to Disney for a week of good memories to help overshadow the difficult ones of the past few years.

I thought, why not go to the source and ask for some help with this goal? 

In March, many of us mommybloggers were contacted by Disney with an invitation for an all-expenses-paid kid-free holiday to enjoy the Magic Kingdom and talk to them about how better to connect with bloggers.  I’m not going, because I’m swamped with radiation, taking care of my kids, and starting up work on my new Women in Planetary Science website, but I do appreciate the invitation.  There was also some scheduling trouble with this event, and so other mommybloggers aren’t going either.  But it seems to me that the news at Clusterfook and the Disney invitations might just combine to be the perfect storm.

Why not ask Disney to sponsor Lisa’s trip with her family?  I sent my contact the following email on Thursday morning:

Dear Michelle,

Thank you again for the invitation to visit Disney mid-April. I regret
that I was unable to go, since I am so busy right now with my kids and
my business.  You did ask for ideas, though, and I have a simple idea
that could bring you and Disney lots of goodwill in the blogging
community.

There’s a mommyblogger out here (Lisa) who has just been diagnosed
with cancer.  For the third time.  This time, she received the news
that we all dread — the cancer has spread to her organs and
throughout her body.  (You can read about it at
http://clusterfook.com/2008/03/31/dear-blog-friends/)  Some of her
blogfriends are in shock and want to do something to help her.  They
found out that her fondest wish is — get this — to take her young
daughters to Disney before it’s too late.  (Read this post by Karen
here: http://karensugarpants.com/2008/04/02/angry/).  There’s a vast
network of moms that would like to help her (she got 135 comments in
the first 2 days!) and are scrimping and saving themselves to help her
raise the money to go to Disney with her kids.

My proposal to Disney is this: Would you be willing to sponsor her
visit?  Would you consider offering the family free lodging and
tickets for a week or so so that they could have this special time
together?

I suspect that dozens of bloggers would write about Disney’s
thoughtfulness on their blogs in gratitude.  Me, for instance.  I get
1500 hits a day, and I’m by no means one of the largest bloggers out
there….

Please consider helping us help our friend.
Thank you.
Susan

Michelle responded right away and said she’d see what could be done.  This is what I got back from her, several days later:

Susan,

Thank you for your patience. I spoke with a member of the Disney
Community Relations team here and they suggested you reach out to a
special program we work with in situations like these, called Compassion
Partners. This is a great program that offers individuals confronted
with a life-threatening or terminal illness complimentary admission to
several theme parks in Central Florida. This might be an option for your
mommy blogger friend.

Contact Donna Tafat, the Compassion Partners Program Coordinator, at
407-396-1114. I am hopeful that she can assist your friend in fulfilling
her dream.

Thanks for reaching out to us.

Well, maybe Donna Tafat can help.  I don’t know.  But it seems like a weird response, just after they “reached out” to bloggers to find out what makes us want to write about them.

Posted originally at Review Planet.

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13 responses to this post.

  1. The good news? The blogger effort is already a success. They’ve raised enough for her stay at Disney and are working on the airfare now. Let’s hear it for good friends!

    Reply

  2. […] As for Whymommy’s request for Lisa?  Well, they responded very strangely. […]

    Reply

  3. I don’t think it’s strange at all. Because of the deluge of similar requests Disney receives, it makes sense for Disney to have a policy in place to direct these requests to an outside source like Compassion Partners. They are equipped to handle details like a certificate of illness (to weed out scammers), doctor certification that states she is actually well enough to make the trip, liability waivers and health resource availability for the trip as well as the stay, etc. You see this simple request is really not so simple. Sounds like Disney is doing the right thing by hooking you up with contact info for someone equipped to help. My best to all involved.

    Reply

  4. While I appreciate the idea of getting Lisa a Disney trip and the passion that it has created, I’m not sure I follow why the response is being considered weird.

    Late? Yes. Your contact should have responded with the additional contact information much sooner. Disney, like any big company, is full of red-tape and forms, and someone that serves in one capacity, like Michelle, has very little chance of getting something done that is typically handled by another department, regardless of the desire to do so.

    Now, if the proper people fail to aid you, that is cause for concern.

    Best of luck.

    Reply

  5. Posted by Miss Ann Thrope on April 8, 2008 at 6:14 pm

    Hi,

    We do have the entire trip covered. What we need is airfare for 4 from PA to FL.

    And money. Tons and tons of money.

    Reply

  6. […] Disney really missed a great PR opportunity on this one. Of course, bloggers support their own, and the drive is going really well. Click in my […]

    Reply

  7. Over here from PlainJane. While I can understand they get a ton of reqeusts and have a system set up, it’s unfortunate that companies that are trying to reach out in new ways – thus the mommyblogger opportunity, can’t take it a step farther. They already caused some PR issues with the trip, and a trip to Disney without kids to begin with seems a bit odd to me. I realize they want the moms focused on business and getting a break, but there is something called childcare, which at least I believe Disney cruises are experts at. Anyway, that’s just my take – a mommyblogger who was specifically invited, and then asked for ideas, was given a probably a very standard response.

    Reply

  8. Posted by CIN on April 13, 2008 at 9:14 pm

    See the blog by Susan Getgood – Marketing Roadmaps.

    http://getgood.typepad.com/getgood_strategic_marketi/2008/04/its-the-little.html

    Here is a direct quote from her blog:

    “It turns out to be a simple matter of miscommunication.
    Craig Dezern, head of PR at Disney, told me that they get, and grant, thousands of requests per year. In order to manage it properly, they work through wish-granting organizations like Give Kids the World, of which Compassion Partners is part. What’s not clear in the reply e-mail is that while Compassion Partners is a third-party organization, Donna, the individual Susan was referred to, is dedicated to requests that come in through or for Disney parks. She sits in a Disney office and has a Disney email address. She is absolutely the right person to help in this situation, and trust me, at this point, she’s probably waiting for the call.
    Craig also said that Disney feels very strongly about not publicizing its support for wish-granting groups. They never want it to look like they are taking advantage of someone’s misfortune.”

    Reply

  9. Thanks, CIN. I’ve passed the information on to Miss Ann, who is organizing the trip, and we should know something soon.

    Reply

  10. You’re just totally cool for doing this – and Disney, if they do come through as Susan is indicting will be doubly cool

    Reply

  11. I don’t want donations to Disney. I do want time with my children, however. I am just wondering if there is a site set up for support for mom bloggers who have cancer, undergone cancer, etc. To make a long story short, After the birth of my 2nd daughter, it was discovered I had cervical cancer. I had biopsy after biopsy, every Cone, LEEP, Scraping, Burning, and cutting known. I had a round of radiation. Finally, after all that I had a hysterectomy at age 26. I was in remission for almost 10 years. During that time, my husband passed away and I just found out 6 months ago that I my cancer is out of remission and metastasized. I have it in my left hip bone and tumors on my bladder and in my pelvic region. Tests are still too early, but it could also be in my lung/chest region. It seems most Moms are just wanting to put content out there at random to drive up their social ranking, as if we are still in sororities in college. I want useful information, without having to go to a medical site, and where I can talk with someone who understands how I feel and it is like pulling up a chair and having a cup of coffee and talking. I know this is not to be taken for medical advice. I just want someone I can relate to that honestly cares about the content he or she is putting in their blog and not about their page ranking/their stats/ and how many hits they have had that day. Yes, I have a blog, it is new, and I don’t get many visitors (that leave comments). I do check from time to time. Because I put up useful information, maybe they don’t feel they need to comment. And that is fine with me. But if there is someone out there that feels the same as I do when I blog about my cancer, please comment me so that we can establish a line of communication. That is how we have the power another way. The power to unite and the power to help other women (and Dad’s) going through the same struggles. Please if you know of any sites like I have requested, please forward to me. Thank you kindly. Chrissy @ SpoiledMom

    Reply

  12. Posted by Lydia on August 6, 2008 at 5:57 pm

    Chrissy,

    I also found out in mid May that my breast cancer has spread to my bones (6 places ) and my liver (5 places) There are several upbeat sites for Stage IV survivors like us.
    You have been through so much. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Reply

  13. i am a 2 time cancer survivor and finished chemo and radiotion and a mother of twin boys and 1 of my sons wants to go to disney for vacation and my other son wants to go to the smoky mountains but i never got any support from anyone but my parents and i got real sick and i just want to try to do someting special for my kids

    Reply

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