Year of a Million Dreams: Who’s Eligible?

26 Jan

Anybody who reads this blog regularly knows that I have taken a long, deep drink of the Year of a Million Dreams Kool-Aid. But I do still wonder sometimes about whether all the prizes are awarded in a truly random fashion.

John Frost once again raises the question of whether the Americans with Disabilities Act is being violated when Dreams are awarded on rides that are inaccessible to those with disabilities. I’m not sure about that . . . if the attraction on which to award the Dream is chosen at random, that may well take care of the issue. After all, if Dreams were only awarded on non-thrill rides, then statistically Disney might be favoring those who either can’t or don’t choose to ride them. I’d have to do the math to really be confident here, and I’m hoping that Price Waterhouse Coopers has taken care of that. Hoping, hoping.

But I get a deeper, nagging little feeling in my gut sometimes. John Frost ponders, “I want to know how Disney always seems to “randomly” choose those suburban caucasian nuclear families to enjoy the free giveaways.” And here’s where I’m really with John. When will we start seeing the families of color, the single-parent families, the two Dads, the kids and parents with visible disabilities? Disney Guests are a microcosm of America, a little melting pot, definitely a bit skewed by financial considerations (not everybody can afford a Disney vacation), but with plenty of diversity that we’re not seeing reflected in the big photo-op winners, at least not yet.

The Castle Dream is a major case in point. Yesterday, as has been heavily reported, the Fouch family was the first family to randomly win a night in Cinderella Castle. And actually, the marketing got me a bit confused . . . wasn’t the first family to stay in the Castle going to be chosen not at random, but through the Good Morning America essay competition? I’m not real clear on the timeline, but yes Good Morning America awarded the very first Castle Stay to the wonderful, deserving Davis family, with once again those same demographics.

I’m glad for the Fouch family that they got such an awesome surprise, and I’m especially glad for the Davis family that they were given such a beautiful reunion. I just wish I could shake that nagging feeling in my gut, though. I never got the impression that a heavily-tattooed, obviously quirky and queer family like mine would be Good Morning America’s pick for a widely-publicized night in Cinderella Castle. Especially since my husband probably wouldn’t go with us (not a Disney fan), leaving us looking to all the world like a family headed by a single queer mom. (Hooray to us for being who we are!)

Mom, Kid, and Castle

I still find the Kool-Aid very sweet. I’ve enjoyed a Dream FastPass (awarded while existing Space Mountain, sorry John!), a pair of pins with one to give away (awarded by a Cast Member on janitorial duty, when I was with my son), and the American Wishing Tale (awarded in line at the Liberty Inn, again when I was with my son). My friend Lisa’s afraid that I’m hogging so many Dreams that there won’t be any left for the rest, but I’ve also enjoyed watching plenty of other Guests receiving Dreams as well.

I do hope that as more of the big photo-op Dreams continue, we start to see the diversity of Disney Guests better reflected in these contest winners, so I can put that nagging little feeling in my gut to rest, and be sure that “random” really means random.

5 Responses to “Year of a Million Dreams: Who’s Eligible?”

  1. tgtby2 January 30, 2007 at 6:29 am #

    just got back from the happiest place on earth (disneyLAND) – i didn’t see (or get- darnit) any dreams anywhere!!!! this weeks MGW trip report from eric sounds as if the true theme of “year of a million deserts” is still in effect! (he and his wife got applause and cupcakes!)

  2. Kitty-chan January 30, 2007 at 10:32 am #

    Year of a Million Desserts!

    Clearly I should have been with you there at Disneyland. When we activate our Wonder Twin Powers there’s no CM alive that can resist awarding us a Dream! Especially with that adorable little towhead of mine along as well.

  3. dream squad cast member March 30, 2007 at 11:44 pm #

    I just wanted to let you know that I am on the dream squad and it IS completely random. We are given a specific time and place and an amount of whatever it is to be given out….we do not choose the people. The people have to be in the spot. If an alien happens to be in that spot, then he/she/it is simply the winner. We do not discriminate and frankly, we couldnt even if we tried. (which we wouldnt try) Also, in regards to the castle suite…same thing. We dont choose the people. It doesnt matter about race, color, sexual preference…..we dont care, we just want to give you the prize because you are in the right place at the right time. If you are our Guest, then you have the same chance as everyone else to win. Also, you dont even have to be in the park to win. You can be at downtown disney, as well, or even mail in an entry. At walt disney world, you can win at the 4 parks, the 2 water parks or downtown disney. You dont have to leave your home to win!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    there is one exception to the “anyone can win” rule. this is a registered national sweepstakes…some countries chose not to participate. So, for the bigger prizes, depending on what country you are from, you may not be eligible and therefore cannot win a bigger prize. This is not anything disney ruled against, it was the country in question.. a lot of red tape about taxes, etc. Some countries do not allow for foreign sweepstakes. A full set of rules can be picked up at any guest relations office or online at the disney site……..which explain how we do it and how many of each prize we are giving out.

    as for the first family. The good morning america family simply won because they entered in a sweepstakes. They were not chosen the same way the other families are chosen. This was simply a good morning america thing and something you had to mail in to good mornign america to get. the second or “disneys first family” was actually chosen on property and asked to stay that night….that very night. The good morning america family knew ahead of time that they were chosen and they were not chosen by the dream squad. I was there when the disney family was chosen and I can tell you without a doubt that it was completely random and just the luck of the draw. If there was a biker gang in that spot, then they would have won..its simply right place right time. To make matters even more interesting, sometimes people refuse the prize. *yes, they do, can you believe that? 🙂 Had someone refused it that day, an alternate time and location would have been given out…if there was no one there or another refusal…it would happen again. Ultimately, it could have been the case where no one won. Its just simply right time right place. If someone isnt in the spot, then you cant award.

    The disabilities act is not being violated. I know for a fact that there are plenty of areas where anyone with or without a disibility can be where a dream is awarded. There are something like 300000 spots chosen on property alone. Because its completely random, we never know where we are going until minutes before.

    Being on the Dream Squad is an honor. All of us who have been chosen to be on the squad have a huge passion for disney and the guests and for what we do. I can pretty much tell you that we would go out of our way to make sure that someone understands the sweepstakes and that if they didnt win… why. Its really hard on some of us to just finish giving out a prize and see a family/individual not win because they were a moment too late or too soon. Its also hard to see someone think that they didnt win because of anything other than the fact that they just werent in the right spot. But, if we gave the prize out to every single person we felt that way about, it wouldnt be a sweepstakes where you win…….it would just be a free souviner day where every single person gets the whatever we are passing out. Makes it a little less special. We love making the guests happy, but its not always easy when you have legal rules looming over you. (a 3rd degree felony should we break them, at that!)

    Im glad you have won and I see in the pic above that you are very happy. Congrats on winning something within the year of a million dreams…….you are now one in a million. 🙂 I hope I helped clear up any misconceptions that you or others may have. I hope you are having a good time and remember, you can mail in an entry and have the same chance of winning!

    take care

  4. Kitty-chan March 31, 2007 at 12:01 am #

    Dream Squad Cast Member, thank you for your detailed and conscientious post! If you’ve read much of my blog, I think you know just how much regard I have for CMs, and how important they are to me. To me, CMs are the #1 top Disney Parks Attraction. 🙂

    Still, I can’t help but remain concerned about some of the YOMD photo op moments, and the fact that the Castle Stay won’t be handed out during Gay Day at Magic Kingdom made me awfully sad. It really did create an appearance of discrimination, even if none was intended.

    On a lighter note . . . if you think I look happy in this post, you should go see the picture of my friend Lisa, my son, and I when we won the American Wishing Tale! My original post on YOMD is here, and includes the picture. We had a blast, and will never ever forget what a great job the Dream Squad CMs did escorting us to our special table.


  1. More Concern About Year of a Million Dreams « Broke Hoedown - March 8, 2007

    […] Maybe, maybe not. But for those of us feeling a little twitchy about not seeing any families headed by same-sex couples winning the big ph…, well, it makes us even a little more so. Is Disney trying to avoid awarding a night in Cinderella […]

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