I Hate Disney

Nothing is perfect, not even Disney. Here are two stories I have gone mad about. If you have made your own special Disney experiences, and want to tell about it, email me for your contribution.

Of course, I always look at these experiences with my own sense of humour, and they have not discouraged me from staying a Disney fan. Always look on the bright side of life!

Of course, I'm giving Disney a chance to answer. Here's a reply from a TDS cast member.

Remember, this all takes place in Germany, so some of the scenery might be different from somewhere else.

The TLM soundtrack search

In november 1993, after finally getting to see the original english version of TLM, I decided I wanted the soundtrack, and went out to get it. And since we have a Disney store right here in Frankfurt, the idea was obvious. At a Disney store, you should be able to get everything Disney, shouldn't you?
So I walked in the door, and looked at their soundtrack collection. They had the german-language soundtracks of their then-recent films, TLM, BatB and Aladdin as well as the original english soundtracks of BatB and Aladdin, everything on CD. But no TLM. So I went to someone in her neat TDS dress and asked her about it. We talked for about one quarter of an hour, with the main talk going like this (I don't remember exactly, but this should give you the idea).

Me:  Hi, I'd like to order an english TLM soundtrack.
TDS: Don't we have it in stock?
Me:  No.
TDS: Wait a minute, maybe we have it in storage
     (Walks off, comes back a minute later)
     Sorry, we don't have it here.
Me:  Well, then I'd like to order it.
TDS: Sorry, we can't order it.
Me:  ?? I can't believe it's impossible for you to get a
     soundtrack, you have other soundtracks here, so where's
     the problem?
TDS: We have no way of telling our british distributors what
     we want.
Me:  I'm confused ...
TDS: Sometimes we get a package from britain, open it up, and
     it's always a surprise what we find inside. We really
     don't know until the moment we actually open it.
Me:  But you have all the other original soundtracks ...
TDS: Yes, they were sent to us once without being ordered. And
     we still have a lot of them in stock because, of course,
     we were not asked about their quantity.
Me:  But surely a nice and friendly phone call will help?
TDS: I don't know ... 
Well, later we agreed that they would try to get the disc for me, and I was told to come back maybe two weeks later. And I came back two weeks later, I even waited a third and a fourth week. Then it was suddenly christmas, and I had no chance to try again until after New Year's Day. After six weeks, the CD still wasn't there. But, surprise!, they had got a load of original TLM soundtracks on tape by then! I then didn't want to bother them any more, canceled the order and went two hundred meters further right into our Virgin Megastore.

I marched right to the information desk, and told them what I wanted. They consulted their electronic catalogue (called ELVIS) and decided that the CD could only be imported from Japan. Well, the Japanese transfers are told to be better anyway, so I told them to go ahead. I paid some money in advance, and again I waited the two weeks I was told to wait.

We played the usual "sorry, come back next week" (I really had no other source at that point, so all I could do was wait) for some 10 weeks (until end-march)! It was then that I found out about an Internet-accessible CD store in the US, and they had the soundtrack readily listed in their catalogue! One remaining problem was solved quite simple, I needed a credit card to pay my order; but my bank didn't make any trouble about it, and I got it quickly. I then internet-ordered the soundtrack, waited for three more weeks and got it! What's even more stunning is why Virgin wanted to order it from Japan, since it was obviously readily available in the US. Anyway, I didn't care any more about it and canceled my order there.

And they (me and my soundtrack) lived happily ever after ...

Post Scriptum: One shiny saturday in June, my phone rang, and someone from Virgin Megastore told me that my order had just arrived. I laughed about it, told him that I had canceled the order (he didn't mind) and asked for the price they demanded. It was about $35! And I got the CD sent to me with air mail in one fifth of the time for half the money ...

The Aristocats Argument

As you may know, we people here in Europe will get Aristocats released a bit sooner than in the US. And you also know that if you preorder a movie, you get some lithograph. This story is about preordering Aristocats. This is the easy bit. The hard bit is, I wanted to preorder the original english version (not the dubbed German one).

This has worked perfectly with Snow White; I preordered in July, got the lithograph, and in October I got the english tape and a stuffed Happy. No problem at all.

Well, Aristocats will be released here somewhere in March, so I went into the Disney Store and asked if I could preorder it. The poor girl pulled out some form and started filling it, when I said,

Me:  I almost forgot, the original english one, please.
TDS: English? Sorry, we can't do that.
Me:  Why?
TDS: The english version comes out later, in April.
Me:  Well, then I'll be happy to wait until April, but
     I'd like to preorder it anyway.
TDS: Sorry, we can't preorder it for you.
Me:  Well, there must be a way. It worked perfectly
     with Snow White.
TDS: I know, but this time, Buena Vista UK has not
     granted us the right to preorder.
Me:  That's impossible. Send them a complaint for me!
TDS: We have. In fact, you're not the first one to
     complain about it. We here at the store aren't
     happy about it, too. But there's nothing we can
Me:  Can I then preorder the German tape, and later
     return it unopened, or get an exchange for the
     british tape?
TDS: Sure you can, but you will have to return the
     lithograph as well.
Me:  How will you know that I have got the lithograph?
     One week after the release, I can tell you I've
     bought it just the day before.
TDS: You will have to return the cash receipt, and the
     lithograph is mentioned there as being sold for $0.00.
Me:  There wasn't any notion of the lithograph with SW.
TDS: There will be this time.
Well, I left the store quite frustrated. I think in this case I will preorder the German dub, get the lithograph, and later sell the tape. Sure, I'll lose some bucks this way, but I'll have both the original version AND the litho. Or, another thought springs to mind; you never know when you need the next birthday gift ...

But this Disney policy simply is not fair; if they hadn't done it with Snow White, I would have understood easier, but they've done it happily back then and now cause a lot of frustration among us German disney fans who know that the original always is a lot better than the dub.

A reply from a TDS cast member

Dear Frank,

As a TDS cast member, reading your "flame" page was like being at work. I can sympathize with your situation regarding a copy of TLM soundtrack and getting the right version of "The Aristocats", however, please do not blame the cast members you dealt with they can't help it. If the Euorpean Disney Stores are anything like the ones in the U.S., then we as cast members are the last to know anything and we certainly are not allowed to help guests in finding things beyond the walls of our store or others in our district. Many of my fellow cast members agree with me when I say that some of the things we are not allowed to do for guests is a crime, but they do not ask the peons, such as ourselves, what we think about these things. Please forgive us for they know not what we can do for the guests, like you who want things the store should rightly carry. Hopefully someday things will change but for now, our managers have said "Aristocats" is not even coming out and that it will be "Cinderella" instead, at least here in the U.S. Supposedly the company is having somekind trouble with royalties to some of the voice actors but we have not heard for sure. I do not know if this will effect a European release, but I would say your best bet is to be prepared to be disappointed. Again, I am sorry the company treated you and others in your situation the way it did but we are all just consumers after all and not really worthy of consideration by the powers that be in Disney.


Frank Pilhofer <fp -AT- fpx.de> Back to the Homepage
Last modified: Fri Mar 31 18:28:07 1995