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Monday, March 3, 2014

When Something Doesn't Go As Planned in Walt Disney World

I'm a pretty level headed person. I'm always happy, and it takes quite a bit to get me down. 

One of the things that can easily bring a person down is a trip to the most magical place on Earth, Walt Disney World. Wait, what?!!

The recipe for break downs are there- you've been looking forward to this trip for forever and want it to be perfect, you could be on a different sleep schedule, hungry, whining children, crowds of people, pressure to hit certain rides, transportation that may not go as quick as you like, and a number of other problems that could pop up- leaving your park tickets in the car or your camera back at the room. 

Even if you have someone help you plan your trip (like me, perhaps? ;)), it happens. It might not even be your fault.

It happened a couple of times to me on my latest trip to Walt Disney World.

First, we were dining at Tusker House, located in Animal Kingdom. Our reservation was for noon, and we arrived at 11:45 am. We were given a receipt upon check in, and skipped the line for a picture with Donald- the line was long, it was hot, and we had just taken a picture with Donald the night before. We headed straight to tables and chairs to sit down. I checked with the host, to make sure I didn't need to take a picture for some odd reason, that I didn't have to give him my receipt. He looked me up in the system, and told me no- we would be ready to go shortly. We took a sea among a number of people outside the restaurant.

When 12:20 rolled around, I politely asked the host again- we had reservations for noon, and wanted to make sure there were no issues. I didn't want to be a bother-but afterall I was 8 months pregnant and I was ready to get in the air conditioning. Also, I had stopped at Kilimanjaro Safari while my husband checked in at Tusker House, and picked up a Fastpass for 12:30-1:30. We could make it, right? The host checked again- yep, we were still there.

About 10 minutes later- the slowest ten minutes ever- another worker came by, checking the receipts, and writing down information on a note card. She didn't tell me what she was doing, but I didn't take it as a good sign. With my kids now starting to complain (we skipped breakfast so we could sleep in), our Fastpasses quickly looking like they would expire- and a number of people being taken seated that came in after me... I had enough. Some other people were having the same issues-they had been there for quite a bit of time, and people with later reservations were being sat in front of them. What's the point of making a reservation if you are just going to skip over me?

I made one final stand at the podium-at this point it was 12:50. I showed him my receipt again, and asked him how the dinner was at the restaurant, because it was obvious I wouldn't be seated for lunch. He had a puzzled look on his face, told me we would be up next.... and wouldn't you know it, we were seated shortly. It didn't matter, as my entire family was extremely unpleasant at that point. 

Our hostess, as they normally do, welcomed us to the restaurant and attempted to make small talk as she showed us to our table. We let her know our feelings, and told her how ridiculous it was that we had waited that long. She agreed, and quickly sat us to our table. She left with an apology for our wait. 

I left immediately- and to be honest, if Tusker House had steaks, lobster, ribs, chicken, chocolate imported from Europe, and my favorite beer on tap- I was still going to be displeased and ticked off. I kept thinking- you mean I purchased park tickets so I could spend half of my day waiting to eat at Tusker House? What a joy. And I saw plenty of empty tables as we walked in.

Soon after I sat down, a manager came over to our table. She came with an apology as well. Yeah, thanks, glad you noticed it. Apparently, the host had marked us as already being checked in. How nice of him, even though I asked him a million times!!!

She then preceded to ask us if we took our picture with Donald. Um no, because the line was huge and we were sweating like pigs. I imagine she was going to offer to give us the picture for free (but we probably would have turned that down). She then asked if were on a dining plan- which we were. I think she probably would have offered to comp our meal, but that's impossible and useless on the dining plan. We told her our real issue is that we had Fastpasses that were sure to expire, and now we will have spent half of our planned day waiting to eat. 

And then, miraculously, she pulled these out of her pocket.

That's right, these are what I like to refer to as "Golden Fastpasses." Why? Well, she told us that we could use them to get on any two attractions that we chose, and could enter the Fastpass line for both of them. Fair enough. We finished our meal, and moved on.

First, they still accepted our Fastpasses at Kilimanjaro Safari. No questions asked. Second, we preceded to go to Kali River Rapids with the "Golden Fastpasses." The cast member, who was supposed to collect them, took one look at them, and told me "Hold onto those and use them at another attraction." Which I did, and I experience the same result- they let me keep them. And at the next attraction... and the next... up until we had boarded every attraction we wanted to, and then some. 

So what happened? Well, we lost some time waiting at Tusker House. We certainly didn't go ballistic and crazy, and start cursing loudly at the cast members. We were disgruntled, but we made sure the people we came across were aware- but not in a degrading manner. I know they see a million people, and problems were bound to happen. I just don't like when it happens to me- and this one was definitely out of my control.

But the cast members at Disney recognized the problem, and worked to make it right. The time that we were robbed of waiting at Tusker House, was given back to use time and time again, to where we hardly had to wait for any ride. It stinks we had to go through that process, but they did a complete 180 for us.

So, what to do when things go wrong in Disney- and it's your fault? Find someone, whether it be guest services, a cast member, or Mickey Mouse himself (one time I told Spiderman at Universal that we were having a terrible time and that I should have never left Disney property!), and let them know what the problem is. Do your best to stay calm, and just let them know that you had an unsatisfied experience. You never know, you might regain a little magic! 

1 comment:

  1. Bad things happen to us all, and it sucks. But when working with a company that really cares... it shows up. Of course now I want one of these golden tickets :)