Brawl at Disney’s EPCOT. Bobby Brown gets an ear!
Mix Grumpy the Dwarf with It’s a Small World and you get a bunch of women fighting in line at Disney.
On Saturday, three women waiting in line for Epcot’s Test Track ride were recorded on a video that went viral as a verbal disagreement quickly turned into something akin to the World Wrestling Smackdown..
Fox news reported in the video footage obtained by WFTV, a woman wearing a Goofy character hat starts arguing with another woman. Soon a third woman, joins the ruckus and starts hitting one of the other women times with her weapon of choice, an umbrella.
“Probably, they were tired and it was a little hot and probably in that heat, the people got angry for some reason,” tourist Mariela Ugaz told WFTV.
Thankfully this is a VERY infrequent sighting. Though this is not the first time there have been knock down drag out fights at Disney. And some might say Disney even ignored it’s own guiding principle and service standards by creating Pleasure Island, their experiment at nightclubs, adult entertainment and alcohol. The first service standard Disney has is SAFETY. Safety for guests, cast members, vendors and contractors.
Now I am sure that the Disney Imagineers were not thinking that A Disney nightclub was going to be a failed experiment mixing booze and sun burnt tourists. But that is what happened. For those of you who don’t know, Pleasure Island was a seven acre island that housed a bunch of nightclubs from Country Western to Rock and Roll to Techno. It was in existence from 1989 to 2008, and I was the All-Island Manager during its’ heyday from 1991-1995.
Let me set the stage for you, guests would arrive at all hours of the night (PI was open from 7:00 pm to 2:00 am) after spending the entire day in a park, in the brutal Florida sun, under fed, and dehydrated. Of course they have dragged the ENTIRE family, kids and infants still in strollers. It was not uncommon to have a baby seat on top of the bar while the parents went on to the dance floor. Now let’s add ALCOHOL to this recipe for disaster (which by the way was sold in vast quantities about every 5 yards down the street of the island).
One of the biggest failures was the Rock -n- Rollerdome. Yep, you guessed it, Disney took those same malnourished, dehydrated, sleep deprived tourists, gave them a beer and then slapped wheels on their feet. WHAT WERE THEY THINKING??!! Needless to say, we just parked an ambulance out back to cart away all of the mangled broken bodies every night.
There were many shall we say… uumm… disturbances. Every night. Without fail.
One of the most notorious fights we had there was when singer Bobby Brown (then husband of Whitney Houston) was involved in a vicious incident where he bit the ear off of another guest during a fight. Both Brown and two of his body guards were witnessed kicking, punching and ultimately biting this guy. To top things off, Brown urinated in the squad car as the Orange County Sheriff’s department hauled him away. Unfortunately, fights and mayhem were just part of working there. (Man did I have a lot of paperwork to fill out on that Brown incident)
I am sure that the Imagineers could never have foreseen such a mess. Disney eventually closed Pleasure Islands night clubs completely in 2008. But my point here is not to titillate you with raunchy stories. My point is…
Disney ignored it’s first and most important service standard: Safety
And by ignoring one of the key building blocks of the entire company; the safety of its’ guests and employees, it created problems for its reputation and profitability. It also created a huge conundrum for its’ second service standard, that of Courtesy. I mean, just how courteous can you be breaking up a fight or asking an underage drinker to leave. And at the level and ferocity of some of the incidents, courtesy did not enter into the minds of the bouncers (I mean Security Hosts).
And Disney learned a lesson. The Service Standards are there for a reason. To protect the guests, but also to entertain and delight them. Don’t screw with your service standards and don’t let your employees infringe on them either. For more on service standards check out my free special report “Systematic MAGIC, How to Disnify Any Business”.
If you don;t have service standards for your organization, you need to hop to it. They don’t need to be elaborate, but they do need to exist. Then once you have them, chisel them into a stone tablet. They need to be immovable and unquestioned.
Of course if you need any help with creating Service Standards reach out to me through the links below.
Commercial Note: Click Here to request your free information package on the next Business Accelerator Service Boot Camp at Disney World.
Vance Morris is a Walt Disney World Resort Management Alumni, having spent 10 years as an executive in the Resorts. He runs the only Disney Service & Direct Response Marketing business on the planet. Here he coaches companies to create Disney Style Service Systems and then monetize them through direct response marketing. He is also the GKIC 2015 Marketer of the Year. He can be reached at www.DeliverServiceNow.comor firstname.lastname@example.org .