Disney accidentally served my child a cocktail By Christopher Elliott | February 20, 2012 FacebookTwitterGoogle+Pinterest I was about to move this complaint into my “case dismissed” file until I read a pretty serious allegation: that a Disney Cruise Line employee had inadvertently served a child a cocktail. Before I get to the details of Aleeza Khanlian’s claim, I should allow for some context. Her letter to Disney is a rambling laundry list of problems, some of which seem pretty frivolous. She gripes about snarky waiters and the fact that her son’s birthday wasn’t properly “acknowledged” by the onboard staff. Then, halfway through the tirade about the family’s one-week Mexico cruise on the Disney Wonder, she drops a bombshell. On January 9th, during Formal Night, around 7:30 p.m., my family and I were in line to take a photo on Deck 3 Midship, just outside the elevators and stairs located between Port Adventures and Guest Services. A gentleman came around serving beverages. He offered my husband a Martini and my four-year-old son what was supposed to be fruit punch. Well my four-year-old thought the “fruit punch” was disgusting, so we let our nineteen-month-old son try it, who coincidentally liked it. Well, a few sips into the drink, another beverage server came around and told me that the drink I was letting my 19-month-old son drink was an alcoholic beverage. I was beyond stunned! Caught so completely off guard, I simply looked at her and explained how the previous gentleman that was passing out drinks gave it to my four-year-old-son and told my husband it was fruit punch. She informed us that indeed it was not fruit punch, that the alcoholic drinks have a leaf on the toothpicks in them to indicate that they contain alcohol. She took our so-called “fruit punch” and replaced it with a smaller glass that was supposedly the real kid’s fruit punch. She also laughed it off saying, “Now you can say he had his first drink of alcohol. He’ll sleep well tonight.” That wasn’t acceptable to Khanlian. She says had her toddler finished the drink, who knows what might have happened? “And to think this incident happened upon Disney Cruise Lines, which caters to children and families,” she adds. “There is just no excuse for it!” Khanlian contacted a supervisor on board, who seemed to take her complaint seriously. Disney interviewed the employee who served them, and verified her story, she says. It apologized for the incident and offered to buy her family a round of non-alcoholic drinks at dinner. When we returned to our room, there were goodies for my son’s (two light-up Pirate glasses, two Toy Story cups with light up Buzz Light Year clips, Caramel Popcorn, Goofy gummies, a jug, four cans of soda, a Finding Nemo stuff animal, and a Mickey stuffed animal. Wow, nothing says “I’m sorry” like a gift bag of goodies. Right? Wrong. “While [the supervisor’s] efforts to rectify the situation are greatly acknowledged and appreciated, we feel it is no longer in his hands and needs to be brought to the attention of higher authorities regarding this serious matter,” she says. Khanlian sent a letter to the president of Disney Cruise Line. A representative phoned her husband, and assured him the persons involved in the cocktail incident had been disciplined, although he declined to say how, exactly, they had been punished. “He asked what I wanted,” Gabriel Khanlian says. “I told him [I wanted] a refund.” He says the representative refused, accusing him of “extorting” him. “I believe a good resolution for them should have been a comp or a replacement cruise,” he told me. “But instead I got blown off from the president’s office. I think the matter is very serious.” I agree. Although some cultures have a pretty relaxed attitude about giving alcohol to kids (I happen to have been raised in one) it is frowned upon in the United States. Still, I thought Disney’s response was appropriate while the Khanlians were on the ship. The apology, the comped drink, the gift basket — that was classy and responsible of the company. When the family appealed to the president’s office, the response should have been equally professional: an apology, an explanation of Disney policy regarding disciplinary action, and perhaps at most, a few vouchers that could be used on a future cruise. I’m not sure if a refund is appropriate. But a request for a refund isn’t extortion. Calling it one seems very un-Disneylike. If Khanlian’s phone call had gone differently, then I wouldn’t be considering this case. But now I am. FacebookTwitterGoogle+Pinterest Christopher ElliottChristopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Got a question or comment? You can post it on our help forum.More Posts - Website - Twitter - Facebook - LinkedIn - Google Plus Crissy A refund? They are completely out of their minds! After that request I’m not even sure I believe that they were accused of extortion! They sound like a bunch of scammers. As a child I was once given an alcoholic drink, we complained and they brought me a new drink, that was it. I think this was handled appropriately by Disney on the ship and should have been left at that. $16635417 Chris, last week you mentioned you are considering giving up on trying to get people who have been downgraded proper compensation from their airline, but then consider a case like this? Seriously? Elmo Clarity Hell no you shouldn’t mediate this one. I feel the response on ship was appropriate. Accidents happens. I have had alcoholic drinks served to me before and I am a non-drinker and I never felt a full refund for the event was ever in order. There are some details to this incident that we don’t have to really understand the magnitude of the error. How new was the waiter to the ship? If they were new, I could understand a slip up. Was the glass properly labeled with the leaf on the toothpick? The other staff member said that they are suppose to, but did she notice the drink because of the toothpick or the contents? Was the leaf molded into a plastic toothpick and if so, was it obvious enough or could it be simply overlooked? And like you said Chris, some cultures are not as sensitive to giving alcohol to children. Was this waiter from such a culture where it could have been natural and thus he didn’t think anything of it? The response on-board the ship I feel was appropriate (and on the cruises I have been on, non-alcoholic drinks are free anyways so comping for them seems silly). I do agree that bringing it to the higher level of management was also appropriate, but not to ask for more compensation, but to make sure they were aware of the incident. While it may not have be “Disney” like in nature, I do agree with the management that this person was trying to extort the refund out of them. Again, not all the information was available but did the OP threaten to expose the incident to the press if she didn’t get her way? The fact that she did bring it to you indicates to me that this was an implied thread at least. This story just sounds so much like a person looking for excuses to try to get something for nothing. You add in the part about her letter to you containing a rambling laundry list and her story just gets even weaker. Just out of curiosity, did you contact Disney Cruise to verify from them this incident even happened? Fly, Icarus, Fly I have no words. None. Except that I laughed out loud when I read the title. Does that make me a bad person? PS. The OP needs to come back to earth. Are they saying the employee made a SEVERAL THOUSAND DOLLAR mistake? Maybe they should refund the 19 month old’s portion of the cruise and any future therapy costs… http://www.dreamtravelblog.wordpress.com JT Come on, Chris. Where’s your head? An honest mistake was made here that was quickly rectified, a proactive solution/apology was given and no harm was done. This is just someone trying to get something for nothing and why you’re falling for that load of BS is beyond me. MarkieA Lawsuit! Sue everybody! Sue Disney! Sue the waiter who gave you the drink. Heck, sue the one who pointed out that it was the wrong drink – after all, if she hadn’t pointed it out, you would have been blissfully ignorant. Sue the manufacturer of the little toothpick leafy thing. Ridiculous! I bet she’s one of these folks who go on and on about “emotional stress” and how the entire rest of the vacation was ruined; her stomach was in knots over this for weeks. She probably lost sleep and had had to seek counseling. Chris – you’ve already spent waaaaaaayy too much time on this case just by writing it down. Please, please, please don’t encourage this kind of behavior by providing any kind of assistance to this woman. Raven_Altosk A refund? Are you freakin’ kidding me!??! Di$ney tried to make things right and it seemed like they did a darn good job of it. They investigated, they gave them goodies, and they apologized. A kid is not going to die from a sip of alcohol. Hell, my mother used to rub whiskey on her kids’ lips and gums when we were teething. No big deal. These people are scammers. Put this one in the case dismissed file and move on to a real problem. Also: Would love to see the laundry list letter just for the lullz. Raven_Altosk Exactly. Drama queen parents who want a free cruise because their precious little toddler took a sip of booze are exactly the kind of cases Chris should ignore. Christopher Elliott The point of this exercise is to debate the merits of a borderline case. But sometimes, the cases say more about the customer than they do about the company they’re doing business with. emanon256 The Khanlian’s are a perfect example of what is wrong with America today. Wow! No wonder companies no longer trust their customers. Fly, Icarus, Fly I hear you. But as the polls and the comments (so far) show, this isn’t borderline. It’s not even in the same zip code / state / country. This one is just ridiculous. If I were Disney, I’d quietly ban them from any further cruises. Nikki The “bombshell” was nothing more than a ploy to make sure they got your attention. I’d pass on this one. Elmo Clarity Borderline case? You have got to be kidding me! There is *NOTHING* borderline about this case. It’s not like Disney tried to skirt around the issue. They admitted there was a mistake, apologized, comped the people, and yet the OP still wants a full refund? I guess the only thing really borderline about this case is the OP’s grasp of reality. jeanneinVT I vote no. It sounds to me like Disney really tried to make it up to the customer. If she could prove that they had INTENTIONALLY tried to give their child alcohol, then that would have been a different story. But to expect a cruise refund over something that was obviously an accident? No way… S E Tammela Wowee. As horrifying as it would be to find out your 19mo had been drinking that, (1) who lets a 19mo kid drink something when they don’t know what it is, and (2) who then asks for a ridiculous amount like a refund of an entire cruise? Idiotic. Looks like somene pounced on an excuse to try and bleed everything they could get out of Disney. Mistakes happen. They apologised. Elmo Clarity After rereading the account of how Disney marks the alcoholic drinks, I’m wondering about either the account or the ship’s procedures. Why would you have an active indicator for the alcohol? A toothpick could be knocked out of the glass and then would appear to be non-alcoholic. It would make more sense to put the indicator in the non-alcoholic drinks thus erring on the side of caution if the indicator is missing. Again, I didn’t see any indication in the story that you actually contacted Disney to get their side of the story. We are only hearing it through the OP’s account. Not a very reliable source of what really was said by Disney. Kip Hartwell I voted yes, but I mean a no for the Khanlians. This was a simple mistake and it was more than fully apologized for. Not every mistake needs a whole full refund. I fear I agree that they are just milking a small thing for a free trip. MarkieA Horrifying? Really? D.J. Sorry Chris…I’m with the others. No way would I take up this one… frostysnowman Absolutely, positively no refund. Wiegee Please, this is not a forum for bigots. Try the KKK site. frostysnowman I also feel there is nothing “borderline” about this case. Disney accepted responsibility for the mistake, made up for it as best as they could on board the ship, and continued to take the OP seriously when she contacted the office of the president of Disney Cuirses. This family in no way seserves a free curise or refund. BillCCC Sounds like extortion to me. Disney did all that they could. They can only apologize so much before they start to tire of this customer. Her four year old thought the drink was disgusting so she gave it to her 19 month without tasting it herself?! Is this a real complaint or something to stir up the comments? Jeanne_in_NE I used blackberry brandy on my boys. Numbed their gums and if that wasn’t enough, me. Miami510 You Should Absolutely Mediate This ! ! ! I think they should not only get a refund, but Disney should pay for both kid’s college education through graduate school, and set up a trust fund should either ever need medical attention for alcoholism or any sequella that results from such a horrible event. In the event that some readers may have my sarcasm go “over their heads,” let me be clear: Their outrage make the image of a leach come to my mind. I’m sending Christopher an eleven foot pole… this is a case he shouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole. streamerstoo GOOD GRIEF…how many parents put alcohol on kids gums for pain when they are teething. This has really gone too far. Things are really getting out of hand, wanting a refund! So many are out for the FREEBEES… They have already received enough. Get over it! Robbie Harrell This sounds to me like someone that just likes to complain. I’ll also bet the airline flight down was terrible, the cab ride was horrendous etc.. mencik Seriously. After the older child said they didn’t like it, wouldn’t you have tried it yourself before giving to a 19 mo. old? Wouldn’t you have made sure that was was being passed out by a waiter during a free drink period was in fact alcohol free before giving it to your 4 year old? These were irresponsible parents trying to get a free cruise. Extortion is exactly what they are trying. MJonTravel A refund for a cruise they completed? Sorry. If this actually happened, it warrants an apology, perhaps a gift of some sort and it sounds like that is exactly what happened. It was handled appropriately on board, and that should have been the end of it. With a reasonable person, it would have been. Don’t walk from this one, run. Tired_Guy Normally find the crowd here anti-consumer but it’s cases like this that give their views some foundation. Mistakes happen, responsibility was accepted, but the requested compensation is out of line with the mistake. Situation is not at all borderline, and am willing to go in halfsies on the 11 foot pole someone ahead mentioned. Don’t sully your cred on this one. Tygar Someone screwed up; Disney did a good job in correcting it & sincerely apologized. To quote someone below: Hell No! guy999 with this same logic, I noticed that at my wedding a waiter dropped one of the glasses of wine on the floor. I asked that my 20,000 dollar wedding be comped. This is the reason when people make reasonable requests that they are ignored. SoBeSparky Could anything ever satisfy these people? Demanding a “free load” raises the costs for all passengers, just like shoplifting. Yes, this was extortion. Applause to Disney for being frank and honest. Tygar LOL yep Kotch11 I fully agree with Crissy. This may have even been planned in advance. It was a mistake, true, but certainly not an “on purpose”, and the replacement drink and the gifts were sufficient for the episode. Grow up!!!!! Alan Gore Is there any such thing as a “no-cruise list?” This article is proof that there should be. Guest Some people, especially young children, could be made extremely ill by alchohol. If that happened here, these folks might have had case against Disney. Thankfully it did not happen and what Disney needed to do is apologize in a manner that recognized the seriousness of the error, provide some statement of the disciplinee regarding the emplooyee, and indicate their plans (new employee training, etc.)to prevent a reoccurrence of this type of thing. But to expect a refund in this case is ridiculous. artemisia jones “Extortion” may not be a very tactful or professional way to describe what happened but it’s totally accurate! Good lord. I agree with the poster below, save your time and effort for airline downgrades and power-drunk flight attendants. artemisia jones I can’t see the borderline from here without a the hubble telescope. cjr001 “But a request for a refund isn’t extortion.” This was an accident, which, last I checked, is something that still happens in the real world. Not to mention, I’d be very interested to read the ‘laundry list’ of complaints you said that she had, as I’m sure it will not reflect well upon her, regardless of the servicing of the drink. But one thing I know for certain: a refund is in no way warranted. strizis Wow how anal can some people be. I would have been thrilled with the 1st response with all the goodies for the kids. I stayed at the Palace Resorts in Cancun once when my kids were 6, 10, 12. We went to dinner, and they were serving free frozen drinks. When we were sat, the kids were playing pingpong in the lobby. We told the waiter there were 5 of us not mentioning 3 were kids. He left 5 of the drinks. We didn’t think there was alcohol in them, and they didn’t really taste like they did, but when we asked for refills, and he realized the kids drank the ones with alcohol. Our response was just like the Disney worker, hey guys you got your 1st taste of alcohol. And they slept good that night. We neither expected, nor got anything for the mishap (which was probably half our fault, anyways). Unless you have a shortage of real problems, Chris, I think you need to start telling some of these people that they need to chill, and judging from the near unanimous vote, these people definitely need to. Asiansm Dan At least, it is not another a religious stunt excuse: alcohol prevent my sons to find the way to heaven ultimately. Jeff Kolker The demands are excessive. An apology and a new drink would have been all I needed. Carver Clark Farrow II Please feel free to go to kkk.org with that type of comment finance_tony So let me get this straight: You’re on the fence about mediating this ridiculous demand of an entitled lunatic and her histrionics…. …yet you’ve pretty much written off helping people who are involuntarily downgraded from $10,000 airline seats to $700 seats? Really? EvilEmpryss There’s a name for a person like this: Entitlement Whore. I think the staff’s sincere apology and the goodie basket were perfect. There is nothing “borderline” about this case: this woman is deep in the wrong for demanding anything even close to a full refund. On a side note: You have to pay for non-alcoholic drinks during your meals on a Disney cruise?!? I’ve only been on one cruise years ago, but all food and non-alcoholic drinks were gratis! THAT is where I’m feeling outraged! :p cjr001 No, you don’t pay for non-alcoholic drinks. Maybe a specialty drink like a smoothie, or with room service. Or perhaps if you grab it from the bar along with an alcoholic drink. But basic soft drinks and juices? No. They’re free on deck and with meals. Carver Clark Farrow II It would be inappropriate and possibly illegal to disclose the discipline imposed on the worker due to his/her privacy rights LadySiren Good Lord, what do they expect? I’d be upset too, if my kids had been served alcohol but Disney seems to have tried to at least apologize if not truly make it right. I’m not a Disney apologist, believe me, having sold one of my vital organs to take the brood to Disneyworld. That being said, Disney has apologized, offered free replacement drinks, served up a whole bag of goodies, and reprimanded the employee in question. Demanding a refund on top of all that seems like a greedy cash grab to me. Christopher Elliott Alright, the “no” votes seem overwhelming here. I get it. I’ll look for a package with that 11-foot pole. Related question: I know people are very sensitive about deleting or censoring comment, but the crack about Armenians seems over the top. How should I handle a comment like that? cjr001 Some additional thoughts… Having been on several Disney cruises, I’m trying to think of the details of what I remember when they would hand out free drinks. Unfortunately, I can’t recall the details of things like toothpicks, or whether they had specific glasses for non-alcoholic vs alcoholic (although you can’t mistake a martini glass as having anything but alcohol in it). Logically, you would have it so servers were not serving both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks; you would separate the two. But logically you would also make the glasses distinct enough in what has what that toothpicks or whatever would not be necessary. That said, my last Disney cruise was last fall, a good 6 months after the newest boat, the Dream, entered service. And with all the crew being shuffled around, along with a ton of new crew, even at that point I felt there was a noticeable overall drop in the quality of service. I can only hope that quality will improve with time as everybody settles into their roles. But with the Dream’s sister ship, Fantasy, crossing the Atlantic right now, I expect problems will continue for another year before they get better. Oh, and with this situation? Those parents need to freakin’ parent. Chris_In_NC Apparently Khanlian left his head in Fantasyland. I agree with everyone else who is absolutely shocked… that you are even considering taking this case. Yes, CSR should be professional in their responses, but obviously Khanlian’s actions do not demonstrate reasonable or rational behavior. Yet, you are going to automatically assume that Disney acted unprofessional in their response? Have you considered that Khanlian is hearing what they want to hear or flat out lying about it? Frankly, this case represents what is wrong with society. Someone who is entitled and possibly delusional. A few sips of watered down alcohol doesn’t cause any physiological harm. Does Khanlian realize that most cough and cold medications have just as much alcohol? This child is going to need therapy in the future, but its certainly not from Disney’s drink Nikki I thought it was inappropriate, but that’s just me. I’m not offended by much – just didn’t think the comment had much to do with the issue. BillCCC I have no problem with the removal of blatantly bigoted comments. This is your site you have no reason to allow comments that will harm someone based on their color, creed, origin, etc… john4868 Delete it … Its one thing to have an adult discussion and disagree… another to resort to name calling based solely on ethnicity. Chris_In_NC If readers wouldn’t respond to the comment at all, the problem would be solved! Unfortunately, acknowledging the comment by referring to another hate group’s site is equally inappropriate. Chris_In_NC If readers wouldn’t respond to the comment at all, the problem would be solved! Unfortunately, acknowledging the comment by referring to another hate group’s site is equally inappropriate. Ultimately, its your site, and you have the prerogative to delete as you see fitPS, I have having LOTS of trouble with disqus on this computer, so apologies for duplicate comments and missed spacing sirwired A full refund or comped cruise? (And for the whole family, I bet!) For an honest mistake? Look, even if the kid had drank the whole thing, while he would have been drunk out of his gourd, and probably hungover in the morning, a single rum or vodka punch is not going to put him in line for a liver transplant. But the kid didn’t even take more than a couple of sips; no harm, no foul. If she was just going to complain to “higher authorities” anyway, why’d she even pursue the matter further on-board? It looks like they took it seriously, had a good talking-to with the employees involved, and dispensed a generous basket of goodies. And if there were threats of escalating to some sort of government authority if a refund was not provided absolutely would qualify as extortion. (I acknowledge that we don’t know if this occurred, but given the other overreactions, I wouldn’t rule it out…) john4868 Multiple people made mistakes here to include the parents that didn’t try the drink. Disney made a more than reasonable attempt to make up to the mistake and the key thing here is there isn’t any permanent injury. As far as extortion, that implies that there was a threat attached if Disney didn’t do what they wanted. Interestingly, the OP leaves that out and since it was a phone call, there’s no definative record of what the comment was in response to. Disney attempted to make up for a simple error where no one was hurt. The OP is being unreasonable. sirwired I’d just delete it. It’s irrelevant, offensive, and has no place here. Chasmosaur 1) My grandmother once left one of her “martinis” within reach of my brother at about this age. “Martini” is in quotes because it much nothing more than a glass of iced vodka on the rocks (but she thought “martini” sounded better). He drank half of it – my parents figured he was one of those kids that would eat and drink anything so he was just drinking because he was thirsty and ignored the alcohol taste. He was sick for a day or two, and ultimately overcame this horrifying experience to become a research biologist ;) The only lasting damage came from my mother yelling at her mother-in-law, who was offended that my parents were upset over the whole thing. 2) Have you ever had one of those Disney mixed drinks? My family had a milestone birthday for my grandmother at their Vero Beach resort about a decade ago. They had this brightly colored mixed drink (which looked like a fruit punch) in huge glasses that all the women in my family were sucking down, so I decided to give it a try, even though I don’t really drink. Because as I discovered in college, I just don’t have a tolerance for alcohol. (I make a great designated driver, though ;) ) One drink barely gave me a buzz and it didn’t taste like alcohol in the slightest. As there is no mention of the child being sick, I’m sure the alcohol ingestion was probably pretty minimal. The server obviously wasn’t paying attention, but Disney made up for the error. Besides – different members of my family have been on that cruise and couldn’t say enough nice things about it. This is someone who is complaining to complain. Jessica I do not drink alcohol because of my religious convictions. I would be very alarmed if my kids or baby were served alcohol, but I would be most concerned about alcohol poisoning- not anything religious. It seems like an honest mistake and the appropriate actions were taken. And above all, the kids didn’t seem to need medical care. If anything, I would have insisted on seeing the doctor on board for free. The gifts, apologies, and disciplined employee were plenty. It seems like so many are looking for an excuse for a refund before it even begins. TouchyFeely The only person I feel sorry for is this woman’s husband. It must be hell living with the center of the universe. As to the drink, come on. People make mistakes. it wasn’t like they handed him rat poison. They made a mistake and admitted it. Move on. They owed you an apology and you got it. TouchyFeely The only thing borderline about this one is how much traffic an overly sensational headline will generate, because the actual issue belongs on the maury show. I have to say I read this blog less and less with the lack of real travel issues. $16635417 Simple. Substitute something like “Woman”, “Jew”, “Arab”, “Mexican” or “Black Person” for “Armenian” and see how it sounds. If you would still leave it, then leave it. Harry Baxter Mistakes happen. The lady needs to get a life. EvilEmpryss I was curious since the woman was offered “…a round of non-alcoholic drinks at dinner.” It made me do a double-take. Thanks for the clarification. :) MikeInCtown I totally agree! they are completely out of their minds. No harm was done and the rest of the cruise was apparently acceptable. I think what the cruise line did was the right thing to do and the employee has been councelled. What else can be done. The child did NOT finish the drink and everything was rectified within a short period of time. Now had the child finished it and complication developed then i could see something more serious being discussed. MarkKelling A mistake was made, Disney did what was necessary. Nothing else is owed. I do think that the attitude of the drink servers might be considered flippant to someone who feels strongly about not allowing their children to have alcohol, and maybe the one noticing the child was drinking alcohol could have had a more serious attitude and been more apologetic about serving the child, but this mistake does not equal a free trip. Why did the parents not taste the drink before giving it to the 19 month old especially after the 4 year old didn’t like it? While I have no children of my own, I have been around plenty of parents of small children and they always taste the drinks served their children before letting the children have them unless the drinks are in individual cans or bottles that clearly identify what the drink is. A simple taste would have prevented the entire episode. But the parent would probably still be asking for the free trip simply because they were given an alcoholic drink for their child. MarkieA You think it might be illegal for a company to say, “We disciplined the waiter by making him retake Drink Serving 101?” Because it violates his privacy rights? I hope you’re just joking. If not, that’s one more step down the path to H*ll in a handbasket. MarkieA Would we be having this discussion if the poster had said – as I had first mistakenly read it – that the behavior was typical American behavior? Just asking. I’m not easily offended; I can’t actually remember EVER being offended, really. I just dismiss comments like that as stupidity and move on. MikeInCtown I think the story was posted just to show some of the silliest requests for help you get. LOL vacaygirl Hmmmm, did the child fall ill from the drink? Nope. Did the child have any other adverse reaction to the few sips he took? Nope. Was there even a need for a doctor to be called, and medical bills to be refunded? Nope. Did Disney apologize? Yup. Did they make a gesture of good will? Yup. Is this actually an extorion attempt? Absolutely. larry I used to own a retail store and when someone threatened to sue me, I just told them to stand in line. Got about 3 slip and fall lawsuits each year, most all were scams. RITom If she was really upset about it. Then a good mom would have packed her family bags and got off at the next port and then fly home! because she would not have trusted anyone else on the ship to serve her 4 yr old son and her 19 yr old son who “who coincidentally liked it” (not his first time i bet). Then she should have requested a full refund of not trip but the airfare home to Perfectland! BUT NO she stayed on the ship and took those little gifts and then made a laundry list of stuff to support her need to get a full refund. Did she not take pictures too of for her support? EvilEmpryss I suffer from a genetic inability to process alcohol like normal people, leading me to easily build up toxic levels of alcohol in my system (coma-inducing levels). It still takes more than a few sips from a mixed drink to make me even *start* to worry about it, though. A normal, healthy child would have nothing to fear, even if they’ve never imbibed before. And I congratulate you on your ability to rationalize the religious aspect. Too many people would be ready to throw that card on the table even though (I’m assuming) the restriction is meant to be a conscious choice to abstain so that someone slipping you a mickey (lol!) wouldn’t endanger your immortal soul. John Keahey It’s extortion. Hope you steer clear of it, Chris. oceankitten my family still tells the story of how i “comped” myself an alcoholic drink at a wedding when i was two years old and then spent the remainder of the evening sitting under a table singing “zip-e-dee-doo-dah” to myself. guess what? i turned out ok. go figure. i think disney was perfectly in line with the gift bag, and while i would not have accused the cruiser of extortion had a been in the customer service position, that’s exactly what it was. people expect something for nothing anymore, and pounce on human error to drive home their point. nothing in this world is perfect, especially not when people are involved. Sebastian Kessel Sorry, Chris, I don’t understand why you even took this case. Disney reacted courteously and professionally during the cruise. This is, in my point of view, a clear case of a woman trying to extort a refund when none is due. I would have reacted in the exact same way had I been the Disney employee. Nancy Dickinson OMG, this woman is a loon to the nth degree! A full refund for a couple sips of a mistakenly given alcoholic beverage to a four year old? Really? It’s not as though they threw for the kid a kegger of epic proportions (a la Little Nicky). The REALLY nice touch was the gift basket in their room. IMHO, that more than suffices for the slight of hand and all should be well. I can’t believe the OP let one small incident ruin what should have otherwise been a wonderful vacation not just for her but the kids. Also, her belief she needs to be made privy to the inner workings of the cruise line and be informed of just “how” the people were disciplined is also out of line. Were the company to share this info with her they now open themselves up to being sued by the employees. So they should just open up their checkbooks to these employees to assuage the ego of an (obviously) off the charts nutty woman? WOW, does she think a lot of herself! Oh, Chris, you’re thinking as a parent on this one. Yes, it’s upsetting her child was served alcohol but it’s not the end of the world. “That wasn’t acceptable to Khanlian. She says had her toddler finished the drink, who knows what might have happened?” What “might” have happened had her child finished the drink(not toddler – a four-year-old is not a toddler – I would hope he is beyond the “toddling stage” at that age) would have gotten a little warm, initially, had a buzz so slight it would probably have been imagined and sleep pretty good; nothing more. She’s being overly-dramatic to imagine anything else. My guess, though, is she’s going to rush her precious darling to the doctor for a battery of tests to make sure no little brain cells were damaged, thereby ruining his chance of becoming a Rhodes Scholar at Harvard, thus making the cruise line responsible for his tuition. When my son was about 10, he thought our bottle of “pretty juice” looked tasty and that it was non-alcoholic mixer; he didn’t see the label that said it was alcoholic (7%?). The bottle had about a shot in the bottom of it and he drank it, mixed with 7 Up in a large glass. No harm, no foul, we started storing the alcoholic stuff in a cabinet he couldn’t reach. Were we upset? Absolutely. Did we start screaming at all and sundry we were required remuneration? Nope – sorry but we know hot coffee is hot and sometimes you need to just go on in life and not let the small stuff bother you so. Did we contact the manufacturer for not labeling the bottle better and demand satisfaction? Also, where’s the outrage that her 19 month old (edited because I had a “stupid” moment and put year instead of month for the age) was drinking an alcoholic drink? Oh, wait, SHE gave it to him thus, there’s no one to rant and rave at – no one to sue. This one needs to be put in file 13 and we all need to move along. Sometimes, I think Chris puts these up here to remind us he gets some pretty stupid stuff in his inbox. Life Lessons Military Wife You mentioned her rambling letter….already I don’t think of this mom in a good light. I ALWAYS try a drink before I pass it on to my child…mistakes happen. But back to the phonecall, you have no idea who she talked to the cruise rep. It’s possible that she went on a tirade, and he couldn’t hold himself together…yes, that’s wrong, but we are only hearing HER side of the story….I think she got a valid comp, and I would’ve been happy with it myself. Jason Hanna Yep. The recent ESPN situation is more the exception than the rule. Remember the FedEx monitor toss over the holidays? “Dealt with according to our disciplinary policy” or similar is normally the most that you can hope for. Though, a little odd, since ESPN and Disney are the same basic family. Though, the ESPN situation got much more publicity and was a much more serious (at least from a PR standpoint) offense. You release details you open yourself up, so.. most companies won’t do it. EvilEmpryss The four year-old got the drink, didn’t like it, so the Mom was giving it to her 19 *month* old. bc You should rethink your handle on here, perhaps it should say Racist American. People like you give Americans a bad name. Typical racist behavior. travelgal2011 I have to agree – the OP is asking for way too much. I think Disney did enough. However, I’d be interested to know if Disney is considering changing the way they identify their alcoholic drinks (a leaf on the toothpick??) and making it much more obvious which are alcoholic and which are not. They are afterall catering to families and it should be impossible for the (overworked) wait staff to make that kind of mistake. bc This was my first thought too. If a child said something was “disgusting” I would have certainly tried it before handing it off to another kid. sayhellod Good grief! It’s not like Disney’s policy was to give alcoholic drinks to children. It was a mistake that one employee made. The employee was disciplined, they got a bunch of goodies as well as an apology. A full refund? Way over-compensation. Raven_Altosk Can you publish the letter with the laundry list in its entirety? I need a good laugh. As others have said…there isn’t anything borderline here. Di$ney took responsibility and gave adequate compensation. If the OP is mad because Di$ney won’t tell him/her what became of the employee, that’s really none of their damn business. No company worth their salt would tell a customer whether they terminated, retrained, demoted, docked, etc an employee. Joe Farrell OMG really. Forget the over the top reaction, forget the ‘they served my kid booze’ over reaction, forget it all – its life. The kids liver worked as advertised – end of problem. These people need to get on with their life after an apology. Do they really believe that they are the center of the universe and their feigned outrage and overly emotional reaction is worth anything? Everyone has it right here Chris. . .. you are considering giving up a whole class of claims that may have merit but are willing to mediate drama queens? Finally, So what ‘authorities’ is Ms. Khanlian going to complain to? Florida? Did not happen in or within the jurisdiction of Florida? The Bahamas. which is the country of registry? Yeah, like they are going to enforce anything. Ignorant people deserve to be ignored. The sad thing is that with that sense of entitlement, and they vote . . . . ugh. bc Uh, it was a 19 MONTH old that was drinking the beverage. I say the parents were grossly negligent when their first child said the drink was “disgusting”. What parent wouldn’t have tried it before handing it off to another kid half the age??? Joe Farrell What is typical about it? And how it is racist? Armenians come in all forms of religion and color and are definitely not a ‘race.’ You wingnuts can object to the insensitive characterization but it is NOT racism . . . . since Armenians are not a RACE. . . Geesh. Keep the knee from jerking down that path every time you hear something offensive . . . I don’t agree with Decent’s characterization and thus do not agree that their handle appropriately describes them now, but they are not racist . . . . Raven_Altosk I just ignored it and wrote that commenter off as a loser. I think you should delete it. Jeanne_in_NE I tried to “flag” the comment as offensive/inappropriate, but couldn’t do so, just permanently link to that vomitus. Disqus has a problem. Please delete it, as you would any remark that doesn’t pass muster in polite society. Carver Clark Farrow II Nope, not joking at all. The caveat was because employment laws have a state component and I don’t know the law in each state. But employees have privacy rights with regards to their employment. Releasing that information without the employees consent would open an employer up to a nasty lawsuit. Bill Armstrong A mistake was made. They apologized. I don’t think there were any “damages”. The waiter didn’t give the drink to the 19 month old, the passenger did…so SHE gave a 19 month old an alcoholic drink. Her older son didn’t like it, so maybe there was something wrong with it, that’s not a reason to pass it on to someone else..at that point she should have checked it out. finance_tony Maybe people would be more sympathetic if you changed the title to: “Disney Hazers Served Poison to My Child!” DavidYoung2 What a clown – somebody made a mistake. It happens and they made amends. The OP is … a jerk. Sorry, that’s the truth. It’s jerks like this that makes the customers service people jaded about those with legitimate issues. The OP has now been publicly shamed – forever a Google search of her name will result in what a complete jerk she is. You did a public service by warning the rest of the service world to shun this OP like the plague! EvilEmpryss Not likely. The readers here seem to be able to use logic to pick apart the dramatic, emotionally-laden hysterics to get to the simple facts of the matter. “Poison” in reference to alcohol is rather an exaggeration, and I’m allergic to the stuff. cybersal This horrid accident clearly calls for the first server to be drawn and quartered. Could be the day’s entertainment. Any sane parent would have tasted the drink to see why the first child rejected it before passing it on to another. First thought should have been that it may have been spoiled or contaminated. This woman is a jerk. I don’t envy the life her kids may have ahead of them. Mom should be placed on a cruise watch list. NO refund. bc Joe, you don’t think associating a disparaging trait with a race of people as a racist comment? What’s typical about it, you ask? That’s exactly what racists do, they disparage people by judging them according to their race. Second, perhaps you should brush up on your geography and history. Ever heard the term “ethnic armenian”? also Ethnic Group = Race http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armenians Finally, do you think this kind of behavior is exemplary of a self-proclaimed “decent american”? Rosered7033 NO This is the type of person that will never be satisfied unless and until a complete refund is made. That’s not to say this was an acceptable mistake, it most definitely is not. But if the “laundry list” of complaints wasn’t enough to tip you off, the request for a full refund should tell you this may end in a stalemate (read: courthouse). pauletteb Khanlian’s “request” might not be extortion in the legal sense, but trying to force someone to give you something you don’t deserve comes pretty damn close. If this incident was so worriesome to Khanlian, why is it buried so deep in her laundylist of complaints? And do we have any proof other than her claim that the Disney rep used the term “extort”? I’m just not buying her story. LeeAnneClark I’m with the others…delete it. There’s no place for prejudice on this board. For those who claim that it’s not racist because “Armenian” is not a race, it’s a “nationality”, so, same thing. It’s a negative stereotype based on where someone was born. This is generally a very intelligent forum, mostly absent the mindless nasty drivel you see on, say, Yahoo or CNN comment threads. I’d like to see it stay that way. Amy Frey I said “mediate” – but only if it means some vouchers or discount on a future cruise. To expect a full refund seems excessive. Clearly they need a better way of “dispensing” beverages at these on-board functions, but to expect a full refund is, in my mind, extortion. Jen Armstrong I would delete it and disallow posting any comments like that from now on. They’re immature and inappropriate. Furthermore, they have nothing to do with the cases you’re presenting. J I don’t understand why they wouldn’t taste the drink. Especially if one child didn’t like it. What if it was rancid? What if there was soap in the glass? ViviWang ITA and I don’t believe the Disney rep used the word extortion. The OP had a laundry list of complaints, including a snarky waiter that was listed above the drink served to the 4 yr old. Moreover, alcoholic drinks aren’t free. One of the parents would have had to sign the charge sheet and alcoholic drinks average $7-11 each, far above what is charged for fruit juice. I believe the family did not enjoy the cruise and are looking to recoup all their money for a mistake they couldn’t have thought was so bad as it didn’t come up until half-way through their list of complaints. As a long time and frequent cruiser I was surprised at how well Disney responded to their complaint. Let’s just call their request what is: extortion. flutiefan agree with everything. but i want to point out that the cruises i’ve been on do NOT offer complimentary non-alcoholic drinks, at least not soda. only orange and apple juices have been free. for everything else, you have to buy the “soda card” which is about $7/day. ClareClare Wow, in the past Chris has shared some really icky Disney-incidents that had totally turned me off ever going there–but in this case I am frankly impressed with their response. A kid accidentally sips some booze and Disney heaps a sackful of goodies on him! Apologizes immediately to the parents! Assures them that appropriate action has been taken regarding the employee (which they can’t describe more explicitly for legal reasons, obviously)! Who could ask for anything more? The answer to that rhetorical question… is before our eyes. To be blunt, it strikes me that the kid has a bigger problem than his accidental sip of alcohol–it’s his parents. Can you imagine what it must be like to be raised by people like this? I can’t either. This poor child may indeed have years of therapy ahead of him… but NOT due to any problems caused by once drinking a teeny bit of alcohol served to him through human error on a cruise. Chasmosaur 19-MONTH, not 19 year old. ClareClare I was thinking the same thing–imagine what may have happened if, let’s say, the Disney employee who rightly called this “extortion” hung up and immediately moved on to consider another complaint that was, unlike this one, totally legit? Human nature would lead him to be unfair to that poor soul after dealing with these people! ClareClare We may not like it, but I for one think you should leave it. If you start censoring, where does it stop? ClareClare GREAT STORY! I’m LMAO and I wasn’t even at the wedding! @passportjunky No word yet if there were peanuts aboard the ship, thus rendering the children incapable of enjoying their cruise. GET OVER IT LADY! BIG DEAL! Sonya Sounds like the same situation at Applebess where a toddler was served alcohol instead of apple juice. It is true that the baby could have been impaired permanently with a large amount of alcohol. That should be the focus, welfare of the child. I would have asked Disney to be upfront about the discipline and may have demanded termination of the employee. Not refund. Nancy Dickinson Oh, wow, did I completely misread the ages of these kids! Is my face red! Sonya The parent would not have been asked to pay for it if the server claimed it was fruit punch. We we are out, I always take a sip before giving it to my kids. This is the exact reason why. Nancy Dickinson I’m with you, Rave. I want to see the list. Oh, and if it IS posted, I feel a snark-fest coming on. finance_tony Really??? Termination of the employee? For a mild accident? Why would you “demand” that? Would that have made it better? finance_tony For the record, I was kidding. But several headlines have been over the top as of late. Nancy Dickinson I caught that later that I had read the wrong age. No excuses offered but an explanation that this was the first thing I read after arising and my glasses were in the other room. Either way, being 19 months or 19 years, they are still too young to legally drink and it was FINE for their 19 month old to have but not the four year old? Nancy Dickinson Yeah, I caught that later and was embarrassed! But the point still stands that SHE handed the drink off to another of her children and isn’t raising a fuss about that one… Nancy Dickinson Put the poster on moderated status with a warning. There’s no room here for bigotry in any way, shape or form. Second offense, banned for 30 days, third offense is “Hasta la vista, baby”. Sadie_Cee No need to waver here. Disney made a mistake, and has acknowledged and apologized for it. Disney proffered compensation in the form of the gift basket (for two) and disciplined the staff who made the error. Absolutely no need for mediation. The OP is seeing $$ signs. Since the child was not harmed the OP has likely found out that she does not have grounds for a lawsuit. She is being entirely unreasonable and Disney is justified in ignoring any further representations from this family. Nancy Dickinson First of all, to discuss matter of employment violates the privacy rights of the employee. Even an old employer, when asked for a recommendation from a new employer, is only permitted to confirm the employee worked there from “this date to that date”. Termination is more than a little extreme in this situation. It’s not like they hooked up an IV and streamlined the kid with alcohol. And, frankly, mom handing off the alcoholic drink to her younger kid was MORE remiss than the accidental serving given to the 4 year old. Should mom be hanged because of it? You’re only 23, sweetheart. If you’re a mom, you’re a young mom. I’ve been through four teenagers and 30 years of parenting; TRUST ME, it gets much worse than this. Had this happened to me, it’d been a blip on the radar. Rule #1 of being a parent (especially of teenager) is to choose your battles. The moment the gift basket hit their stateroom it should have been finished. Nancy Dickinson I wish I could like this a few more times! I was thinking this the entire time I was formulating my response but didn’t say it. I got a good laugh out of your response as well! Carver Clark Farrow II Joe You are being disengenious in your attempt to split of hairs and in this case you are quite simply wrong. Consider this definition from Wikipedia “Racism” [is] used to describe discrimination on an ethnic or cultural basis, independent of their somatic (i.e. “racial”) differences. According to the United Nations conventions, there is no distinction between the term racial discrimination and ethnicity discrimination. Thus for this purpose race includes inter alia cultural and ethnicity, Nancy Dickinson Again, I thought the same thing. This poor, beleaguered man was, I’m sure, rolling his eyes from the moment they learned it was an alcoholic drink and thinking, “Oh, cheese and rice, here we go again.” I see an affair, or string of affairs, a divorce and full custody in his future because this mom is a whack job, 100%. And when he tells his future mistress(es) his wife doesn’t understand him, he’ll mean it! Lindabator Or if this was the Captain’s party, at which the drinks are comped anyway. :) Lindabator But if they were at the captain’s party, where the drinks ARE comped, they do have non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages available – this is where the mix up may have occurred! Lindabator OOPS! Hit liked instead of reply – do NOT try and categorize an entire group of people based on 1 idiot’s moneygrab. I know a lot of decent, hard-working Armenian people who would cringe at the mere idea of this. Lindabator Not when you are serving more nonalcoholic drinks than alcoholic ones. And that is what happens at Disney’s Captain’s party – several kids, each who drink several drinks, and parents usually drinking 1-2 each. Lindabator Agreed. mistakes happen, and they apologized, and then gave them a nice gift for the kids to boot. ENOUGH! Rosered7033 I would say the clear majority of your readers/commenters stay with the thread and don’t make an a** out of themselves with racist or crude comments. even if they don’t agree. Problem is an unregistered commenter, even if banned, can come back and be just as disrespectful under another name/alias/emal address. Bravo to those regular readers that called this person out! My vote is to let your regulars have at ’em. Lindabator I don’t have a problem with your taking down abviously racist comments – this is not the forum for such behavior. Edward Soft drinks are free on Disney Cruises unless ordered from a bar or room service. You have unlimited free access to a drink station on Deck 9 of the ship mentioned in this complaint. Lindabator ‘Cause she sounds as loony as the OP! Christopher Elliott After today’s comments, I wish Disney would serve me a cocktail. Phew! I feel like I’ve been beat over the head with that 11-foot pole. Jasper Nijdam Some kids got a wrong drink. So what? Also, depending on *where* the alcoholic drink was served, it may not even have been illegal. It’s just in the US that people are very concerned about age limits. The rest of the world shrugs their shoulders at age limits on alcohol and it would surprise me if much of the Caribbean (where Disney cruises go) as any laws on it at all. In Europe, it’s a well known trick to get your baby to sleep to add a bit if liquor to warm milk. Raven_Altosk I will MST3K it. :D Meredith Putvin I voted no. The way the parents are acting is very suspicious to me. Plus if the younger child did not like the taste of the *juice* would that be a red flag to any responsible parent that something may not be right, unless the child is a very fussy eater. I would have personally tasted the drink when the first child refused it to make sure it had not gone bad. Something stinks in this case and it is not Disney’s response aside from an inappropriate comment, but then we do not know the context of the discussion either and what the customer said to provoke it. There are three sides to every story, his-hers and the truth. Dave Lieberman Maybe if they’d gotten off the ship at the very next port and flown home, their vacation ruined and their plans in ashes, then maybe they could have had a shot at a refund. But since they stayed on the ship and continued their vacation, obviously not. tomhenderson I think it could have been made with his tongue in his cheek, but others haven’t taken it that way. It was inappropriate if not in humor, but the reactions were mostly professional and in keeping with good manners. Steve_in_WI I can only assume that you’ve never made an honest mistake at your job that ended up causing no real harm to anyone. Steve_in_WI Hmm, let’s see – Disney made an honest mistake that they quickly corrected, they apologized, and they gave the family modest compensation for the trouble (and it was real compensation, not vouchers). And this crazy woman thinks she deserves a full refund? Elmo Clarity The idea is to have a system where if the indicator is not present because it was removed/fell out/whatever, it takes on the worse case, in this case, an alcoholic beverage. In the case where there is more of one than the other, then each server should serve one or other other, not both. Joe Farrell ‘Racism’ implies discrimination against someone for their RACE. Armenian is not a RACE. There are no hairs to split. I do not give a royal fecal explosion about what the UN or Wikipedia thinks – they do not set the legal standards. Racism is discrimination on account of race – otherwise it is ‘National Origin’ discrimination which is ALSO illegal in the US and most states. Racism is not discrimination on account of national origin. We have ‘ethnic Italians,’ Ethnic Germans, Ethnic Russians and Ethnic English – but they are NOT A RACE. They are Caucasian, which IS a RACE. Are you folks truly that ignorant of basic legal concepts? Joe Farrell Gee BC – did you READ my comment where I said: “I don’t agree with Decent’s characterization and thus do not agree that their handle appropriately describes them now, but they are not racist . . . .” what do you think that MEANS? Do you think that means I agree with him? stevepy What I don’t really understand is Disney’s “blowing off” the family. The last Disney cruise I was on, I wrote in the comment card (not expecting a response), about how the duvets looked a little worn. ON A COMMENT CARD! Disney wrote me a letter thanking me for my comment and noted that they were in the middle of replacing them. Disney is all about CYA for all things big and small, especially since its business is about families. After all, one story about a kid getting injured on a ship or in the theme park, and all of the Central Florida news stations go crazy! I just really can’t believe that Disney blew them off or the whole extortion story, especially after executive escalation. Something doesn’t add up, but then again, you only have one side of the story here. Adam P Even posting this and asking continues to remove any remaining credibility that you have, Chris. As you acknowledged yourself, this woman is a complainer. And thinking she deserves a free cruise is indeed extortionate. The customer is not always right, when they are a greedy pig. I can’t help but wonder if maybe the kids were out of control because mom and dad think their little angels do no wrong, and the waiter wanted to shut the kid up. I’m sure the complainer also doesn’t realize that the cost of her family’s cruise likely exceeds the waiter’s annual wages, which he sends to his family in the Philippines or Indonesia. Before demanding “discipline”, I’d chew on that. scapel When the 4 y/o complained he didn’t like it the adult should have tasted it to find out why. This Kanlian person is a poor parent. I don’t think there was any harm done even if the 19 mo old would have drank it all. These drinks don’t contain much alcohol. Now, I am not sure about the drink. The second server said it was alcohol. Did anyone taste it? Maybe the tooth pick identifier fell in the glass. The first servor may not have been at fault or if so, he made a mistake. No reason to carry on about it. I would have wanted to talk to the first server myself to understand what happened and not proceed to all the scams this person did. If the second server knew the first one then I would have had her bring me to him. scapel I typed Aleeza Khanlian into Google so I could see if this was an Armenian name and someone in Portor Ranch, Ca came up. Then below I clicked on the link and got back here which is where I put my comment and got here and couldn’t find my comment. So I got back in time. Elliott–great move. Can I keep going back in time. I agree that the Decent American’s comment was inappropriate, but the post that followed were even more inappropriate. I voted yes this second time since I got it right the first time. Let’s see what happens to this comment scapel You do a good job. With fame comes a little flack. Sometimes you have to post some ridiculous incidents to keep the interest up. I think my first post on this subject didn’t come up when I came back to the site is because I didn’t click on “show newest first” My fault. I thought you had found a way to take me back in time. HA! scapel You have it right scapel I have been having spearmint snowballs on this day and I am at my aunts house at the dinner table after dinner. I am about 6 years old. They have some green drink on the table and I pour my self about 1/2 glass. It kind of burned as they were telling me that I couldn’t have that. HA–I already had it. Of course it was Green Creme-de-Ment. Didn’t know at the time I might have been able to ask my aunt for some sort of comp for allowing me to drink alcohol. jmiller45 what part of ,after the 4yr old tasted the drink & didn’t like it that the mother then passes it off to her 19month old to drink & didn’t taste it herself did you miss? Someone should be terminated for her stupidity? You are in serious need of a reality check. The employee was disciplined.It’s no one’s business how he was disciplined. sdir “Extort” seems a convenient word to use, considering their demands. But I also wonder how much of the request we aren’t hearing about. Give me my way or I’ll take this to the media, and tell all my friends, and post on every travel site, and blah blah blah about how evil your cruise line is. Makes me wonder if “extort” was used for a reason. bc No I didn’t miss that, I didn’t feel it was necessary to comment on something when we we’re in agreement. My point was, and still is, that the OPs comment was racist. Just because at times people are prone to claim ‘racism’ for life’s little injustices, you can’t get any more blatant than someone comes right out and says “X race has this negative trait”. This is NOT a grey area, this is not someone being over PC and getting their feelings hurt. This is ME telling this self-proclaimed “Decent” person that their words were less than decent and their statement was racist. And to comment below, racism is generally accepted as discriminating against someone based on their race, nationality or country of origin. So don’t as carver put it, “split hairs” because all it does is put you on the same side of Mr/Mrs “Decent” and I’m not sure that’s the side you want to be defending. bc How about I say to you, “oh you’re Irish, typical Irish, you’re all drunks and argumentative.” I’m not being racist, am I? Irish isn’t a race. See how your shoddy argument goes out the window? gritchie Oh Chris… Why do you post this kind of nonsense? Not only did Ms. Khanlian receive enough of a comp… an apology and a round of drinks, she received MORE than enough… “a gift bag of goodies”. How much more should this innocent mistake cost Disney? Please don’t encourage people like Khanlian. Her greed is disgusting. :-( Jeanne_in_NE Come to Nebraska on your “Away is Home” journey, and I’ll serve the *adult* members of your family with the adult beverage of your choice. gratianus When you get a complaint from a reader, you should consider how appropriate the solution the reader seeks is to the problem. I cannot see how what the Disney staff member did, which might have been inadvertent, justifies a refund. Indeed, though the Disney employee who called the OP’s demand of a refund “extortion” went a bit too far, he or she certainly had the right to think that was what was happening. The 93% who find insufficient merit in the OP’s issue with Disney have gotten it right. milford plaza hotels Carbonated drinks are no cost on Disney Cruises unless requested from a bar or room service. You have endless no cost access to a drink place on Deck 9 of the ship mentioned in this complaint. BlondieDC I think the onboard response was appropriate and should suffice. While actually calling the customer’s request for a refund extortion was unprofessional, it was perfectly descriptive. cjr001 While the Disney ships are all registered in the Bahamas, they pretty much follow US law, even with cruises that are not stopping at US ports (such as when a ship is in Europe). So, the drinking age is 21, regardless of where the ship is, regardless of where the passengers are from. And this particular cruise was of the Mexican Rivera, starting and ending in Los Angeles. Joseph Cosgrove OMG, accidentally served a real drink instead of a “virgin” drink – can’t imagine that has ever happened before. Who is more dangerous: a terrorist? or a Disney waiter? Let’s find out! Lindabator Disney is a bit different in that regard – and as I stated below, this was for the Captain’s Party, so comped drinks period. Lindabator Usually GLASSES for the alcoholic vs PLASTIC CUPS for the nonalcoholic – always seemed to work before – don’t know why the screw up this time. And unfortunately, when serving multiple people, they usually serve both – people start “whining” otherwise. IGoEverywhere Oops happen. These people were apologised to, they were gifted, they were taken care of. They initiated the refund stupidity. This happened to my son of 9ish on Princess. He drank it, it happened, I yelled a bit and I was pacified. The presidents / ceo’s of companies are bombarded with garbage every day. They know when they wish to get rid of a moocher. Jhana I may be in the minority here, but a few alarm bells do go off if this is true. First, on a cruise that caters to families (kids), I’m not sure that it should be incumbent on parents to try every drink offered to children. Disney promotes itself as a kid friendly vacation provider. I would probably (maybe mistakenly, but still) assume that precautions would be in place at a disney venue to prevent such mistakes. Second, if non-alcoholic drinks are being served alongside alcoholic drinks, and they are being offered directly to children (what if a parent isn’t looking at that moment?), and they look similar, there should be a MUCH clearer delineation b/w the drinks than a small plastic leaf. Special cups for the kid drinks? Brightly colored cups? Third, to say that alcohol in small amounts isn’t hazardous to kids and so it’s not worth complaining about isn’t the point. The child could have finished the drink, and also, for some kids, a small amount could be hazardous. The “I gave it to my kids so it’s fine” may be true for some, but doesn’t excuse a kid oriented cruise provider from offering alcohol to young children, accident or not. If this story is true, Disney should re-evaluate how these parties are handled, and should have let the OP know what steps will be taken to make sure the problem doesn’t happen again. Heck, I’d like to know, in case we ever did a disney cruise. But, aside from that, their response on the ship was prompt, courteous, and appropriate. They took the complaint seriously, disciplined the staff, and aside from stating that they were changing procedures to prevent such incidents, did a decent job of handling the complaint, probably better than most. No refund, no mediation. Joe_D_Messina To me, it’s always a dead giveaway of a fabricated complaint when more serious stuff gets buried in a longer list of trivial gripes. When things are real, your brain sorts out the worst stuff and centers your attention on that. But when it’s all made up, everything just stays lumped together. Thus, rude waiters get top billing over toddlers getting booze. Had she claimed the ship was rat-infested, that probably would have come after a gripe about the pool not having enough towels. Since Chris never talked to Disney, there isn’t any official acknowledgement from them that any of this occurred. Thus, I’m not fully convinced the drink thing even happened. That’s the response you get from people when you cry wolf. duvenstedter These things happen. Parents have to be careful. The problem is, after parents have had an alcoholic drink themselves, it is hard for them to taste whether the sweet, fruity drink their child has been served has alcohol in it. More than 30 years ago, we spent Thanksgiving at a cabin inside Everglades National Park. The restaurant there was plain but was nice enough to have white tablecloths. Our eight-year-old son loved the taste of pina coladas, without alcohol, of course. Restaurants often served “naked” pina coladas for children. Of course, it was Florida, so his mother and I had “adult” pina coladas, and our son had a “naked” pina colada. So far, so good. The pina coladas were served in large wine glasses with a tall stem. Our son knocked his over, and it made a terrible mess. (Pina coladas are thick and sticky.) The food had not been served yet, so the waitress simply picked up the four corners of the tablecloth and disappeared with the entire contents of the table top. She quickly returned, wiped down the table top, and left to get a replacement pina colada. We were impressed. After a while, our son started to get too talkative and silly. We both tasted his drink, but we really couldn’t tell. We asked the waitress to test his drink. She took one sip and said, ‘Oh, my God!” She apologized and replaced the drink. Obviously, some mis-communication had occurred back in the kitchen. That was the end of it. The manager didn’t come out to apologize. We didn’t ask for any adjustment of the bill, and none was offered. Joe_D_Messina If this is “borderline” I’d hate to see the cases Chris discards out-of-hand. People who never even went on the cruise demanding compensation? Wrona Some lines do have no cruise lists. Usually because of misbehaving onboard, but there are a few “too many complaints” people on those lists as well. Joe Farrell Generally accepted by whom? I think words mean things – One need only look to the US Census for what constitutes racism. They do not ask you your ETHNICITY in the RACE column. Joe Farrell No – and being part Irish I would not thnk you were being racist, an insensitive azzhole, but not a racist because the Irish are a Caucasian ethnic group. One need only look to the US Census for what constitutes racism. They do not ask you your ETHNICITY in the RACE column. This is not brain surgery. LeeAnneClark LOL – we know one of them, don’t we? Hmmm…something about Macon, or was it Macop… ;-) SooZeeQ There is a list of things that could have gone wrong, allergies, etc., but they didn’t, so laugh it off. Sounds like they are professional whiners, and they do not need your help, as they will badger the cruise line to no end anyway. factseeker2 I agree with you Chris. There should have been a more professional response from the president’s office. This was not an accident. It was carelessness on the part of the person serving the drink. There was no excuse for such recklessness since there was an identifying toothpick in the glass that another person just passing by was able to spot immediately. They need better training if they don’t know what they are serving. The top brass needs to be informed about such carelessness. Although there were no ill effects, there certainly could have been, especially if the parents had not been alerted to the contents of the drink. There are laws against serving liquor to minors for good reasons. Disney could have faced serious fines for this, as well as arrests. This child could have accidentally fallen over while walking near a pool or tripped over something due to intoxication. I’ve seen many a grown-up have difficulty walking a straight line after drinking or getting into accidents. I’m assuming they can hold their liquor better than a very young person who is not accustomed to the effects of alcohol. People who have sued for millions of dollars in other situations have done so not just for the money but for the principle of the matter to alert companies to dangers that need to be rectified. A lot of good has come out of other people’s so called frivilous complaints. This woman wasn’t suing for millions. She was asking for compensation to bring it to the attention of the people at the top that this needs fixing, especially since the others thought it was no big deal and even joked about it – on a cruise designed for children. This was a wakeup call to those in charge at the top level. I have recently read reports of weird happenings and disappearances aboard cruise lines. Carelessness sometimes brings about serious consequences to guests on cruises. “out of their minds” “scammers” “nonsense” “greed…disgusting” “greedy pig” “maybe their kids are out of control” “crazy woman” “customer provoked it” “seeing dollar signs” ‘entirely unreasonable” “her stupidity” “need a reality check” “she sounds loony” “woman is a jerk” “believe they are the center of the universe” “ignorant people”, etc. Who are these self-righteous people who daily resort to name-calling rather than thoughtful discussion in their posts? I see the same posters daily pouncing on people rather than trying to understand the situation. Seldom do I see anything but negativism from your posters, no matter what the situation. It seems people get on the bandwagon and support each other rather than think for themselves. Joe_D_Messina Who are these people? I am one of them. Fire away, call me self righteous, whatever have you. But cutting to the crux of the issue, how would you like to see this dispute resolved? With them receiving a free cruise because of an accident (or carelessness, if that is how you want to view it)? Most of the things you mention have already happened: It was reported, it was investigated, supervisors were made aware, and they apologized to the guests. And, to put on my self-righteous cap one more time, I remain highly skeptical of this given the laundry list of other dubious complaints put forward. How else is a person supposed to view this case other than a rather transparent attempt to get something out of the cruise line? y_p_w It certainly seems like they’re trying to get way more out of this than necessary. I certainly wouldn’t have gone to such great lengths. I remember when my wife ordered a virgin mojito when she was pregnant, and the drink arrived with a clear smell of alcohol. When we complained, I basically got an alcoholic drink for free, and they prepared her a drink sans alcohol. That was all that they should have been asked for. I understand what the issue would be. Everything that happens on board a cruise is practically organized chaos. Especially with these mega cruise ships, they’re serving thousands of passengers and are trying to keep things together. It’s also interesting that Disney now has no problems serving alcohol now. There was a time when Disney and alcohol didn’t mix, except at the “secret” Club 33 at Disneyland. Now they serve alcohol at many of their theme parks and on the cruise lines. Carver Clark Farrow II Joe I can’t even begin to fathom what’s going on in your mind. Normally, though we often disagree, your points are usually well within the bounds of reason. I assume that we agree that the main issue here is the vitriolic remark directed against Armenians. Whether the comment is labelled racists, ethinic discrimination, or whatever is besides the point and detracts from the salient concern that someone is being vile and bigotted and quite comfortable with posting it for the whole world to see. What technical label you place on it is such a minor point that I cannot believe that that’s what your are upset about. wiseword Yes, they’re typical Disney unsophisticated passengers. But savvy enough to smell out a chance for graft. I’m sure they do this a lot. factseeker2 First, I would like to thank you for discussing this with me in a more thoughtful manner rather than the mean, nasty, name-calling attacks on the people who write to Chris. Second, I think Disney got off easy. People who serve minors alcohol in your and my communities are usually arrested. Bartenders serving minors are fined heavily and can lose their liquor licenses. And, yes, I do believe the server was careless. Disney was lucky that someone noticed the error in time to avert anything more harmful occurring. If the parents had not been made aware, they would not have known to watch the child more closely to avoid any further damage with accidents due to possible intoxication. The parents were concerned with what could have happened to their precious child. To them it was a serious consideration. They apparently did not think the staff was taking the matter seriously with the comment that was made and with a few items in a comp basket and drinks that were probably already free. When they took the matter to the higher ups, they expected them to respond in a more serious manner and, instead, got blown off and got no explanation of a clear follow through of disciplinary action. That probably prompted them to ask for a refund. They were perfectly in their right to insist on something being done so this didn’t occur in the future or threatening to go to the government regulatory agency responsible for policing what occurred. To be accused of extortion sounds like Disney trying to get off the hook. That would prompt me to then ask for a refund, if that is how it happened. Since I don’t know what happened for sure at this point, I would want Chris to look into it. However, I would give this woman the benefit of the doubt rather than calling her a scammer, etc. As for the other complaints, if she took her child on this trip at this time because it was his birthday trip, and if Disney pledges birthday acknowledgments and fails to follow through, she is justified in being upset about that, too. Disney charges plenty and should be more responsive to their guests. It is supposed to be a trip, after all, revolving around children. bc What this comes down to common usage but by all means continue to argue semantics. It’s the last resort for anyone who has no real defense for their position. Continue to live in that boxed in world of black and white that you’ve created for yourself. What racism comes down to is hate and intolerance for other people and cultures. When people make negative statements with the intent of disparaging a group of people whether it be the color of their skin, the country of origin or a culture it’s racism and discriminatory. bc “Racism” and “racial discrimination” are often used to describe discrimination on an ethnic or cultural basis, independent of their somatic (i.e. “racial”) differences. According to the United Nations conventions, there is no distinction between the term racial discrimination and ethnicity discrimination. Joe_D_Messina “if she took her child on this trip at this time because it was his birthday trip…” Heck of a birthday trip for a 4-year-old, don’t you think? Look, it’s clear you’re willing to bend over backwards to give these people the benefit of the doubt on every single point. I’m not. It’s also clear that your definition of “reasonable compensation” is far different than mine. You’d ask for a full refund of a cruise for 4 because a birthday acknowledgement didn’t go quite like you’d hoped? Yeah, best of luck with that. Daryl Laux This is the kind of customer no business should have. Full refund? Our friends had their cabin flooded on the last night of a Holland cruise ruining their brand new laptop and several pairs of shoes and didn’t receive as much as compensation as these folks want. factseeker2 I have not suggested a full refund for a lack of a birthday acknowledgement. It was mentioned only in response to your failure to consider the legitimacy of the drink complaint based on a “laundry list of complaints”. Posters labeling the woman as a complainer fail to see that this was a fair complaint. Lots of people spent lots of money taking their children to Disney World on their birthdays. I assume they do likewise on children’s cruises. When spending large sums, it means a lot to them to see their wishes for their children come true. I go to restaurants that honor my birthday on my birthday. Don’t you? My reason for posting was not to recommend a full refund but to point out that posters get nothing accomplished by trashing people who file a complaint with Chris when they feel it is valid. By discussing intelligently and trying to understand the situation would be more helpful. The woman and her husband had reason to be upset. What Disney did was illegal, it violated their small child, and, if Disney gave the impression that they were not going to do more to see that it didn’t happen again, instead threatening or charging them with extortion, then, that might be reason enough to teach them a lesson by requesting a full refund. I respect your opinion and will leave it at that. y_p_w You seem seem to have a perception that people are routinely arrested for making honest mistakes. People are arrested for deliberate actions, such as knowingly selling alcohol without checking for ID. That’s not an honest mistake. That is where people get arrested and businesses lose their liquor licenses. Accidentally serving an alcoholic drink that looks similar to a non-alcoholic drink is not one of those situations. In case you didn’t notice, this was also a cruise line. They have different rules. Disney doesn’t have any, but many cruise lines have casinos. Whether or not they did anything illegal is up to all sorts of interpretations. In any case this would be something that they would almost never get prosecuted for. What would be an honest mistake is someone who orders a non-alcoholic drink, but where the bartender mistakenly makes an alcoholic drink and it gets discovered quickly. At worst, that’s what happened here, and not the dire end of the world scenario that mom thinks it was. y_p_w That they would follow the typical age 21 drinking law in the US is more a matter of company policy rather than any requirement to follow a law. If there were to be any criminal punishment for knowingly serving alcohol to a minor, it would be from the country of registration. I just don’t see the Bahamas caring one way or another for something relatively minor. Now I have heard of instances of Liberian-flagged ships having issues. Just try and get the Liberian government to care. Lindabator There are methods in place, but MISTAKES can happen – we are all just human, after all. But to expect thousands of dollars refunded for a trip COMPLETED in full is plain ridiculous! Lindabator Really? Read her “LIST” of complaints as Chris did, and this was NOT at the top of it, so it was just an excuse she used to extort money from Disney – otherwise, had it REALLY been such a concern, it would have been the ONLY thing she coulcd complain about. This was a mistake, was acknowledged, she was given a “sorry” gift and the personnel were admonished. The fact that she (and you) seem to think they should be taken out and whipped and should NEVER be allowed to make a mistake (GOD, anyone?) tells me you are both living with your heads up your a@@ Lindabator Folks like her – and YOU – make it difficult for ANYONE to satisfy them (guess Peter will have a problem if you make it “up there”). NO ONE is infallible, and mistakes can happen. They addressed it – as for not kissing her son’s a@@ enough with the cake, the songs and the characters – what the heck did she want – or expect??? Joe Farrell Carver – you can’t call it racism. Thats all I said. It was an insensitive, stupid and vile comment characterizing an entire ETHNIC group unfairly. I don’t agree with it – I don’t agree with what the person said – but – hear me one last time – it is NOT racism. Joe Farrell Well, most places have agreed upon terms of service, and it is YOUR blog – you get a comment like that and you delete it – and then you delete the person who made it. There is no free speech here. You can have a goal of free speech but its your space, your advertisers are paying for it – and if you think something is outside the realm of polite and even spirited conversation, you delete it. Or you warn a person. Or you ask them to take it down. As I said, its your space and comments like that reflect more on the person who makes them and not the Armenians themselves – why people get so worked up over this stuff is something I have never understood. Ignore the idiots. Kevkev12 I am appalled with this kind of behavior. A greedy and ungracious person. What does she want? Asking for refund is not relevance. I’m sure Disney management has done disciplinary to that employee. I wish her son is dead, so she can sue and extort Disney Cruise to get millions dollar. Kevkev12 I agree with you. This type of customer makes living in America costly because company has to reserve some fund to cover compensation for greedy customer. I’m also surprised that Chris on her side, he encourages people to extort company. Elmo Clarity Hmmmm….. Not sure why this reply didn’t end up under the message I was replying to. Looks like the original message was removed so this reply could be removed too. Thanks. “I wish her son is dead, so she can sue and extort Disney Cruise to get millions dollar.” I am appalled with this kind of behavior. Wishing someone dead so you can extort a business out of millions of dollars? Chris, you asked earlier about the “racist” comment and if it should be deleted. Personally, I feel this type of comment from Kevkev12 is far worse and should be removed. Sonya We have no idea how much alcohol was in the drink and consumed by the child. It could and may cause irreparable damage. Sonya I’m very sorry. Sonya Not at this level. No. Sonya When you are offered a juice, you expect to be offered a juice. This is a Disney cruise for crying out loud! They admitted to having methods to identify alcoholic drinks from non alcoholic ones. You jim miller need a reality check. Not everyone drinks alcohol especially YOUNG CHILDREN! dragonmouse Sorry…this whole thing should have stopped with the apology and the gift basket AND a round of non-alcholic drinks….Unless I’m reading the article wrong ANOTHER beverage server stopped the incident and corrected it. Uhhh “thank you” from the parents to the new server? The server in error had been disciplined and corrected??? Perhaps the parents would have preferred to wittness a flogging and have the erred server “walk the plank” It was a mistake and you’re on vacation…good grief…. I’m kinda rolling my eyes at them. Wanting a refund???? Really now??? Perhaps the representative “could” have been a bit more “professional” but did he really use the word “extorting” or did that word come out after a lenghty “threatening” conversation. I’d leave this totally alone…wouldn’t touch it with a 10 ft mouse! Barry Moss A refund is absolutely inappropriate for the situation. It sounds like Disney handled the issue appropriately and made appropriate restitution. The request for a full refund is absolutely outrageous. subra mani It might have happened due to some unavoidable situations subra mani mistakes can happen any where Ricardo Perez Unfortunate as it was it is not the end of the world. Disney acted correctly and this family was trying to take advantage of an honest mistake which caused no harm to anybody. Cheerts Alistair Bradbury I love Disney and especially Disney Orlando and yes a mistake has been made here. Yet I do think people are getting to worked up over such mistakes these days. Accidents happen and are not excuses to bring in the lawyers and look for compensation. I own a small website called Cheap Flights To Florida here in England and the more legal issues that result in big payouts just means we all end up paying more for this type of family entertainment. People are finding life tough enough currently with the world economic climate as it is so for me, complain less and enjoy what the world has to offer us all.