crowd of Disney-goers at magic kingdom

Episode 53: Disney Rule-Breakers and Business Boundaries (Transcript)

Dec 8, 2021



Intro (00:01):
Pixie Dust & Profits is a podcast for small business owners who love Disney and want to sprinkle some of that magic onto their own businesses. Join your host, Nicole Boucher and Yasmine Spencer. As they explore the mouse’s $12.6 billion operation and break down exactly how you can apply these big scale concepts to your own.

Nicole (00:25):
Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of pixie dust in profits. I’m Nicole and I’m joined by Yasmine. Hi, and today we’re going to be talking about bad situations and people who break the rules, so, and ruin it for everyone else. Yeah, we might get a little ranty. So here’s the, here’s the situation, the DL or the T I don’t know. I feel really old when I go on Tik TOK and Instagram and you know, anytime now, so I don’t know what we’re calling it now, but basically Disney has policies in place to help people with disabilities to help parents who have young kids and to be able to get on rides. So each person can get on the ride and where there’s a will. There’s a way, and people will abuse some of these policies that are put in place really to protect the company and also to protect the experience for customers.

Nicole (01:17):
So one of the ones, I mean, I’ve used both of these extensively, so I might talk a bit about both of them, but Ryder swab is a program that’s available for people who are traveling with children, usually young children, but it doesn’t have to necessarily be young children who you know, there are long lines at Disney World. So I’ve used, writer’s swap a handful of times. And basically what it is is one person waits in line, and you’re all kind of connected together through your magic bands. And after they ride the ride, while the other parent stays with the child, you can then swap. And the parent who had stayed with the child while the other was waiting in line, can then go on the ride by using the fast pass land, which is now lightning lane. So hopefully rider swap is still the same, but the system is great because we’re a family of three.

Nicole (02:08):
We have a child who doesn’t really want to go on big rides and we still want to do some of the headliners like flights of passage or the seven doors mind train. And so we just kind of do this, this swap, and it even worked for Rise of the Resistance, which was amazing because we were really worried. We, we did get our boarding group and we weren’t sure if we’d both be able to ride and or if we both have to wait that hour, wait, when you get in. And it was really nice. I let him come in through like the lightning lane, because I mean, we could have been waiting two hours between the two of us trying to get on one ride. So it’s a great program. And then there are people who abuse it because the way the program is set up, you can have a certain amount of people.

Nicole (02:46):
So let’s say you have a teenager and a young child and the young child doesn’t want to go on. Dad goes on with the teenager and then mom or other dad goes on with the teenager again, when they get to go on, because someone had to stay with the younger child and you could have, I think it was up to four people that you could do that with. And so that sounds great until people start abusing it and making paid systems, you know, going into probably Facebook groups or any other sort of like underground knowledge network of finding people to connect with. So they could like kind of skip through all the lions by, you know, being this group together. And so, because it was getting so abused, Disney has now brought it down to, I think, two or three people max allowed on the rider swap program and, you know, necessary evils that, you know, hurt families that do have, you know, 5%, 6% families all because some people were abusing the system. So

Yasmine (03:45):
Another offering of Disney that gets abused quite often is the Disney accessibility service, which is essentially a pass that you get. If you have some sort of like neuro disorder or you know, disability that inhibits you from waiting in line for a really long time. So in the past, it was frequently offered to people who are in wheelchairs before things were a little bit more wheelchair accessible and what ended up happening where these, you know people in wheelchairs would basically hire themselves out to families who just didn’t want to wait. So they would join their party. The family would pay a fee and they would just then get FastPass access to every line. Essentially. In fact, I think that there’s even like a separate there’s a separate line for people who were in wheelchairs.

Nicole (04:38):
So again, I have experience with this. I have, I’m a disabled mom who has come with me on many trips and I do want to profess and say that Disney, can’t ask you what your disability is when you’re asking for this. So the people who were abusing this, maybe they were in a wheelchair maybe they didn’t actually need a wheelchair. Maybe they were, you know, I don’t want to say this is like hugely prevalent, but there was enough of a problem that Disney had to do something. It’s also for people who aren’t in a wheelchair. So in my mom’s case, in particular, she has usher syndrome, which is reduced hearing and vision. And especially the bigger problem for us when we’re at Disney World, is that she can not see in dim lighting. And if you’ve ever been to Disney, most of the lines are in the dark or inside to keep you cool because it’s Florida and dimly lit.

Nicole (05:30):
So she can’t actually see in the lines. And then when you add that to crowds and cue lines that are snaked around, zig-zaggy, it can just get really difficult for her to navigate. And then of course, people behind you get frustrated that you’re taking a while. And so that’s why in our case, we, we get the disability pass and they can’t ask you what is wrong with you? So she wouldn’t say I have usher syndrome them. We basically just have to tell them what kind of accommodations we need and why we need it. So it’s not necessarily why we need it, but we have to tell them like, well, we can’t navigate dark lines or dark situations that are dark. So, you know, the fantastic show for example, happens in the dark. We need to be able to use the disability line to be able to safely get to a seat. So she’s not tripping over things. Or, I mean, there have been times where we’ve bumped into people and small children are everywhere at Disney world. So it’s her biggest fear that she’s going to end up hurting somebody because she can’t see them. And so that’s why we need that pass. So people, whether they actually had disabilities or not were, you know, offering these services for up to, you know, eight people to be able to go through the disability line of the rides. So they changed the system entirely.

Yasmine (06:49):
Yeah. So it, first of all, they made sure that more rides were accessible via like wheelchairs and stuff. So by default being in a wheelchair no longer makes you eligible for the Disney access pass. Unless there are other things at play, but now it’s actually incorporated into the Disney genie service. So you no longer have to go wait in line, talk to a cast member and get a pass. There’s actually you know, it’s incorporated into the app right now. We’re still not a hundred percent clear on like what the process is because they haven’t launched it yet, but you will be able to request your Disney accessibility service through the genie app in the future, which probably streamlined things for a lot of families, because you’ll know in advance, if everything is like sorted and ready to go, and you can just go in and enjoy the parks,

Nicole (07:46):
I’m sure because the way that it was for a while after they made the first changes to the program where that you would have to go to guest services before you enter the park on your first day. And so you’re, you know, arriving at the park and then waiting at guest services, which isn’t a very fun experience and your entire party needed to be there. So that way they could link your magic bands together to be able to use the service. And so you know, at the end of the day, it really helps. So we are willing to wait the hour in line at guest services to make sure that this happens, but it does like put a damper on your first day, especially if you’re a rope drop person, but it also utilize the fast pass system previously. So what they would do is you’d have to go walk up to the fast past cast member and say, you know, I have the access pass and here are the two people that are, you know, gonna wait with me.

Nicole (08:39):
And so they would give you a return time and you could only have one access pass at a time. So what that did was really cut down the people who were, you know, jumping from one ride to the next ride, to the next ride, to the next ride and getting past this for everything kind of, you know, walking right on. And I won’t say that it is walking right on. There are, there’s a different queue sometimes, and you do have to wait and sometimes you have to ride in a certain car. So you have to wait for the cars to come around or the last scooter to get out. But basically they gave you a return time. So if you wanted to go on slinky dog, you still had to wait 45 minutes to an hour. You just, weren’t waiting in the line, you were waiting in the area or getting something to eat or something like that, which is still a convenience.

Nicole (09:22):
Being the daughter of two disabled parents, it, I know how much longer it can take to navigate a park when you have someone in a scooter and so on with a walking cane. And so there are trade-offs yes, we can sit and eat while we wait for our access paths to come up. But it also takes us a lot longer to get from the resort to the ride than an able-bodied person. And so I just like to say that just for awareness, for others who may look at someone in a scooter and think, oh, it must be nice that you just didn’t get to walk into the line. There’s a lot of work that goes into the other stages of it.

Yasmine (10:01):
So what can we take away from this, for our own businesses and even business? Well, it looks like the key thing that Disney did was they put rules or in other words, boundaries around how their offerings can be used. So one thing we want to ensure is with every service that you’re putting out, or even expectations around customer service with product based businesses, do you have boundaries and are you managing expectations upfront? The thing is, is not, everyone’s going to be super happy about it, but people can get mad at you over having boundaries if you state them upfront. You know what I mean? Like, cause if you save these boundaries and rules upfront, so might not be happy with it, but they can’t fault you for it because you’ve warned them, how things are going to go. So doing things like setting boundaries on when you’ll respond to emails, when you’ll be available in office you know, how long people have access to certain programs, services, and offerings with your products, setting expectations around how many of a certain thing they can order.

Yasmine (11:02):
You know, if you’re worried about people buying things up and reselling it, there’s many ways that you can put these like rules and boundaries in place. Another way that you can put some rules and boundaries in place is with respect to like refunds and your policies around that. You know, it’s with digital product sellers or people who sell info products in particular, you know, the concept of refunds can be a little bit challenging. Cause like once someone has that knowledge, it’s not like a product that they’re returning that you can take back. Like they can read through something and then come to you and request a refund. And well, that kind of sucks because they took that knowledge probably to do something about it, but you’re not being compensated for it. Oh,

Nicole (11:42):
We’ve actually worked with someone who has a digital download product shop. It’s the contract shop. We’ve mentioned Christina before she was a guest on the podcast. And if you listened closely is also the intro audio for the podcast. So she sells digital templates and has a 14 day, any reason refund policy, which means if you download a legal template and you feel like, oh, this just doesn’t fit my business, no questions asked, just fill out the refund form and they’ll work with you to make sure you get refunded, but then 14 days. And you know, that’s kind of unheard of with digital products. Most people are like, no refunds. You’ve, you’ve downloaded it, that’s it you’re done. I’d really encourage you if you have that mindset to think about it in terms of it’s about your customers and what makes them feel more comfortable and telling them upfront, we have this 14 day, any reason refund policy actually makes me more comfortable with you and more trustworthy of you and knowing that, okay, if I download this, it’ll be okay is a really powerful motivator for a sale.

Nicole (12:47):
And also if they buy the wrong thing, they’re not worried about it. Cause they can just say, I think that this was the wrong one. Can you point me to the right one? And there’s some great conversations that come out of that. So if you are a digital product seller, that could be courses that could be templates that could be info products or anything like that. I highly encourage you to go to go to refund that is Christina and the contract shops product helping you set up your own type of 14 day. Any reason refund policy in a way that protects you as the business owner, but also sets things up really well for your customers as well. So refund policies are a huge area to put boundaries in place, but there are also other things you can do. Well,

Yasmine (13:32):
One thing we didn’t mention Nicole is how Christina still protects her business while offering such a great refund policy. And that is that she requests that anyone who wants a refund signs, an affidavit saying that they won’t use the product. So once they get, before they get their money back, they have to send back a form stating that they will not use the contract in question. And the team does run audits to ensure that people are, you know, are adhering to their affidavits. And then they refund their money. So the other way you can also go about things is if you are hesitant to offer refunds as sometimes like a product, just like isn’t a fit for someone it’s not what they expected or it’s not what they necessarily needed and that’s not necessarily a reflection of what you’re offering.

Yasmine (14:18):
It’s just, sometimes there’s a disconnect there I’ve seen, like where refund policies do exist is, you know, you require someone to at least do some work and show some work. In order to show that they attempted to implement at least like a module or something and it just didn’t work out for them. And at least that point, you know, they’ve given it the good old college try and it’s just not working out for them and Elise, you know that they’re not just like signing up for the course for the sake of like taking everything and then like walking away just wasn’t a fit. That’s another way that you can offer a refund. And one or two of my clients actually do implement that for their courses will give the 21 day refund guarantee. They just need to show that they attempted to do the work and it just wasn’t a fit for them.

Nicole (15:06):
The other thing you can do for putting boundaries in places, especially with like service providers, is to see your hours, your working hours and your open office hours, because as a service provider or coach or anything like that, you may work outside of your stated working hours or your office hours. But that does not mean you are available to notifications and emails and responding to clients and all of that noise, right? So you can have working hours and you can have office hours and they are different. They’re as simple as in Gmail, you can schedule your emails in Gmail. So if you are working on the weekend, schedule that email to go out Monday morning. So that way you’re not sending the message that, Hey, I work weekends and it’s okay to contact me on the weekend because you know, you know, I’m here.

Nicole (16:00):
So there are things you can do to put better boundaries in place for your own mental health, but also to train clients because you know, as service providers, we can often teach your clients bad habits by, you know, responding immediately to their needs and concerns and you know, not giving them enough time to think through what their request was or to find a solution on their own. And also to help them run businesses that are meant to be long-term businesses. Hopefully at some point grow with employees because you’re not available 24 7. And that’s what happens when you scale it. You need to build systems that, you know, take care of things when people aren’t available. So these are a couple ways that you can put boundaries in your business.

Yasmine (16:43):
And just to add to that, like legally as a contractor, you get to set your own hours. A client can not tell you when to work. If they do that, tactically makes you an employee. And there is a whole bunch of like IRS paperwork that comes with that. So if that helps and like gives you the permission to set boundaries and places you set your hours. And the thing is, is I think we tend to stress about the fact that like, oh, if they don’t think I’m available, they don’t think I’m committed. But I would say like, I don’t want to say all, but most clients are pretty reasonable people. You tell them like, Hey, this is what I’m available. You can’t get to this because you know, I have to pick up my kid or I have this other commitment or an existing meeting. They’re going to understand, because again, they understand they hired a contractor, not employee, and there is a limit to like what they’re paying you for.

Nicole (17:36):
Yeah. And I would say in this industry, especially women owned businesses, more understanding than other in, because I’ve been a contractor for corporations before and for nonprofits. And while they’re understanding, they definitely have their working hours. So they kind of expect consultants to be available during those working hours too. But for this women owned industry of small businesses I feel totally comfortable on an intro call or in the middle of the day, just saying to a client, thanks, read your message. I will be able to get to that later this week, as a reminder, I pick up my child at X time and then we spend two hours together before I come back to my computer, you know? And for the most part, people are really understanding of it because that’s why they built their business for flexibility and to live by their own schedule.

Nicole (18:26):
So, you know, if they’re too rigid and don’t want their contractors to also live by the same lifestyle, then maybe it’s not a value of their business, or maybe they need employees, you know, and that’s perfectly understandable too. We’re not trying to say that if you don’t honor that people have different working times that, you know, you have an inflexible business or anything, it just might mean you need more employees. And also I want to say like, yes, as an independent contractor, you should be able to choose your own hours. There’s a variety of things that the IRS looks at to see if someone is technically an employee or not. And that is one of the factors and it is, you know, autonomy over a schedule is a really big factor of it. So having like you must answer the inbox between nine and 3:00 PM.

Nicole (19:12):
Doesn’t mean, you’re saying you must be at your inbox at nine to 3:00 PM working specifically only for me, there, there are different layers to that. So I don’t want you to think, oh no, I have someone on my team that, you know, I expect them to be available between these hours. So are they an employee? Am I going to get in trouble, please? Don’t think that there’s a whole list of questions that you need to go through to see if someone, if the IRS would consider someone possibly an employee. So just want to not make you worry about it. If you, if you heard that in, you were worried. Yeah. So we’d love to hear from you send us a message on Instagram, pixie, dust, and profits. How do you put boundaries in your business? Have you had trouble enforcing those boundaries either because of yourself or because you’ve had some pushy clients cause it happens and yeah, just let us know how our boundaries working for you.

Yasmine (20:03):
So thanks again for joining us for another episode. I’m like Nicole said, in DMs, we’re @pixiedustandprofits, or just check out our Instagram. If you haven’t already to follow us, we share a lot of interesting tips. And a lot of like fun Disney facts. So you don’t want to miss out. You can also join our mailing list, where if you love Disney gifts, we have them in spades. And that’s And lastly, if you enjoyed this episode and you’d want to support us, please check out our Patreon. We have a few to show surprises and behind the scenes bonuses there for our loyal listeners and we’re at, All these links will be in the show notes below. Thank you again. And we’ll see real soon.



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