Feedback offered to the staff of a world-class mouse-centered theme park in central Florida.
Although my family decided on a vacation with your primary competitor in Orlando, we were able and fortunate to spend a few days in the Magic Kingdom and Epcot as well.
I regret not picking up a few Great Service Fanatic cards and taking the time immediately to write. However, please offer the gratitude of the Hokie family from Syracuse, NY.
First, on Thursday (8/25). I required my family to experience the ultimate bit of nostalgia within an adventure ride, the Jungle Cruise. While this ride didn’t hold a lot of memories from my own childhood (it’s been 26 years since I’ve been on your properties), Weird Al Yankovic has done some great advertising on your behalf with his song, Skipper Dan. We were only briefly disappointed that our skipper was not Dan. My children, who had a low expectation of this ride – we should call it a show – enjoyed every moment of Skipper Patsy Jane’s monologue. The timing of her puns was spot on. My 16 year old daughter laughed heartily when Skipper Patsy pointed out the incredible flora, particularly the hibiscus, lobiscus, midbiscus, dogbiscus, and seabiscus. My family thinks that my puns are lame compared to those regaled to us by the silver-tongued and seemingly quick-witted Skipper Patsy.
Second, the cast members working with Mickey at Tony’s Restaurant for the autographs on the same day (at park opening) did really well to recover after an incident involving the family immediately in front of mine. Mickey was removed from the room and appeared to have debriefed with his handlers and then my family was permitted photos and autographs with him and then Tinker Bell. It took longer than planned, but your cast members responded well and appropriately.
Third, on Friday, my 14yo and I were building lightsabers (just a fun activity) in Mouse Gear when we were approached by ‘Matt the Jedi’ from the University of Maine. Matt helped us build the sabers and took some photos of my daughter and me (we opted not to purchase, telling Matt we were just browsing, and he encouraged us to have fun). We expressed concern about the wait time for Frozen Ever After and asked about our Fastpass+ to Mission Space and Soarin’, as we also wanted to meet Mulan in the World Showcase temple in China (the afternoon rain pushed the photos inside). Matt assured us that we could be up to ten minutes late for our Fastpass+ windows without losing our ability to use them and encouraged us to join the Orange Team for Mission Space for the complete experience of the attraction. We expressed to him some displeasure over the Ellen DeGeneres attraction focused on energy and the Stitch’s Great Escape (which my entire family experienced on the 25th). Matt confirmed that a lot of guests don’t care for either of these as there are far superior experiences in the parks. Matt advised us, regarding Frozen Ever After, to be there at the attraction entrance by 8:50 to be guaranteed a ride, though the sign and My Disney Experience app on our iPhones had the wait time at 105 minutes throughout much of the day. We followed Matt’s instructions and boarded our boat on the ride by 9:08pm. We also were a few minutes late to Soarin’ and had no problems experiencing this incredible attraction. Matt really did well. I should add that it seemed there were additional character meet and greets scheduled (Mulan and Aladdin) that should be included on the App.
Fourth, I met Al from Ft. Hood, Texas at the Refreshment Port between Canada in the World Showcase and Future World. Nice guy and he aspires to ultimately work in your IT department. He said he appreciated that I wanted to reuse my soda cup (because it was a large), but that you require fresh cups. However, instead of a small cup, he was kind enough to provide the same size I offered to reuse.
Fifth, my daughter and I did not have high hopes for the Agent P ‘game’ presented throughout the World Showcase. However, once she identified the display in the entrance to the pyramid in the Mexico area, she was thrilled at the experience. We played through Mexico, China, and Germany – we loved the yodeling steins in the gift shop in Germany!
Finally, my family has some dietary challenges for one of our children. While not technically an allergy, she has an inability to absorb fructose. Your food service cast members responded well to our questions and concerns throughout the park.
There were some negatives.
Although the water was ‘free’ for courtesy cups, my wife and I agree that it tended to taste like ‘hot dog water’. You know, the water that remains after boiling hot dogs in it.
Additionally, the Stitch’s Great Escape signage offered no indication that smells would be incorporated into the attraction. My wife experienced nausea for several hours due to the aroma of chili dogs.
Finally, between 8:25 and 8:30pm on 8/26, my 14yo was meeting Joy and Sadness from Inside Out. Evidently, and she told me immediately after meeting them, Sadness was in a hurry to get photos done and whispered to her, ‘let’s take the pictures already’. I didn’t hear it and, frankly, the fact that we weren’t moving more quickly was up to the handlers and photographer. While I was taking photos myself throughout the day of all the meet and greet experiences, I made it a point to tell the photographers that I would be letting them take their photos and managing mine around them – I know how challenging it can be to work around parents and flashing iPhones; I appreciate the work that your photographers do.
We weren’t sure how our daughters (16 and 14) would like the parks, their first time at WDW resort, and having been at DL in 2009. The challenge we have is that one would prefer to spend her time on your properties while the other with your competitor. I think we were able to spend ample time for each child in her favorite experiences.
Please thank Skipper Patsy, Al from Ft. Hood, and Matt the Jedi from the family from Syracuse and add this note accordingly to their HR files.
Thank you for reading all of this and making some dreams come true.