I’m Not Asking Disneyland To Say The Motzi

12.4.09


Mom Bloggers and Disneyland have a complicated relationship. It’s no secret that many Mom Bloggers are in it for the swag, the review items, the trips. The days at Disneyland.

I am not. I promise you, I don’t want your tchotche, I don’t want a trip with a publicist, I want a trip with my family. I don’t need a spa weekend away, I’ll take the cash, buy some advertising and let me worry about the content. Capiche? Do we have that out of the way?

During the months (yes it’s only been months) that I’ve been blogging here I’ve had a number of emails from Disneyland. I am ThisClose to posting them all here. The essence is this, they send banner advertising and suggest to me that I “share this great deal” with my readers. Over and over again I’ve said, “that looks like an advertisement, would you like to buy ad space?” and they never respond.

Last year Disneyland invited Mom Bloggers to Disneyland during the first nights of Passover. If you are not Jewish you might not know. During Passover Seders are held on the first two nights (in my home) and you tell your children the story of the Exodus. It’s a wonderful holiday, with wine, songs and food that makes Thanksgiving look like a Jenny Craig meal. If you are a mother, Passover requires a lot of cooking. Oh, also during Passover you don’t eat bread or anything leavened (that’s pretty much everything at Disneyland).

When I contacted the folks at Disneyland’s PR department to say that this was quite a slap in the face, the response I got was this:

Did you check your email. Did you see that the head of our PR department has a Jewish last name.

They went on to explain to me that Passover is at night and this was a day event.

Message delivered. I heard ya. I’m reminding myself that I don’t blog for free crap. It’s a little hard to remember… but I’m trying.

We don’t really go to Disneyland, it’s 90 minutes in the car, and it’s expensive. It’s hundreds of dollars for a day with the kids, during the X-Mas season it’s hideously crowded and you will spend your entire day waiting in line for thing. Oh, unless you are her (hold your vomit folks, it’s not a press junket, it’s another mom blogger muddying the waters. If it were a press junket there would have been press there).

So as a parent I never liked Disneyland, because a day of skiing is less expensive and more fun. As a parent I’ve taken my kids to Disneyland a number of times and once during the XMas season, it was horrible. There were lines that lasted for hours, kids crying everywhere, parents yelling at the crying kids and telling them to stop. It was bad. My kids? My kids loved it. It’s geared for them. As a parent, like so many of you, I have a push and pull relationship with that gawdforsaken theme park. My kids love it, I hate it, it’s expensive, we go anyhow. That is the reality of Disneyland.

If you are reading blogs, you might think that going to Disneyland is free and breezy. Well, it is, and that’s wonderful PR in play. Of course you’re having a great day when you don’t spend the $400 that the rest of us do and you leave with a ton of swag. Erin (once again) does it best, explaining that Disneyland is great when you’re a mommy blogger being hosted.

Moving forward, my friend Ciaran’s kids learned the hard way that Hanukkah is not celebrated at the Happiest Place on Earth.

But wait, very few people celebrate Hanukkah! (you tell me) I get it, really I do. There’s a big problem though. When I go to Disneyland.com I see this:
Disneyland For XmasAnd it’s playing “It’s A Small World” which is about the most inclusive song Disney ever produced.

I see “Holidays” and “Holiday Home”. I do not see the word X-Mas Celebration. If I were planning a trip I would assume that Disneyland is celebrating X-Mas, Hanukkah and maybe even Kwanzaa.

Do not be fooled. Disneyland in it’s infinite sensitivity has placed a mezuzah on the door of Dr. Benjamin Silverstein, and a Hanukkiah over the window of the Jewelry Shop. I’m flummoxed. Is this an attempt to reach out to a community, or is it an attempt to renew some sterotypes that were very close to being laid to rest?

How would I explain this to my children? Disneyland promises a Holiday Wonderland but gives you a X Mas celebration with a Jewish Doctor.

I’ll throw Disneyland a bone here (though they don’t deserve it) call it a X Mas Parade and then we will all know what it is. The bait and switch is the part that sucks.

I don’t even have time or energy to address the all white “Moms Panel” that’s been assembled for Disney World. I’ve been told that the woman in charge is African American. Uh, sounds familiar?

Skiing, we’re going skiing, it’s also a 90 minute drive, and some of the doctors there are goyim.

Facebook Comments

32 responses to “I’m Not Asking Disneyland To Say The Motzi”

  1. I do not like Disneyland. My kids can love it all they want. Disneyland is an activity they will enjoy with their grandparents or their aunty who loves the place.

  2. BRAVO! It’s not enough that someone has a Jewish last name. They as well as other companies need to understand that we’re not robots, we are human, we do understand what they’re doing and we don’t appreciate the BS. (Bait &Switch). It’s funny that they have the same letters, but am sure that was intentional on someone’s part as they understood that jerking off is jerking off no matter the result.

    Nice posting, Bravo to you and Happy Hannukah!

    Michael

  3. drlori71 says:

    I’m outraged! How can Disneyland not celebrate Hanukkah? They should correct their mistake by providing me and my family free tickets to Disneyland this X-mas. Oh wait, I forgot, I can’t go…I’m the Jewish doctor on call for X-mas.

    (Yeah, I’m being sarcastic but you make a lot of good points. It wouldn’t kill Disneyland to put up some Hanukkah decorations)

  4. traci says:

    ugh. lines, crap food, roller coasters. why the hell bother? I’d rather take my kids to Europe and show them what a passport is for.

  5. I like your chutzpah. I’ve grown up with the first day of school starting on Rosh Hashonah, exams on the first night of passover, etc…and still I’m not used to it. My son started kindergarten this year and was shocked when I learned that he is actually singing a christmas song for their winter performance. I thought that was now illegal.

    I suppose the more things change, the more things stay the same…even with Disney.

  6. Erin says:

    It’s so interesting to see the difference between the things we were invited on back in 2007 (the post you linked to) and now. That was my very first invite as a ‘mom blogger’ to a Disney event. It was put on by Maria Bailey and Disney (I think consultant is her official term). I hadn’t met this particular PR group before and while I was happy with Disney (they do specialize in moms and kids) I became increasingly uncomfortable with some of their consultants. The first instance being the event Mom bloggers were invited to….on Passover.

    Now? We’re media, like any other media. Media tickets, media info. And I deal directly with Disney public relations. There no longer needs to be some ‘go between’ connecting these ‘mom bloggers’ with Disney.

    I’m very disappointed in their international holiday display and their response. Doesn’t sound very Disney… at all. And really uncharacteristic of how they usually operate.

    I hope some of these consultants aren’t infecting what is usually a great company to work with. Advertising, media, and otherwise.

  7. Kelly says:

    Disney does not have to celebrate ANYTHING. They can choose to celebrate whatever the hell holiday they want to celebrate. If you don’t like it, don’t go. Don’t pay the money. I don’t go to the Holyland Experience in Orlando because I am not interested and not of that religion, that simple. Do I get pissed off because EVERY OTHER AMUSEMENT PARK barely recognizes any other religion besides Christianity by celebrating Christmas. Hell no? I don’t care. It’s there right. Get over yourself.

    I’ve come to a conclusion, based on your recent posts…that you are a nasty woman that BITCHES about everything. Unfollowing.

    • I’m sorry to lose you, but since Disneyland advertises a “Holiday Season” it’s fair for me to warn Jewish families that their children will be disappointed. If they offered a X-Mas Holiday this post would never have been written.

      Or if they’d just apologized for the Passover fiasco.

  8. kermit says:

    “I’m reminding myself that I don’t blog for free crap. It’s a little hard to remember… but I’m trying.”

    No offense intended, but why do you blog?

  9. Thank you for this post.

    I grew up within minutes of Disneyland and, even though I am Jewish, I never paid much attention to Disney’s utter lack of acknowledgment of my holiday. That’s probably because if you’re Jewish in OC, you are constantly aware of your status as a minority. You get used to it. But, now that I am a parent, my radar to all things insensitive and ignorant has been profoundly heightened.

    I won’t bring my child to Disneyland during the holidays. I don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars for him to be reminded that his holiday is not special enough to be acknowledged by “the happiest place on earth.” He is reminded of that for free anytime we go out during the two-month period that is Christmas.

  10. Jack says:

    I’m very disappointed in their international holiday display and their response. Doesn’t sound very Disney… at all. And really uncharacteristic of how they usually operate.

    Actually I disagree. It is not uncommon at all. They are a corporate behemoth and unless you have some serious clout it is very hard to get them to change policy and or procedure. You rarely find discount tickets for Disney and if you do, it is about two bucks off sticker price.

    The people keep coming. I have had multiple interactions with them about this and always been fed various lines about why it isn’t an issue or how it is my own personal problem.

    I still enjoy Disney, but it is a $500 day trip. Between the cost, commute and crowds it is not somewhere we hit often.

  11. Robyn says:

    I was a part of the Mommyblogger junket at Disneyland in December 2008. Speaking from my experience, the holiday decorations in Disneyland are not religious. Trees and wreaths and snowflakes have NOTHING to do with the Christian holiday. To say that Disneyland is decorated as a Christmas celebration is only true if you are referring to Christmas in the consumerist, Hallmark holiday kind of way.

    That said, I was disappointed that there wasn’t more inclusion. The closest thing I saw to a Jewish symbol was a few blue snowflakes that could maybe pass as a Star of David on It’s a Small World.

    • Imagine being Ciaran, taking her kids, expecting a holiday celebration and then getting nothing for your kids.

      • Robyn says:

        I get it. Believe me, I get it. I was just trying to point that the “holidays” being celebrated at Disneyland aren’t religious. I didn’t see a nativity scene. I’m sure that if a Christian went to Disneyland looking for religious celebration, they’d be disappointed too.

        I’m a disappointed that Disneyland hasn’t found a way to be more inclusive… especially since this same topic has been discussed (at least in the blogging community) for two or three years now.

  12. Yeah Right you think I am crazy? says:

    Hey Jessica? Why wouldn’t you put up my comment? It is no harsher that any of the others that disagree with you….I think if you are going to put a post slamming a corporation you should be willing to accept different points of view. Which clearly…well, since my comment has yet to be approved….It looks like you are not.

    And let me tell you a HELLA lot of people disagree with both you and Ciaran. Like tons. Except they don’t have anonymous emails like me….so they fear retaliation…..

    You wanna be a balanced writer? Then put up the other side. MY COMMENT.

    ~Juanita Minor (OC)

  13. Tricia says:

    I think Disneyland is wonderful during the winter. I don’t celebrate any holidays and it suits me just fine. What I want to know is why are you going to Disneyland to “celebrate” the holidays?

    Hasn’t Disneyland been around since you were a child and they’ve done the same thing every year?

    I know you like to stir the pot and cause quite the brouhaha, because you’ve done it many times in the past. Perhaps if you were included in the Walt Disney World mom’s panel you wouldn’t be quite so harsh. Isn’t that what you were aiming for? Isn’t that your M.O.?

  14. Jack says:

    Hasn’t Disneyland been around since you were a child and they’ve done the same thing every year?

    That is a straw man argument. Slavery existed for hundreds of years. Should it have been continued because of its longevity.

    • When I was a kid they called a X-Mas celebration. That was fine, just call a spade a spade.

    • Tricia says:

      You want them to be more religious and I want them not to be. I don’t go there to worship. I go there to escape the real world. It’s not an extension of the outside. It was created as an escape. Not a place where we drag all of our outside cares, worries and beliefs. Because really having a menorah or a nativity scene has nothing to do with tinkerbell, dwarves or peter pan. I will continue to visit Disneyland and have a magical time with my kids.

  15. Jack says:

    You want them to be more religious and I want them not to be.

    You may not see the park as being overtly religious but the reality is that it is decorated such a fashion that you cannot not think of Xmas. Everything about it is designed with the intent to evoke thoughts of Xmas and not the “holiday season.”

    You don’t have to put a creche or pix of the baby Jesus to make people identify it as being a Christian holiday theme.

    The issue for me is either go all the way and identify it as Xmas or make it inclusive for everyone.

  16. Liz says:

    I was at Disneyland on Thursday and it wasn’t crowded at all.

  17. […] When faced with this sort of email, I recommend what I’d like to call the “Gottlieb approach”. Send them a simple response along the lines of : “that looks like an advertisement, would you like to buy ad space?” […]

  18. Yeah Right you think I am crazy? says:

    Ummm okaaaaay. You put up the comment I wrote asking you to put up the original comment- but the ORIGNIAL COMMENT isn’t posted.

    So let me try again.
    I think Disney should take down ALL menorahs. They are a religious symbol. Remember there are no CROSSES or Baby Jesus’s in the park. So I should be totally offended by your judgement standards…

    They offer holiday and winter decor. A Christmas tree is NOT a religious symbol.

    I think you are just offended they won’t PAY you for advertising. You sound bitter and revengeful. And let me add it breaks my heart to think you blog only for the money. Kinda takes all the credibility away from you. Because it says (especially represented in this rant) that if people don’t PAY YOU you will get revenge.

    Not exactly the way to attract loyal readers or brands.

    ~Juanita Minor….Corporate Brand Blog Marketing Educator. (and no. Not for Disney)

    • I really hate responding to you partly because you’re so hostile, and partly because you’re anonymous.

      1. I don’t care that Disney is about X-Mas, it’s fine, just call it X-Mas instead of “holiday” don’t trick my kids, that’s all.
      2. X-Mas trees are part of a religious holiday. I will not debate that fact with you.
      3. I wouldn’t actually take advertising from Disneyland because it’s WAY outside of what my readers care about. I resent that they have a cadre of women thinking they’re involved in public relations when they are simply free advertising outlets. It muddys the (already murky) waters.
      4. I don’t care about anyone enough to go for revenge.

    • trisha says:

      A tree is as “nonreligious” as the rebel flag is “not really a symbol of slavery”.

  19. Jack says:

    A Christmas tree is NOT a religious symbol.

    According to who? Millions of people think you are flat out wrong and see the tree as a religious symbol.

  20. trisha says:

    I have never been to Disneyland, just disneyworld, and I love it with my family. Stacie from DivineMissMommy went on a Disney blogger cruise and got robbed on one of the tours in the Bahamas. Totally off subject, but doesn’t always pay to be an invited blogger, kwim?

    I do think that all holidays should be recognized equally and am disgusted at the comments about a “Jewish last name”.

    Ridiculous.

    Trisha

  21. submom says:

    Thank you for bringing up the “Moms Panel” being all white here on your blog. When I first learned about Moms Panel (thru Twitter what else?) I noticed it and was a bit dismayed. I checked out the past members and saw one lone African American. It would seem like yet another person of color whining if I complained about it so I kept my mouth shut, chuck it to yet another day in the life. And to be honest, sometimes I do wonder whether “it is just me”. Perhaps I am overtly sensitive to “these things” and of course, it is my fault if I get offended by things like this. So so so so happy when someone else noticed it and brought it up. It may sound silly, or even vain, but it is really nice to be reassured, “No, Virginia, it is not just you.”

  22. stepmother says:

    Disneyland executives know what Passover and Hannukah are, but not because they have “Jewish” last names. My name is Frazier. I am Jewish. Hmmm. The problem arises when you try to profit on a holiday season . You just can’t lump together religious holidays and expect anyone to be satisfied. I agree with you that Disneyland should just celebrate Christmas. Why not? Just don’t invite my grandchildren to holiday park festivities with false advertisement. See you on Sunday to celebrate our celebration of religious freedom. That’s what the latkes are all about!

  23. […] Yarzheit ones. (um, bud, we use them when people have died, Hannukah, not so much). Then my friend Jessica Gottlieb went on a rant about Disney and it’s of sensitivity to Jewish […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *