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Friends went to Disney...... but didn't enjoy it

Discussion in 'Walt Disney World' started by keith, Jun 14, 2012.

  1. keith
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    keith Camera nut Staff Member Administrator Forum Host

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    I guess I've read a few of these type of posts over the years.

    Early last year a colleague announced he and his then fiancee were going to get married in UK and go to Orlando for honeymoon. We started talking about Disney, universal and all the usual things.

    Of course I extolled the virtues of all the parks, especially EPCOT but in the end, after looking around and talking to people, they decided that they'd stay at a universal resort and only had one day to spare for Disney!

    In itself that was interesting. They showed me the different marketing materials and Disney was all about the kids, universal was much more young couple friendly whilst also managing to appeal to families. Universal had citywalk for the evenings, Disney had nothing.

    So in the end, it came down to one day at Disney. I said EPCOT but then they wanted to see the castle and the magic kingdom parade. Since park hopping has become expensive, they decided to do a whole day at the magic kingdom.

    I told them to buy and wear the just married mouse ears and get the badges from city hall which they did.

    Well by all accounts they had a very mediocre experience. Cost them just about $200 to get in for the day. It was totally packed out. The whole time, although other guests wished them well because of the ears/badges, not one of the cast members they met did and no one went out of their way to say hello to them.

    They had a reservation at crystal palace but in the event didnt feel like it so tried to cancel it. They were told they couldnt without paying $20 so they tried to offer it to the many people waiting who didn't have a reservation and were told off for doing that! In the end after an argument about that, they left because they wanted to see the shows.

    The light show was almost impossible to see because the crowds of people with kids on shoulders and it was hard to move around to get a better spot. Every time they moved someone would bump them or stand in their way or complain that they were moving (I think we've all been there!!!)

    They went to a cast member to ask if there was somewhere quieter for a second show, she said you just have to move around and live with it, its busy.

    They found everything really expensive and found the cast members bordering on rude or if not rude, very disinterested. There was certainly no fuss made of them there. They felt the rides and shows had seen better days when compared to the newer stuff at Universal.


    So all in all, a pretty poor experience.

    Now 15yrs ago, I never heard stories like this. If I recommended Disney people came back and thanked me for it! heck back when we were married there, we couldn't walk past a CM Without them saying congratulations and asking us all about it.

    Do you feel it's changed that much? What is it, the CMs not as interested any more? the Company itself? a more cynical society and a harder to please audience? False expectations because of people like me saying how great it is? :lol:

    Have you recommended Disney only to have people come back disappointed with it?
  2. Deafjeff
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    Deafjeff Serious Forum Regular

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    I often recommend people to try WDW once in their life time. Normally I recommend to stay on site to get an extra magical experience.

    Most of them came back saying that they understand why we go back often.

    I always explain that you either go and visit Orlando or going to see WDW as both are quite different holiday experience me think.


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  3. Britchick
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    Britchick Serious Forum Regular

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    I don't think so Keith, when it's busy it can be hell and if you haven't got the Disney bug then I can up understand how spending all that money would be a problem.
  4. Esmeralda
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    Esmeralda Serious Forum Regular

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    Maybe it's the turnover of staff? I have seen a difference in attitudes too since I first went to now. There are still those staff that are what Disney is all about but they do seem to be getting fewer and fewer :(
  5. Tink
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    Tink Cead Mille Failte! Staff Member Administrator

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    Well, I didn't like my first visit. It was a day trip on December 27 to the MK. I had NO IDEA how very busy it would be. I was astonished by the long lines, confused by all the talk of Disney friendliness when all I saw were overworked CMs who frowned and actually snarled at people, expensive prices for anything, and brats, brats, brats! :eek:

    So I do get what they were saying. I think it sometimes takes fresh eyes to point out the reality of things, instead of those of us who are so into Disney we don't see it clearly.

    Now, obviously I went back and had a totally different experience, and kept going.

    But, I will say from my perspective things have changed mightily. It's not as clean as it used to be, the CMs are not nearly as well trained, the prices are stupidly high for lower quality, the merchandise on offer is all generic and overpriced for it's quality, they've ruined dining, and I think it's completely asinine that a theme park charges people for changing their minds about meals!

    I know the other night the weather was HORRIBLE, terrible downpour and deadly lightning strikes every few seconds for over 2 hours. Cape May had 13 no shows in the thick of the worst of the storm. Those people are still going to be charged!

    I cling to my love of Disney, but cognitive dissonance is definitely a factor.

    I don't want to face the reality that WDW has changed markedly over the past 15 years, and I for one do not find it for the better. :(

    Sorry you asked now, aren't you? :(
  6. Kate
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    Kate Serious Forum Regular

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    I think crowds and money are the most off putting things!! Its just crazy expensive now to get into disney, once you get in there you find there are so many other people there that you spend so much time queuing - none of it seems worthwhile. The only time it doesnt seem so bad is if you have one of the 14/21 day tickets so that you dont have the pressure of doing things all in one day - we never buy one of those tickets and its only on our 4th visit that we didnt feel so pressured.
    Everything seems to be about money too, all the merchandise is expensive (and the prices still get me, i still expect to pay what the tag says and i get to the checkout and its more cus of tax - when will i remember that?!) and they want to ensure they dont miss out on money so now charge you to cancel meals with them!

    I can understand why your friend didnt stay onsite tbh, we never have and spend most of our time at US/IOA/SW etc - and we love it!
  7. Wendy
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    Wendy A hui hou kakou makuakane Staff Member Administrator

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    :yes: we've recommended it to friends and they have come back and not been impressed at all. I always feel bad now and if someone asks my opinion I tell them it isn't for everyone and explain my reasons.

    It has changed so much from when we first went, it was all I imagined it would be and more and when we came home I was comparing things to WDW for a while, how clean the toilets were, how friendly staff were etc.

    I have stayed onsite once at the Poly; I had always seen it from the monorail and said that I wanted to stay there one day. When the opportunity arrived and we went to check in, the bubble burst. We had a horrible room that overlooked the little car park on the side; it was dark and needed to be re-decorated. We were kept awake all night because of the family in the next room shouting and their kids screaming.

    The next morning Chris went and spoke to a cast member on reception and we were moved to another room which was much better. I'd heard stories of towel animals and other little things that happened, I made envelopes for housekeeping and left them on the dresser every day, I know you shouldn't expect it but we never did get a towel animal :lol: We came back to the room on 3 occasions and the door to the room hadn't been closed properly so we were able to just push it and walk in. The bathroom wasn't cleaned and all in all I was so disappointed I wanted to check out :sigh:

    We go back every year but we seem to spend less and less time at the parks, they aren't as clean as they used to be, the CMs are definitely less friendly, but there is always the exception to the rule and there are some really nice CMs as well.

    I used to love buying gifts for people that you could only get from each specific park, not you can get the same thing everywhere even DTD :(

    As for the dining aspect, I think Disney had to do something because of free dining people were booking 3 or more reservations for the same time on the same night. The deposit has stopped this to a certain extent, but again in the case of Cape May, if people had phoned and said it was because of the weather then I think Disney should have refunded their deposits.

    I don't know what the answer is, but it's certainly not the Disney I fell in love with anymore :sigh:
  8. foreverducky
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    foreverducky Addicted to Mickey

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    Is it bad to think, "one less person that won't be on HM when I want to"? :unsure:
  9. Wendy
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    Wendy A hui hou kakou makuakane Staff Member Administrator

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    :lol: well that's one way to think of it :lol:
  10. Esmeralda
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    Esmeralda Serious Forum Regular

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    Yes that's very bad, go and sit on the norty step and don't come off until I say you can....
  11. Sam
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    Sam Imagineer

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    I too can understand why perhaps your friends weren't too impressed. I think unless you are a Disney fan or you've got children it's not really the same.

    I love the parks but I must admit I wasn't too impressed with the customer service. I actually had a sercurity guard rip me to peices as we were going through the ticket barriers because I told my DD off for sulking. I didn't even raise my voice to her I just told her to behave herself or we were going home, I was not going to put up with her mood. To her credit she put on the smile and got over it but in the mean time this security guard shouted at me and told me that I was not welcome as Disney was a happy place and it no place to reprimand a child. My DH was shocked at the over reaction from the guy and started to laugh at him, I just told him to mind his own business and when I wanted his opinion on how to bring up my child I would ask for it. He just stormed off, I could understand if I'd been shouting and screaming at Megan but it was all very calm.

    Another instance was in Down Town Disney. I wanted to pay for an item in the Disney Store the two staff were busy having a chat and when they stopped and finally served me the young gentleman looked me up and down and said "yes"? with an attitude. I paid for my item and instead of him putting the change in my open hand he dropped it on the counter beside it. It was almost like he was fed up because I interupted their conversation. As someone who has run customer service training courses I was fuming. I did respond to him with the following comment "did you sue them"? his reply "sue who"? me "the customer service and charm school you went to as it didn't work".

    I also found the life guards at Blizzard Beach were rude too, the way they spoke to people was disgusting, they seemed to be on a power trip. If I had caught any of my lifeguards at my old club speaking to customers like that they would have been in my office for a long chat about how to treat people.

    To be honest I found Disneyland Paris staff far superior to Florida, they were friendly, helpful and the french lady in the shop at Davey Crocket remembered us everytime we went in and made a real effort to get to know us. Nothing was too much trouble and she was great at teaching the children french.

    Yes the parks are expensive as is the food and merchandise, but then again it's the same here if you go to Alton Towers, Warwick Castle etc.

    I still love Disney despite the price and staff. I don't expect great service from the staff and so I don't feel disappointed by them, we don't let them or the cost spoil our fun.
  12. DisneyFreak
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    DisneyFreak Serious Forum Regular

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    What I find odd is that they chose to go and stay at Universal because it was geared more toward younger couples, but the one day they decide to do Disney they go to the Magic Kingdom which is the most kid orientated park around. :doh2:

    I always tell people not to bother with Disney unless they go all in or are at least staying in the area for a good amount of time. I have heard more horror stories when people try to take in all of Disney in a mere 4-5 days.
  13. Britchick
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    Britchick Serious Forum Regular

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    the only thing i liked about the other parks was the Universal hotels and Discovery Cove, Harry Potter was good but apart from that i was a bit bored tbh. Could have been in Alton Towers. I wonder if the magic fading is about a natural progression, we've seen it and done it. Some people have been quite often and it's not enough to make you want to keep going? When we lived in SC we went 8 times in 3 years and i'd had enough for a while but we loved our trip last year, customer service was mostly good, i don't really like having too much attention. Most of the food that we had was good, not exceptional but fine for what we wanted. I like fine dining but not particularly bothered about it on holiday, i don't want to dress up and behave, the themed disney restaurants with their hustle and bustle and ability to not get dressed up suit me just fine. :wiggle:
  14. Tinkfan
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    Tinkfan Earning my ears

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    :thumbsdown:Do they charge a deposit for all reservations now? They didn't in December! I think the mistake most people make is not doing their homework when they go. It's almost like not being prepared for school or work. The parks are very confusuing when you don't know where you are or where you're going. If you don't stay on-site you miss the magic hours that reduce crowding. If you don't know where you are going to eat, you eat junk food or spend alot of time and effort to find something you like. You don't know when and how to use the fast pass and it's usually a train wreck so to speak
  15. Johnie
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    Johnie Budget Queen Forum Host

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    I absolutely do not understand people spending a ton of money on vacation and not doing even a little bit of research. Now I fully admit that I go to Disney and usually play it by ear. But I didn't do that for the first several times!!

    Anyway, either people get the magic and no explanation is necessary. Or they don't get it and you can talk until your blue in the face. But I do agree that you have to go all in to even get a feel for it.

    I haven't noticed rude CM's but I have noticed that prices have gone up tremendously. When they first started offering the free dining plan, we could go for over a week, stay at Pop, have the dining plan for 4 adults, 1 day tix for each and it was less than $1000. Now it's over $2000 and true you now have to buy 2 day tix for everyone but really. It's doubled in price!

    I also miss the fact that you could only get certain merchandise in certain places. I hate how the same stuff is everywhere. My biggest disappointment is probably the villains store in DHS. It really should be named The Nightmare Before Christmas Store :-(
  16. Wendy
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    Wendy A hui hou kakou makuakane Staff Member Administrator

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    That is my one big gripe :yes: I loved the exclusivity espcially when bringing back cuddlies for the children when the tag said Walt Disney World and not just plain old Disney Parks :sigh:
  17. catrancher
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    catrancher Assistant Cruise Director Forum Host

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    Yep. Me too! I used to collect polo style shirts when we went. It used to be a great game to find ones with specific logos on them. Got them for "Port Orleans Resort" (both Riverside and French Quarter), had one from the "Adventurers Club", and many others. Now, with the exception of a few places, all of them either say "Walt Disney World" or some such generic thing. Obviously cheaper to manufacture but nowhere near as enticing for the guests and souvenir hunters.

    Tom :)macwave:... they're breaking up that old DisneyWorld of mine!)
  18. Kate
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    Kate Serious Forum Regular

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    As someone who doesnt visit all the parks though, i find that its perfect that you can get all merchandise in all shops :yes:
  19. uscwest
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    uscwest Senior Cast Member

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    Tom I feel the same way. I too used buy them too.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2
  20. Tink
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    Tink Cead Mille Failte! Staff Member Administrator

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    OOooooerrrrrrrrr!!!!! Listen to her now! Yes, Miss! :salute:

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