Just As I Thought

A Mickey Mouse Operation

Last week a promotional contest appeared on my TiVo, offering a chance at an all-expenses paid vacation at Disney World. Unfortunately, for no apparently good reason, Mac users can’t enter the contest. What follows is the e-mail exchange on this issue so far. Note the pointless response from Disney to my complaint, while Tivo — who has no responsibility for the Disney site — promised a supervisory look at the situation.

After viewing a TiVo contest video, I went to the url provided to enter (disneyworld.com/win). However, it seems that the contest site is not viewable on Macintosh computers in any of the browsers that I tried (Internet Explorer, Safari, Netscape).
This seems unfair to Macintosh owners, doesn’t it? After all, the regular Disney websites all work on Mac…

Gene Cowan

Thank you for your e-mail. Your message is very important to us and we’ll be getting back to you
within 72 hours.


Walt Disney World Online Guest Services

Hello Gene,

Thank you for contacting TiVo Customer Support. I understand that you are unable to access the web site link specified in the recent Disney promotion displayed on your TiVo DVR.

At this time, because this promotion is provided to TiVo under contract from Disney, I have no information regarding the web site.

Depending on your computer and the content of the web site there may be a link or e-mail address provided that allows you to contact the group controlling the promotion or to report issues with the web site. In addition, I have already forwarded your message to my supervisor, who will ensure that it is delivered to the appropriate department. I would like to assure you that your message will not go unnoticed, and sincerely apologize for the inconvenience regarding this limitation.

Kind regards,
Carmen H.
TiVo Customer Support

Dear Gene,

Thank you for contacting the Walt Disney World� Resort.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. The website you were trying to access is not compatible with Macintosh computers.

If you have questions or need further assistance, feel free to contact us.

Please include your full name, E-Mail address, and reservation number if applicable on all correspondence.

Thank you!


Gail Williams

Online Guest Service
P.O. Box 10100
Lake Buena Vista FL 32830-0100

Dear Gail:

I’m aware that the website is not compatible with Macintosh computers, that is why I wrote the complaint. Your unhelpful response to my complaint simply exacerbates the situation, showing a lack of concern or understanding of the issue.
The question is WHY is it not compatible (there seems to be no reason for the incompatibility other than design issues) and when will it be fixed?
There is no indication on the site or in the contest promotional materials that entrants must use a Windows computer. Disney has effectively denied entry to the 10% of computer owners who use a Macintosh. In addition, because I cannot access the site, I cannot read contest rules to see if there is an alternate method of entry.
This is patently unfair, and while I am not a lawyer and have little knowledge of the laws governing such contests, it certainly seems to be fraudulent.

Gene Cowan

(The saga continues in the extended entry.)

Dear Gene,

Thanks for contacting the Walt Disney World� Resort.

The area which maintains this website advises that if you are experiencing difficulty with viewing
or registration, you need Internet Explorer 5.2 or higher for successful access.

If you have other questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

I am using Internet Explorer version 5.2.3.

Gene Cowan

Thank you for your e-mail. Your message is very important to us and we’ll be getting back to you within 72 hours.

Dear Gene,

Thank you for contacting us regarding the Disney / Tivo ?What’s New? Sweepstakes. If you are still interested in participating, please email us your name, address, and phone number, so we can complete your entry into the contest. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.

Thank you.

Thank you for your kind offer to complete my contest entry.
This effectively solves the immediate problem for me, but I would appreciate it if Disney’s web team continued a discussion within their unit on the reasoning behind shutting out Mac users for no apparent technical reason. Disney has always excelled in the lost art of treating the customer as a valued guest, and I hope that this trend continues in your web presence as well.

Thank you,
Gene Cowan

I dunno. I get worked up about the littlest things sometimes, you know?
Meanwhile, a few people on the Macintouch website have posted that they were able to access the site using the Foxfire browser (which I’ve never heard of) and Mozilla (which I have, but don’t use because it seems to be in a perpetual beta state). Regardless of whether it works in those two browsers, it should work in the top 3 browsers, IE, Safari, and Netscape… shouldn’t it?

Epilogue, April 27:
TiVo called me to find out what was going on, and assured me that they were going to look into it on their end, even though they were only selling Disney advertising space.
But then this morning, after someone on Macintouch claimed that they had no trouble, I went back to the site. It worked! In all three browsers. I can only assume that the Disney web folks went in and fixed it, as it now has a browser detection script that wasn’t there before.
Nice to know that some action was taken, even for a teeny, tiny little contest site.


  • It’s not hard to figure out why this is happening. Eisner is pissed at Steve Jobs for taking away a big chunk of income.

  • I would love to see Steve take Eisner’s job (there has been talk of just that), except that would take his time away from Apple and Pixar. But imagine how exciting it would be to see a merciless visionary like Jobs get his hands on a conglomerate like that.

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