My Disney World Review

This is a review of my personal experience.

  1.  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.

Mickey Mouse and Me

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43 thoughts on “My Disney World Review

  1. russtowne says:

    I’m sorry to hear your experience at the House of Mouse was so uneven and filled with so many disappointments. I doubt if I’d have given them such high ratings under the circumstances. I’m glad you still had a good time and will go back.

    • I thought about that Russ, but I think that because we had such a great time it made some of the things be quickly relegated to the back recesses of my mind, something to deal with later. I didn’t want the distractions to damper the trip. But they are still things that need paid attention to.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like a Mickey Mouse organization.

  3. OUT says:

    A Mickey Mouse organization

  4. So sorry to hear about your frustrating experiences. That is really a bummer when you pay good money to have a frustration free vacation experience. I hope the next time you all go it won’t have so many hiccups in it. How wonderful that you got to meet Mickey Mouse!! I’m jealous!

    • Thank you Priceless. It really was top heavy with frustrations. I was surprised at how many issues we had to deal with. The worst of it being having to wait around, and before hand I couldn’t tell you how many hours my husband spent on the phone. The time on the phone was resolving issues on Disney’s end. They kept sending us information that was wrong on our bookings and we had to keep calling and correcting them. But, what matters is we did have a good time despite all of that. 🙂

      • That is so sad! I think you all deserve a free trip to Disney for having to deal with all of that. I hope you do get a free trip for having to go through all those frustrations!

        • Well I wouldn’t turn down a free trip but I really just wanted to document this for future plans. And hopefully it will help other families planning for a trip. These trips are expensive. I had more tips for folks but maybe that is better for a different post. This one was pretty long. I was surprised at the amount of errors we encountered. It did seem like a lot. It took a lot of time from our first couple of days. If we had only been there a couple of days it would have really upset me more.

  5. Ocean Bream says:

    A very informative post, Colleen. I always said I would never want to go to Disney world; theme parks are my favourite, however, so maybe. Maybe. Either way, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, it pains a different picture, perhaps more realistic, than you would see elsewhere. Also, I loved the things you said about the staff. Staff carry the image of the company, and it’s great to be recognised for hard work. I’m sure a lot of people overlook the fact that Disney World runs so well due to its staff 😀

    • The staff are obviously trained very well and take their jobs seriously. I hope I thanked enough of them.

      Thank you for the feedback. I don’t ever recall doing a review before. I wanted to be thorough (I know it’s lengthy) and not typical to what we found when we looked for reviews. I could have put more in. But these were the things that I felt strongly about.

      I hope you go. It is a wonderful place. Unfortunately it has a gabillion people in a very small area so it takes patience. Which most people showed.

  6. ksbeth says:

    sorry it was such a challenge all along the way. the park sounds like it was very clean and that was a good thing. i’m glad that you all survived the mouse )

  7. Ann Koplow says:

    My appreciation for you and your blog is a 5 out of 5.

  8. This is a fantastic overview, Colleen. Sorry to hear about all your troubles. I am amazed staff kept their cool since they are human, after all. If they have to solve problems all day long, I wonder if there is a large staff turnover. Happy your stay, overall, was a blast. ❤ ❤ 😛

  9. Alba says:

    can’t understand the bed problem and the TP. That’s just weird and well… unexpected

    • It was weird and unexpected. I will say, I did not say anything about the bed. I didn’t expect they were going to pull in a new bed for me. But it was irritating. But livable. And the tp issue was pretty frustrating because it was so simple to resolve. Ah well. Still had a great time with family. 🙂

  10. maricelacorral says:

    Oh my goodness what a trip it sounds. I’m nervous now because my husband and I are planning a Disney trip and hopefully we don’t have the complications that you and your family went through. Thanks for the heads up and we all know how important family memories are and go through so much just for them.

    • Oh don’t be nervous!!! It will be a magnificent trip! Even with our troubles it was. We have been there once before and didn’t have these issues. Though they didn’t have magic bands then like they do now. If the magic bands are working it is fabulous. And no one else (go figure and I’m glad for this) seemed to be having these issues. If there are any problems just talk to the staff, they will do everything they can to help. Thank you for reading this. I hope this helped. Could things have gone smoother? Definitely. But, it was still an amazing trip. I promise. 🙂 I hope you write about your trip!

  11. bikebrown says:

    I know “It’s a small world”, but all the visitors aren’t. Please think about more legroom in at least some of the cars on each ride. Being older with bad knees made it impossible for me to ride some of the attractions.

  12. Wow. That was kind of you to give such a thorough review. It doesn’t surprise me at all that your interactions with other people are what made the trip great for you. You’re so good like that, with the loving people. I admire you for that. And another great Mickey drawing. 🙂

    • Oh thank you PIF. How kind of you. I think I made Mickey a little too buff!!! 😉 But it gives my message so there we have it. 🙂 I was torn about the review. I was so surprised leading up to the trip how much time was put into having to make sure everything was fixed. I really was shocked, given that much effort, that things went so haywire. But, if it helps in the future plannings, so be it. And the Disney staff….yeah, can’t say enough good about them.

  13. Debra says:

    I have several friends who have worked for Disneyland (SoCal) and they have very difficult jobs! The sheer volume of people brings on a level of problem-solving I wouldn’t want to address, at least not daily. I’m sorry your trip had so many issues. I would expect better considering all the pre-planning. Maybe next time come and give us a try in Anaheim. 🙂

    • I cannot imagine the volume of people. I was overwhelmed by who I saw in passing every day going in and out, and could only imagine the behind the scenes people.

      Wouldn’t it be wonderful to go to California and compare the trips? Sigh.

      I admit I became frustrated in the months leading up to to the trip for how much effort was put into making everything get fixed. So I was surprised at the amount of issues we dealt with once we got there.

      We really did have a fabulous time. Kudos to the family for making it so wonderful despite the issues.

      Like I told someone else, I hope to heaven they replace that bed in our room!!!! 😉

  14. This is the best, most informative review I have read. Thank you!

  15. Terrific review Colleen. Glad you enjoyed it despite the difficulties.

  16. […] I wrote a review of our recent Disney World trip. […]

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