When you think of Disney, you think of “the happiest place on earth.” Yet, this past week has been nothing short of a nightmare when a 2-year-old boy went missing and then the body was recovered after a fatal alligator attack at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. In the next few days – even hours – PR professionals like myself are following along as Disney’s well-trained crisis team deals with media reports, heart-breaking stories, damaging evidence, and eyewitness videos causing a tailspin of PR issues.
Just this morning, TMZ reported that the resort is trying to “make-good” with current guests by comping them with free rooms; averaging $560 a night with 867 rooms – costing nearly half a million dollars.
Also, a Disney rep officially spoke to the Associated Press, stating the company plans to “thoroughly review” its alligator warning signage around the resort.
Even though this is a horrible situation, there is a reason we communications professionals are watching Disney’s every move. It’s the same reason why an attorney would pore over a case to study the tactics of successful legal teams. Because there is likely no company more nimble or well-oiled than that of Disney, and that certainly extends to its PR team. Without a doubt, they will develop the right response and will find a way to turn this sad situation into a number of positives. Disney is one of the most trusted and beloved brands in the world, so rebounding and reacting to something like this is what they prepare and train for.
Mark my words. This will be a crisis management case study looked back upon for years to come.
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