January 25, 2007 First Night in Cinderella Castle awarded, was it a rules violation? Lisa (far left) and Jim (far right) Fouch of DeWitt, Mich., flank their children Brad, 16, and Hannah, 8, while being escorted by Cinderella through the Magic Kingdom in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Jan. 25, 2007 after being randomly awarded the very first overnight stay in the brand new Cinderella Castle Suite as part of Disney's "The Year of a Million Dreams."
Brad was in the right place at the right time -- seat 8 in row 2 of simulator 4 in the Star Tours attraction at the Disney-MGM Studios theme park around 10 a.m. Thursday -- the location and time a computer had designated a single guest to be awarded the Castle Suite dream-come-true experience for his family. As part of their royal treatment, the Fouch family was scheduled to act as grand marshals in Thursday's "Dreams Come True" parade at the Magic Kingdom before dinner at Cinderella's Royal Table and their magical evening in the suite.
(Gene Duncan, photographer. Photo courtesy Disney)
Nice family. Looks like they also were given Dream Mickey Ears and WDW logo'd sweatshirts. I want to know how Disney always seems to "randomly" choose those suburban caucasian nuclear families to enjoy the free giveaways. That family that won the park to themselves looked nearly identical to this one. Conspiracy or demographics? You be the judge.
We also learned 2 things from this first night of the Cinderella Royal Suite prize: First, you can win the night stay at any park (and possibly Downtown Disney). That seriously reduces your chances to affect the randomness of the award. Second, you can win the night stay in a height and medical restricted attraction. That means all you people who are pregnant, have back or neck injuries, or can't transfer from your wheelchair are out of the running on days when those attractions are the winning spots. This violates the spirit if not the letter of the rules. It might also violate the ADA and other anti-discriminatory laws and regulations in Florida.
The rules state that:
You will automatically be entered into the Giveaway (subject to meeting the eligibility requirements set forth above) and have a chance to be randomly selected to win a prize in the Giveaway by being present during the Giveaway Period
So if you're at the parks or Downtown Disney you should be eligible to win any of the prizes. There are time restrictions in the rules, but those are the only restrictions mentioned. There is nothing about having to be in good enough health or tall enough to win the prizes. That would be because they also state that they are subject to Florida Laws. According to the regulating division
for Florida based Sweepstakes:
Under the law, you should have an equal chance of winning, whether you purchase something or not.
That law is section 849.094
which reads in part:
(2) It is unlawful for any operator:
(a) To design, engage in, promote, or conduct such a game promotion, in connection with the promotion or sale of consumer products or services, wherein the winner may be predetermined or the game may be manipulated or rigged so as to:
2. Allocate a winning game or part thereof to a particular period of the game promotion or to a particular geographic area;
(b) Arbitrarily to remove, disqualify, disallow, or reject any entry;
It looks to me that anyone who fails to meet the height or medical restrictions on the Star Tours attraction was arbitrarily removed from the chance to win this prize based on the inability to be in the area where the prize was awarded. That would seem to violate Florida law and therefore the rules. Or am I way off base here?
Why isn't Disney playing fair with this sweepstakes? Surely there are enough places in their 40 square miles that they can randomly give away a few thousand prizes a day without discriminating based on height or medical restrictions? The full press release is below the cut.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- A Michigan family has made history as the first Walt Disney World guests to win a night's stay inside Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom Park as part of the unique Disney Dreams Giveaway. The Fouch (pronounced like "couch") family of DeWitt, a small town near state capital Lansing, gained the key to the brand new Cinderella Castle Suite Thursday during "The Year of a Million Dreams," a Disney spectacular celebrating the dreams of guests at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disneyland Resort in California.
Jim and Lisa Fouch and their children, Brad and Hannah, were to spend Thursday night in the regal dwelling place -- the world's most exclusive resort, with only one room available and no reservations accepted -- through the Disney Dreams Giveaway, which awards extra-special dreams through a totally random process. Now, nearly every night for the remainder of 2007, another eligible lucky guest will win a similar stay.
Like the Fouch family, they'll be honored in a special ceremony, dine at Cinderella's Royal Table restaurant, and bed down for the night amid the splendor of Cinderella Castle Suite some four stories above the surrounding Magic Kingdom -- a salon, bedchamber and bathroom off of a private marble-floored foyer, all replete with rich details. The Suite was created from unused space within the Magic Kingdom landmark once envisioned as in-park living quarters for members of the Disney family.
The Fouches became the recipients of the opportunity to become honorary Disney royalty for a day and night because 16-year-old Brad Fouch was sitting in seat eight in the second row of Simulator 4 of the Disney-MGM Studios' Star Tours attraction at 9:50 a.m. Thursday. That was the randomly selected location and time determined by the Disney Dreams Giveaway computer to award the Cinderella Castle stay.
"I was thinking I had the bad seat because I was sitting on the end," Brad said.
"It's like a dream," Lisa exclaimed.
Hannah added, "This is a dream come true!"
And indeed, for Hannah, who celebrated her eighth birthday Monday, it was. Before the vacation to Walt Disney World Resort, she had seen a Disney commercial in which Cinderella dances with a little "princess" and told her mom, "That's what I want to do!"
Winning the night in Cinderella Castle Suite marked the second bit of good fortune Thursday for the Fouch family. As they entered Star Tours, they won Dream FASTPASS badges that would allow them to bypass standby queues at a variety of Disney-MGM Studios attractions and shows during the day.
"I never win anything!" Lisa Fouch said afterward.
"Mom, you can never say that again," Brad responded.
The Fouch family's historic dream-come-true capped a 24-hour period at Walt Disney World Resort that also featured the premiere of Nemo, the world's favorite clownfish, in a brand-new theatrical spectacular and the official opening of an attraction starring the cast of marine critters that enchanted audiences in the Disney(Pixar animated film "Finding Nemo."