Perception of Disneyland after measles outbreak focus of email exchange with health officials

Posted Monday, February 16, 2015 8:21 AM | Contributed by Jeff

As the measles outbreak spread last month, Disneyland executives sent a series of emails to California health officials asking them to emphasize that the theme park was not responsible for the illnesses and was safe to visit, documents obtained by The Associated Press show.

Read more from AP via The New York Times.

Monday, February 16, 2015 6:03 PM

Someone somewhere is going to use this "news" to make Disney look like they're trying to do something sleezy.

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Monday, February 16, 2015 6:49 PM

The news of the measles outbreak? Or the news of the email?

Regardless, every story I see on the news about the measles outbreak (which by the way, is every day) includes the word "Disneyland". I'd probably be trying to pedal my way out of this, too. It's not their fault, but it's where it started, and there are going to be people who see the place as a hot bed of disease.

Which is a shame. Every time we go see a movie on Christmas Day I seem to walk out with the flu. But I don't blame AMC.

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Monday, February 16, 2015 7:24 PM

The "news" about the emails, not the (actual) news about the measles cases.

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Monday, February 16, 2015 8:02 PM

The cruise ship industry seems to weather the tide of on board illnesses. I'd go to Disneyland long before I'd get on a ship.

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Thursday, February 19, 2015 5:35 AM

RCMAC said:

...and there are going to be people who see the place as a hot bed of disease.

...should we ride Splash Measles or Measles of the Caribbean first?

If Disney is really worried about the measles outbreak and negative impacts on their business, couldn't they offer free measles vaccinations to employees and guests (that aren't already vaccinated) planning a trip at least 2 weeks in advance until the issue disappears?

Rather than trying to change negative media perception that Disney wasn't responsible and that their parks are completely safe, they could issue a press release that more than 90% of guests are already vaccinated and protected from measles. Then, for anyone not vaccinated without insurance that would cover it, Disney would offer free advance measles vaccinations to instill confidence in any guest planning a trip, while of course reiterating the safety and cleanliness of their parks.

The take rate would likely be low, and this could put a positive spin that Disney has the utmost care for its guests' well-being.

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Thursday, February 19, 2015 9:52 AM

Actually, I believe they are offering measles vaccinations to WDW employees.

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Thursday, February 19, 2015 11:16 AM

I cringe every time the media attributed the start of the outbreak to Disneyland. No, the start of the outbreak was not vaccinating your child.

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Thursday, February 19, 2015 11:55 AM

Jeph said:
If Disney is really worried about the measles outbreak and negative impacts on their business, couldn't they offer free measles vaccinations to employees and guests (that aren't already vaccinated) planning a trip at least 2 weeks in advance until the issue disappears?

I doubt that most people not getting their kids the measles vaccine are doing it because they can't afford it. And Disney offering free shots isn't going to change their minds.

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Thursday, February 19, 2015 12:23 PM

So today I hear that patient zero in this outbreak caught it somehow in the Philippines, and brought it back to the US. I also read that the person was Amish.

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Friday, February 20, 2015 10:30 AM

^^Right, but that's not the point of what I was suggesting. I said the offer take rate would likely be low.

What I was thinking about was a more effective way for Disney's PR team to turn this positive and shift the responsibility to the guest.

Media loves to turn things negative. In this instance, trying to make Disneyland look like a risky place. Then when Disney's PR team tries to recommend change in the wording to health officials, it's almost presented as a shady deal or cover-up by media.

There's a simple solution to this problem, and it's being vaccinated. So, if media broke news everywhere of a PR release that "Disney is Offering Free Measles Vaccinations to <10% of Guests that Aren't Vaccinated," it might help shift responsibility to the guest and put Disney in a good light, while drawing attention to the fact that over 90% of people are vaccinated and safe already.

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Friday, February 20, 2015 11:08 AM

It would be pointless to offer vaccinations when visiting Disneyland. It takes a few weeks to develop an immunity after the vaccine is given, persons receiving the vaccine at Disneyland would not develop any immunity during their visit.

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Friday, February 20, 2015 11:28 AM

True, which is why I suggested 2 weeks advance minimum, for those planning a trip. Shots could be handled anywhere. Again though, really more of a positive PR spin attempt. I'm sure few would act on it.

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Friday, February 20, 2015 1:40 PM

Or a negative one.
One might read "If you're coming in here probably better get your shots updated" into that.
Kinda like a trip to Africa.

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Sunday, February 22, 2015 4:22 PM

Jeff is right. Wdw cast members are being offered free vaccines this month.

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Sunday, February 22, 2015 5:33 PM

There has been an ongoing outbreak in the Phillipines for a few years now. If I were in charge, I might consider refusing unvaccinated individuals entry into the US if their passport indicated they'd been in the Phillipines (or perhaps a mandatory quarantine period).

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