This is a review of my personal experience.
- BOOKING: I booked our trip in August for six people. Four adults and two children. Since that booking in August my husband has spent an inordinate amount of time on the phone. We would be sent notices of changes. My daughter would be sent information about the trip that was inaccurate. The booking and reservations had to be sorted out numerous times, for numerous reasons.
Booking our trip: I give it a 3 out of 5.
Staff trying to help fix the booking of the trip: I give a 4.5 out of 5. Though extremely polite and willing to help, there were so many times we had to fix things, I thought maybe someone somewhere along the line would have recognized that something was amiss from their end.
2. MAGIC BANDS: When we arrived we had our luggage in our rental vehicle and went straight to the park. Our Magic Bands did not let us in the park. We had to take all six of us to the Guest Relations Office at Epcot. There we had to wait almost an hour, with children, while they tried to fix it all. The problems involved not just the tickets to the parks but also our registration to the resort. None of it was working properly. They went ahead and registered us for our rooms from the park. And they did their best to fix the tickets. Eventually they let us in. A man named Daniel escorted us in so we did not have to go through yet another line. Daniel was amazing as were the people at the desk. Though the ticket problem plagued us, my husband had to have his picture taken and put on record in the event his band did not work again. That did happen numerous times and they would check the system and let him in. This was not the end of the problems though.
Magic Bands Process: 4 When they worked, it was fantastic. But our problems were not yet resolved.
Staff trying to help fix the Magic Band problems: 4.5 out of 5. Again, the people were amazing. But the problem was not yet resolved. It was explained to us by one staff, much later, that not all employees had access to the entire system. So even though the people at the first park thought they ‘fixed’ the problem, because what they could see was fixed, there were other issues with the Magic Bands that were not fixed. Eventually, it was fixed. By the end of day two for most of the problems.
3. HOTEL: Originally we booked to stay at the All Star Movie Resort. We had stayed there before and really liked it. One of the issues of our booking, was a week before our trip my husband was contacted and told that the pool at our resort would be closed for maintenance. They were offering “free” shuttle to another pool so were not willing to make other offers or discounts. This was not something we were happy about. We had planned a day off in the middle of our stay just for a pool day. Being from a state that enjoys cold winters, we were looking forward to a warmer climate and the ability to use the pool that we normally couldn’t do if we had been at home. Disney did move us to All Star Sports Resort. This seemed like a fair play exchange and we were happy.
Then we arrived at the hotel. The Magic Bands, which were to let us in the room, did not work for the right rooms. One adult did not have access to her room at all. We had left a park to come to the hotel, check in, unload luggage, and head back for “Fast Passes” to get on rides. This means we had rides that were scheduled for a certain time block. When we tried to fix the Magic Bands again, it took another inordinate amount of time to fix. The staff gave us six free lunches. We had to wait extra time before we could go back to the park. On our first day, to this point, we had lost about three hours of time at the park because of problems that we kept getting told were resolved. The lady at the desk did her best to fix everything for us. Eventually the issues with room access and tickets were resolved. The free lunches were nice.
Our rooms were adjoining. The rooms had a strong chemical smell. This was explained as possibly the bug spray used to avoid disease carrying mosquito issues. This smell plagued us for the entire stay. The six of us would immediately have reactions when walking in the rooms, and be ill feeling until we left the rooms. We got used to it after the first day or so. We let the front desk know about this, but did not make it a complaint when they said what it was for.
The bed has it’s own story. In addition to the sinus issues from the chemicals, I woke up the first two mornings not sure of what was going on, thinking and feeling like I was getting sick beyond the chemical smell. My body felt like all the blood was in my head. The third night as I laid in bed looking at the television I realized I was looking up at my feet. The rest of my stay I slept with my head at the foot of the bed. There was a dip in the bed that made the head of the bed significantly lower than the foot of the bed. So unmaking the bed, and sleeping on it at the foot of the bed at least made it so I didn’t have a headache every morning.
The room next to us had to ask for toilet paper from our room the last two days of their stay. For three days their toilet paper was not restored. They called, and even went to the front desk to ask for toilet paper (who does not keep supplies there apparently), and still did not get toilet paper replenished.
Toilets took two flushes to flush. I could not figure out this phenomena. It was irritating but not something worth complaining about. It was the same in both rooms.
Additional note: during all of the troubles with the booking it was implied that the children’s stay would be made special. This was not spelled out. But I have been here before. I anticipated the children may return to their room and find balloons or at least characters made out of the bath towels. This was not done. We were not promised this, it was implied. We almost purchased toys to put in the rooms but I suggested we didn’t want to give the Disney Corporation credit for doing something they did not do. If we bought things for the children, we gave it to them.
Hotel: 2.5 to 3 out of 5. The rooms were adequate. There was a mini-fridge. I would choose All Star Movies over All Star Sports in the future. We had a better experience there.
Staff trying to help with hotel issues: we did not really ask the staff to fix anything other than the room access and some of the Magic Band issues, and for toilet paper. The staff at the hotel, and the cafeteria, were amazing. Polite. Pleasant. Hard working. The toilet paper issue was perplexing, because one room went so long and after numerous requests to staff for toilet paper I feel 4 out of 5 is a generous rating.
4. FOOD. The food at the cafeterias, and any of the food establishments in the parks, ranged from good to amazingly good. We had no problems with any of the food. The cost of the food was to be expected for a park-high to very high. I do have sadness in my heart when I see bottles of Coca-Cola products, and waters, costing $3 and more. When normally you pay $1 (give or take) outside of the park I had a difficult time paying the amount they were selling them for. They would sell five times as much product and still make incredible profit if they lowered the price and sold them at the cost they sell outside of the park. On many occasions I would have purchased pop or water had the prices been more reasonable. I couldn’t make myself do it.
Food: 4/4.5 out of 5.
Staff selling the food: 4.75 out of 5.
5. CLEANLINESS: The cleanliness of the parks is spot on amazing. The people doing the cleaning are spot on amazing. They were hard working, pleasant and interactive with us. I found myself picking up trash because I wanted to help them. Not that they needed it. They were doing such a good job. And they had a great attitude. We thanked them whenever we saw them working. They would tell us what Mr. Disney’s vision was. And they would talk with us about being there. We had great exchanges with the cleaning staff.
Cleanliness: 5 out of 5
Staff doing the cleaning: 5 out of 5.
6. STAFF: I can’t say enough about the staff. These people (and I’m sorry for assuming because I do not have any idea what the pay scale is for Disney World) are likely on the lowest end of the pay scale for the Disney Corporation. But these people, are why our trip to Disney World was so good. The staff are the primary reason we will go back. We spent our days thanking as many of the staff as we could, including Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. Even when dealing with problem after problem, the staff remained pleasant. At no time did we want to make any one of the staff feel like we held them personally responsible for the problems we encountered. We also made a point to tell them we know problems happen and thanked them for their efforts to resolve them. We made an effort to make sure our problems were not a reason to make them have a bad day. And I randomly gave gifts away to staff who were smiling, helpful and happy.
There are some ride “guides” who do an incredible job. I don’t know how many rides we left with smiles on our faces, and laughs ringing in our ears. It may be old hat to many of the ‘guides’ but they obviously recognize this is the ‘best day ever’ for many, and most people there are there to have a great time.
Staff: I know the scale so far has only been to 1 to 5, but I give them a 10.
7. BUS/ROUTES: We rented a vehicle for our stay. But we did attempt to use the busing system within the Disney World resort. We were at Epcot and thought we would go to Disney Springs midday, and return to Epcot for some scheduled events.. We were told by a guard at the gate that we could take a bus from Epcot to a hotel, catch a ride to Saratoga Springs resort, and walk to Disney Springs (instead of going to our car and driving over and back). The guard and the first driver we encountered said that if we waited until after 4 pm we could catch a bus from Disney Springs directly back to Epcot. We made our way to Disney Springs, walked around, then headed back to the buses. Our trip back was not what we were told. We had to catch a bus back to yet another resort, wait over 35 minutes for another bus back to Epcot. All along the way back we were told by drivers that there is no direct bus from Disney Springs to Epcot, ever. It was a minor glitch over all but yet another inconvenience that took time from our park experience.
Buses: the buses were running constantly. Just make sure they are going where you need to go. I suggest not asking a guard, but a bus driver. The bus system seems to be pretty solid if you know how to use it. 4.5 out of 5.
Staff: Out of the 4 or more drivers we talked to all but one were extremely pleasant. I give the drivers 4.75 (only because of the one unpleasant driver).
OVERALL: I really enjoyed this trip. Though it seemed a little too top heavy with problems in the planning and the first two days of our trip, we wanted to have a great time, so we did. The problems can be frustrating, and we did get frustrated. But as soon as we stood across from another human being trying to do a good job, and trying to help us resolve the issues, we would immediately at least have hope. You know, that everything would work out.
The cost of this trip was pretty high. I have traveled out of the country on many occasions and this trip cost us more than a few of those trips. For the amount of money we spent, and the effort put into being prepared for this trip, I guess I ‘anticipated’ there would be no problems. Best tip, I guess, is don’t expect to not have any problems just because you’re spending a huge amount of money.
I hope that Disney World Staff get paid well. They truly are the ambassadors of this corporation. For every interaction we initiated with staff, or that the staff initiated, we felt happier about being there.
I do plan on returning. And I’m looking forward to it. The problems we had were not enough to deter me from coming back. I just hope they are not repeated on any future trips.
I hope this review helps anyone. I know it will help me with future plans.
This was just an honest review of my experience.
I hope this did not read as a negative experience. I tried to keep notes and keep track.