To those who know me...I am a Disney fanatic. To the Disney fanatics...I am a fan. But, to my family and me, I just love the mouse. However, lately I am less than amused by some major changes made to vacationing at Disney World. I travel to the Florida theme park from 2 to 10 times a year so, I feel I know Disney World quite well. Recent events have me irked and I was quite vocal to the powers that be. I have decided to share my letter so, to those of you also not thrilled might feel comfort at thees problems being brought to their attention. If you do not agree it is probably because you do not vacation in the same manner as we do and therefore feel the opposite. But, shall I remind you...Disney is to cater to us all. So, pour yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy... Happy reading .
"To Whom It May Concern, 10/17/2014
I have been thinking of writing this letter for quite some time and now decided it needs to be written. This is all about Magic Bands and the “regular” guest.
Really?? Did you really think this whole process through and through? Did you ask for input from guests…and lastly, are you in too deep to back out now? Let me explain.
At first blush, the Magic Bands looked like a delightful idea and might have made vacationing and entering the parks easier. Then the reality of the practical usage came about and I have come to hate them with the burning heat of a 1000 white hot suns. Too strong? I think not.
I now have to plan everything down to the minute, everything I will do, 180 days out. I used to book my dinners and feel like I had everything under control for my exciting trip. Now, I must know what ride I will ride and at what minute I will be there. Regardless of whether it is raining, blazing hot or a particular park seems full. Normally, I would have just gone to another park, floated in the pool or gone to a water park but, NO, NO, NO …now, I must go to the park and ride the rides the computer generated for me or I will miss the opportunity to ride them at all this trip. You see if I miss these there are no more unless, I wish to stand in line for an hour and replace them with the poor over worked guest relations cast member. I so enjoy standing in line at Disney, oh wait, no I don’t, which is why I got Fast Passes to begin with!
As a frequent guest, I now have enough Magic Bands to start my own Magic Kingdom…is there a secondary market for these? I see a cottage industry. Another problem, they do not carry over from trip to trip. Also, if you change e-mails as many people may in their lifetime…Magic Bands and Magic Band accounts do not understand and will never work again…no passes for you!
Along the frequent guest problem comes the “I travel with friends” problem. Either I am now managing several families and their bands, fast passes, dining and all things Disney or we do not get to ride rides together as I cannot get FP for them unless I manage their Magic Bands. Oh of course, I could then stand in line at Guest services but, there goes the standing in line to do what I already spent 2 hrs doing at home in front of my computer problem….still loving those lines!
And speaking of trip prep time…I did not attend travel agency school…because I did not want to become a travel agent. It was bad enough to have to do this for my own family…now, as the leader of the team for all things Disney; I have to name everyone, add their characters avatar, pick out the color of their Magic Band, book the dining reservations, decide our park schedule, chose what ride they want to ride, schedule their Magical Express, and make sure this is done 180 days out so we all get what we want. This whole process is worse than getting 6 women to decide on a bridesmaid dress and I only had to do that once!!!!!! I have the pleasure of doing this 4-10 times a year!!!!!!!
As long as I am complaining, not really my nature, but, you have irked me so, I was so happy to purchase my Premium Annual Pass as, I could hop. Coming and going as I saw fit was my right and quite frankly an added perk to becoming knowledgeable about Disney. Given my years of training, I could “read” a park and leave when the crowds would thicken. But, another NO as Fast Passes are not available to those that move about the parks freely. Like the soup Nazi, no hopping for you! Fast Passes are issued for the folks in one park only and we do not encourage you to order one for the Magic, then perhaps one for Epcot and the final for Hollywood. The days of “What did you want to finish up before we leave?” are over…waah, waah. Too bad you are not allowed to “Clean up” what you may have missed.
Also, I love that you have spent millions of dollars in advertizing over the years to “Make Magical Memories” to have “Magical Gatherings” to experience a "Year Of a Million Dreams" to always feel like “Been there, Done that, Going Back!!!” and expect us to always "Remember the Magic". Now, I know you have witnessed a cropping of these and other slogans like these bring Baby Boomer Grandparents into the parks with precious Grandchildren in tow. I ask you, how many of these Grandparents are utilizing their I-phones to keep track of these Fast Passes. I am fairly tech savvy and I do not have a phone with an App to track, apply or cancel Fast passes I am looking to remember, book or cancel while in the parks. I have an I-pad mini which I will not carry into the Parks! So, if I decide to leave, I just leave. Fast Passes be damned! Now, in days of yore I would have gifted those Fast Passes to some lucky individual just entering the park and the delight on their faces was wonderful…now, I have just screwed up the count and made it impossible for some other poor schlub from getting their Fast Passes 180 days ago and then I didn’t use them…that’s what I was looking for… GUILT, on my vacation.
Oh and lest I forget to mention, these trips, these ever so special wondrous times away from telephones, emails, appointments, schedules, aggravation and pressure…these wondrous things use to be called vacations. Times to get away from everything you now have me doing while I am on vacation!!!!! If I am not mistaken this is what I was trying to get away from!
I long for the days when one could not even get cell service in Disney; it was created that way so the guests weren’t walking around yelling into phones and disturbing the vacationers. Oh, the folks that thought this hot mess up are generation I-phone…and the “let them eat cake” mentality is alive and well…what? EVERYONE is not so obsessed with the electronics attached to their hand that the mere thought of leaving it plugged into the wall back in the room is so unthinkable as to cause shivers.
I have a vacation planned for this next week. As a DVC member I will be staying for 8 days…no FP booked because none were available when I finally pinned down who all was coming along on the trip. My husband Mark and my son Blaine and I are the staples then…guest arrive
Sun Oct 19th Karen drives down from Charleston and Angela comes with us from Charlotte on Sat. they both will stay with us until Wed. Angela has purchased a Premium Annual Pass, Karen will purchase her passes when she arrives.
Wed Oct 22nd Karen R and Angela leave and Julie P comes from Chicago, she has an Annual Pass. Karen W will probably drive over for a couple of days and join us in the Parks from her home in Clearwater. She has her own Annual Pass.
Blaine’s friend Brad will probably join us for a couple of the days from Daytona area…I think he has his own pass as well. It explains why for those that treat Disney like their home, it is impossible to manage. We are not the folks who come every few years with a 4 night stay and a passion to see it all in one visit.
You see in trips past we would decide the day before what park we would attend and get up early and go…one person would run ahead with the passes and get the FP while the others would walk to another ride. It would be a joint decision based on who was there and what we wanted to do. Now, it is impossible to have the trip we once enjoyed.
This entire process has been a burden and I have attempted to go with the flow and placed my faith in the fact that Disney would get it right and figure out the kinks and all things would turn out well in the end. However, this last year’s experience has been a year of frustration and year of decisions and I am deciding to take my free time and spend it more wisely. Elsewhere! This trip has put me over the edge. The inability to get a Fast Pass for the new Seven Dwarfs railroad, when I have had reservations for 11months and will be in the Parks for 8 days is RIDICULOUS!!!!!
I do not need to go into more of the aggravation incurred because of the badly thought out plan, I am sure you have understood that perhaps I am not happy with the Magic Band process. I would just like you to know you have lost a once happy Disney customer to the dark side. The days of defending crowds and cost complaints, training friends for their upcoming trips and being a Disney Mom are over for me…there are too many places I can go that will appreciate me and treat me like a valued guest, for me to continue to work this hard for a crappy vacation. Just so you can look me up at find out I am not exaggerating please feel free to ascertain my information.
We began our Disney career at:
(Private information inserted here)
Sorry to be such a whiner however, I am just telling you what hundreds are saying but, will not take the time to put into words and send to you. I am currently the owner of Terri DeBoo Ideas@Work and I am a Business Growth Advisor and, in my previous life spent 27 yrs in Restaurant and Hotel. I have always admired Disney’s quest for excellence and have modeled much of my teachings from the many things I have come to love and respect about your service standards. I am sure you would rather I tell you than talk about you. From my point of view, you have sadly missed your mark.