WORSE? - Trip Report October 11-19

[Clark] “WORSE”? “How could they get any worse”? “Take a look around you Ellen, we’re at the threshold of Hell”.

Background

There were 3 parties in this trip. Myself (LA) & CA, son NA and his fiancé DS, and son BA. All are over 25 years old. Each party had a separate My Disney Experience account.

We stayed at 3 resorts (POP Century for 1 night, Polynesian Village for 4 nights and Animal Kingdom Lodge (Jambo House) for 3 nights, for a total of 9 resort reservations and 7 nights of dining plan for everyone. I’ve been going to Disney world since 1976, and all others except DS have been multiple times in the past.

Pre Trip

I had a feeling that something was wrong approximately a week before our departure. BA decided to add a reservation to his account and to do so applied a credit card and PIN to his account. Two nights later, I made an Advance Dinner Reservation and noticed that the credit card number on my account had changed to BA’s credit card number. I spent around 90 minutes on the phone with Disney IT and was told that everything had been corrected.

Friday Evening 10.11

We arrived at POP Century and went through the check-in process. BA’s magic band wouldn’t open his room.

Back we went to the front desk and stood in line again. The head CM at the front desk pecked away at a computer for awhile and said the she found the problem. But BA’s magic band still didn’t work so we went back to the front desk and stood in line again. The head CM pecked away some more and finally declared that this exceeded her capability to diagnose and gave us temporary card to use. She kept BA’s magic band and was going to get IT involved, verify the magic band was work properly, and leave it in BA’s room.

We went to Raglan Road, where the hostess griped that were late. Our recounting of the hour and a half struggle to get BA into his room drew no sympathy and we waited an additional 30 minutes before being seated.

(OPTION) Everyone enjoyed their dinner at Raglan Road. Unfortunately we were not seated in the main room and were unable to watch the entertainment. The venue is rather loud and not a place to go if you want to talk during the meal.

When we got back to POP Century, BA’s temporary card no longer worked and his magic band was now locked in his room. We went back to the front desk again, stood in line and eventually talked to the Night Manager. I commented that there is obviously an unintended connection between LA/CA’s and BA’s accounts and that IT should to do a complete review of the accounts to get this resolved but received no response. A runner let BA into his room and he verified that the magic band would now unlock the door.

(OPINION) The rooms at POP Century were much nicer than I expected and I was impressed with the setup of the bathroom and the sliding privacy door. The room easily accommodates a party of 2 but the Murphy bed may represent a bit of a challenge for a party of 4 (2 adults and 2 teens).

Saturday 10.12

All three parties did an Online Checking for the Polynesian, arranged for baggage transfers and we took a bus to the Magic Kingdom and a boat ride to the Polynesian.

(FACT) To get between the bus drop off point at the Magic Kingdom and the motor launch dock, you now have to clear Disney security.

(FACT) If you enter the Polynesian Long House from the boat dock, turn right and climb the stairs you are at Ohana. What you don’t realize is that there is a separate check-in for the restaurant on the other side of the 2nd floor lobby.

When we finished eating breakfast at Ohana the waitress announced that none of us had a dining plan. So NA, BA and I went to the Polynesian reception desk, and found out that Online Check-In doesn’t activate your dining plan. BA completed a full fledge check-in after which my PIN didn’t work. Another 30 minutes went by while the CM at the registration desk pecked away at the computer and ultimately called IT for assistance.

(OPINION) Breakfast at Ohana for 5 adults is … mediocre.

On our way to the Magic Kingdom my cell phone sounded an MDE notification. Our first attraction, Splash, was down and everyone received an Anytime, Any Attraction Fast Pass for the day.

The rest of the day fell in place including a really good dinner at Narcoosee and a Magic Kingdom Desert Party.

(OPINION) The view of the fireworks from the Terrace Garden was very good but the parties are now oversold and rather crowed. The escalating price makes its overall value questionable.

We got back to our rooms at the Polynesian and our luggage isn’t there. There is however a package from Amazon for CA. I called Baggage Services and was told that they don’t deliver luggage without someone being in the room to receive it. After 45 minutes Baggage Services delivered the luggage.

(FACT) I have done a number of split stays and baggage transfers in the past and have never run into this policy before.

Sunday 10.13

We arrived at Pirates of the Caribbean to use a FastPass and the CM declared that our FastPasses were not legitimate. I showed her my plan on MDE which did not dissuade her pontification. I finally had to give an ultimatum of either letting us on the attraction or producing a manager, and the CM decided to yield.

During brunch at the California Grill, BA received an email that his FastPasses for Friday the 18th were pending deletion. I knew that this meant that there was something amiss with BA’s room reservation at the Animal Kingdom Lodge.

(OPINION) Sunday’s Brunch at the California Grill was a highlight for me. The service was very good and the food was excellently prepared and presented.

During our afternoon break, CA and I went down to the Polynesian front desk to try and resolve the pending deletion of BA’s FastPasses. The CM at the front desk had a major case of indifference and wasn’t being very helpful. CA launched into a monolog on customer service and reminded him of who was the guest in the conversation. The CM pecked away at his computer for awhile and indicated that all was now well.

(OPINION) That evening we took in EPCOT forever. The show started of a bit slow and gave every indication that it was going to be just a low and medium altitude fireworks display. Things picked up when a number of small watercraft entered the lagoon towing illuminated kites and began crisscrossing maneuvers in concert with the continuing fireworks and music. Everything is done in clusters around the lagoon which provides a large number of good viewing positions. We really enjoyed the show.

When we got back to the Polynesian I decided to claim my resort mug. An IT tech was performing maintenance on all of the POS terminals but took a moment to read my magic band. “Sorry” they said, “You don’t have any available mug credits”. CA and I headed for the front desk and stood in yet another line. Our conversation with the CM at the front desk wasn’t getting anywhere positive at which point CA said in a voice that carried the whole lobby “Well maybe we need to discuss canceling this trip and getting a full refund”. The CM began another session of pecking and pondering.

Monday 10.14

I caught up with everyone at 1900 Park Fare to find out that CA is now linked to BA’s account, is classified as an infant and has no charge privileges. CA opened a Chat session with the IT help desk that ran continuously for the remainder of the day.

We finally got into the Magic Kingdom and were about to tap into the Haunted Mansion when a CM put up the chain and announced that the attraction is down. We had already planned for the high crowd level (this was Columbus Day) so we used the replacement FastPasses from Haunted Mansion to take in Buzz Lightyear and headed back to the rooms to relax.

CA and I stopped by the Pineapple Lanai and my PIN number no longer worked. I must have looked so despondent that the CM gave me the Dole Whip without the PIN code. We checked with the front desk to see if I needed to reset my PIN and they decide to give me another magic band and I set/reset the PIN. I never did use that magic band.

BA decided to check his credit card transactions and found that several extra deposit holds had appeared. The line for the Polynesian reception desk was 10 parties deep so we decided to head off for dinner.

The running chat with IT continued thru dinner and at 10:30 PM they announced that LA/CA’s and BA’s account were so corrupted from all the pecking and poking that had transpired and the only recourse was to delete both accounts and rebuild them. We switched over to voice and started down the slippery slope.

After minutes of silence punctuated by a lot of whispering, IT said that they couldn’t get things to work so they now needed me to create a new account with a new email address. I scrambled around, created a new email address and a new MDE account and handed it off to IT. A few more minutes of whispering went on and then silence. A silence that continued for 45 minutes before IT got back on the line and said that they needed to work on it over night and things should be ready in the morning (that’s IT speak for we don’t know what we are going to do).

Tuesday 10.15

We woke up and LA and BA’s accounts have no FastPasses, no ADRs and no pictures. So we place another call to IT, who dropped on some EPCOT Any Attraction, Any Time FastPasses to get our day started.

Our day at EPCOT was uneventful and we headed back to our rooms to clean up before our dinner at Citricos and an evening a MNNSHP.

(OPINION) The visual impact of EPCOT is severely dampened by all the construction barriers but the anticipated improvements should outweigh the short term inconvenience. I feel sad for anyone whose only visit to EPCOT will be during this construction phase.

Dinner at Citricos went nicely up until the waitress attempted to charge the meal against our dining plans and came back with BA didn’t have any Dining Plan credits left. Now to be fair, the waitress was very astute, had done the research and determined that BA had been inadvertently charged for some of LA and/or CAs meals leaving LA/CA extra credits that would covered BA’s dinner. Fortunately we were all together that evening which made the resolution painless, otherwise it would have been another trip to the reception desk, and the inevitable waiting line.

(OPINION) Our waitress at Citricos was impeccable, an immense pleasure to interact with and well versed in all things WDW. The environment was pleasing and the food was equally well prepared. In retrospect I don’t know why I waited so many years to eat there.

We took in several of the headliners attractions during MNSSHP and took up a place to view the fireworks about 30 minutes before show time. At 5 minutes before show time a CM came along with a role of masking tape a declared that where we standing is now going to be a walk way. There was no apology, no offer of alternate place to stand.

[RANT] You would think after this many preparations for a MNSSHP that walkways would be marked off sooner than 5 minutes before show time.

[RANT] I noticed that there were charges on our accounts for accepting Amazon deliveries. That in itself is fare enough. However if luggage arriving via Disney Magical Express appears in your room without anyone being present, and Amazon deliveries appear in your room without anyone present, why aren’t your bags delivered to your room during a resort to resort transfer without someone present?

(OPINION) I find myself having to side with @mousematt regarding the Polynesian. It definitely gives the appearance of being old and tired. The lobby is mere shadow of what it once was and is not at all impressive. Everything is in need of a facelift and a signature restaurant is sorely missing. Even the staff seems a bit apathetic and perhaps is resting on their past laurels. While I have always placed a value on the transportation options at the Polynesian, I am now more inclined to stay at a lower cost resort and apply the savings to Minnie Vans or Uber to make up for the loss of those transportation options.

Wednesday 10.16

We checked out of the Polynesian and sent our bags over to the Animal Kingdom Lodge. I noticed that LA and BA’s folio numbers had changed in mid stay. It turns out the along the way our resort reservations were deleted and recreated which explained the multiple deposit holds on BA’s credit card. I can only surmise that the re-creation of the reservations was responsible for some of the other account anomalies we faced.

The reception desk at the Animal Kingdom was well staffed and the check-in process was quick and the staff was eager to answer our questions and provide assistance.

(FACT) If you are doing a split-stay with a dining plan associated with each stay, you can ask to have any left over credits from the first dining plan transferred into the second dining plan.

Our photos were still not visible on our accounts but IT called to say there were working with the Photo Pass group to get them put back in place.

We arrived at Flight of Passage and found out that our Any Attraction, Any Time Fastpasses were not issued for the Animal Kingdom. It took a while but a Head CM at the FastPass entrance was able to fix up the day’s FastPasses for us.

(WARNING) If you are the least bit sensitive to Virtual Reality rides then Flight of Passage is not for you. I have piloted aircraft in zero visibility under some fairly nasty conditions but I wound up tumbling into vertigo on this ride.

(OPINION) The Festival of the Lion King Dining Package was a very good experience and floor level seating for the show gave it a whole new perspective. I would highly recommend the package to anyone.

(OPINION) As good as the Lion King was, I found Finding Nemo to even better and in my mind it is the best production at WDW.

We topped off the day with dinner at the California Grill timed to give us a view of the fireworks. I was worried when we arrived at the elevator in the lobby and there was a huge line of people waiting for a ride up to the restaurant. Fortunately those with a dinner reservation get priority. Spoiler Alert: Viewing the show from the California Grill makes it apparent just how far away from the Castle the fireworks are set off and diminishes the illusion you get when viewed from Main Street.

When we got back to our rooms, again our bags were not there and we had to wait for baggage services to deliver them. So apparently the policy of needing to have someone present in the room covers all resorts

Thursday 10.17

I stopped at the snack bar to grab some items for the group and still couldn’t charge anything. We also didn’t have any Hollywood Studios FastPasses on our MDE accounts for the day so CA got another chat session going with IT to get that resolved and BA found another double set of deposit holds on his credit card.

After fussing around an hour or so we were finally on our way to Hollywood Studios. Despite all the trepidations we had about the increased crowd levels at the park the day went reasonably well and we were able to manage the crowd level.

We ended the day with a late dinner at Jiko and enjoyed a number of the unusual menu items. The waiter was a consummate Foodie and we talked for quite awhile about offerings throughout the resort and the Animal Kingdom.

(RANT) At this point in the trip we were all getting tired being run into by people on ECVs. At one point I was asked to move from where I was standing because the person wanted to parked their ECV there, only to watch them dismount and walk away as fast as any able bodied person could. I don’t think it is unreasonable to say that a significant number of the ECVs are being used for convenience and not a disability.

Friday 10.18

Finally on the last day of the trip there were no MDE issues. Well I still couldn’t charge anything, but I had resigned my self to the fact. We had a running joke going if the next FastPass was going to work or not, and used the day to makeup some things that we missed out on during the first part of the trip.

(OPINION) Everyone really enjoyed the view of the Savanna from the rooms. We had a beautiful sunrise each morning and the animals were varied and plentiful. Our hats are off to all the Imagineers for the fantastic job they did creating this experience.

Summary

At the end of the trip, unlike in Christmas Vacation, there was no celebrating.

I wish I could tell you what was the root cause of all this. I do know that if on the way in from the airport you get an MDE notification to delete the app and then to reinstall it, my advice would be to turn around and go home.

The expenses and planning time that went into this trip are inconsequential compared to the lost opportunity which I probably will never be able to recreate again. Perhaps the saddest thing is the loss of faith I have in Disney being able to provide a magical vacation.

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Whilst we didn’t have it half as bad as you have (sorry you had so many poor experiences!), I agree with the basic point that once your MDE account has a problem, it’s probably not going to get sorted no matter how many times you try.

We had a split-stay at Pop, and despite giving a credit card at check-in, first both Magicbands stopped charging (and CS then advised they had “lost” the card details), and even though mine got fixed after a few phone calls and desk visits, my OH’s remained not working, and then allegedly working but not with the PIN she had set (and reset via the app), so still useless.

This continued until the end of the trip - to be fair, she did get a free Mickey ice cream on her birthday when her MB still didn’t work and she nearly burst into tears. They do what they can for CS but if the technology breaks down they seem a bit powerless…

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This might be the worst vacation experience i have ever read. I’d be so consumed with remorse over ever booking that trip. And as only a medium-level WDW fan, is probably never return.

I’m so very sorry.

This is just not true at all. This feels like a lie they told you to account for the trouble

This has been my experience as well. We have always had to call upon return.

Holy cow! :open_mouth:

Wow. I don’t even know how you kept it together by this point.

No fair. You never know what someone is dealing with long term that may not be apparent in the 30s you meet them.

I would send a letter saying this. I don’t typically find cause enough with errors to warrant significant compensation of some sort but for you to have trouble with your account the entire trip and to have to go to the desk, make calls, and carry on a running online chat with help desk and guest services is just inexcusable. I feel so badly for you and your family that this is how things went. I am impressed as I said that you kept it together for the duration.

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I can’t even believe how many things went wrong, that is ridiculous. I’m sorry you had to deal with all that.

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MDE has been the biggest cause of my WDW stress by far.

When it works, it’s really terrific. But when it doesn’t, it’s a massive nightmare that often not even Disney can solve.

I have set up a fresh MDE for next summer’s trip because my current one has too often been frustrating. Needless to say, to spite me it has been functioning extremely well recently, perhaps in the hope that I won’t abandon it after all. For the first time ever it let me do online check-in this week. Though it still won’t let me order premium magic bands.

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Wow!! What a trip. I’m not one to complain, but I’d write a long email including all
Of this. I think you deserve something for time loss.

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I wonder what they could do.
They likely won’t refund, would they?
A discount on a future trip? Pft. I’d never go back! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I’m so sorry this happened to you. Beyond awful. This would be enough never to go back again (I wouldn’t).

In my experience with customer service, you should definitely escalate this to management, quantify in $$ how much money you spent on the vacation and your loss, and tell them that your hard earned dollars will go to Universal next time. While you’re at it, remind them about all the PR issues they’ve had (Skyliner, SGE) and adding awful experiences like this ones could potentially go viral because this was a comedy of errors where you were the main character.

This will work, good luck if you are looking for some compensation/credit.

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Their response is generally a couple of nights free on a return trip (voucher type). It goes through Disney wholesale and you can usually add additional nights at 40% off. In my experience they prefer that option to just apologizing when they mess up reservations or provide poor customer service .

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Well, true. Especially if they had to
Fly to get there. If I could drive back for a redo I might consider it.

But a voucher is probably what they would get.

Feel bad for OP! Your Christmas Vacation quote is spot on. I would have been in tears.

Just restating what everyone else said, but this reallllly stinks. If that’s all true, I would have lost it really early.

Do people recommend just putting large parties under one account to avoid this occurring?

Woof. I am so sorry for the frustration you went through. I probably would have lost my sh*t at some point & gone Hulk on someone. You kept it together. Please get in touch with management & share all of this. I hope you did find some magical moments amidst the IT troubles.

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Holy crap!! I’m so sorry you had such an experience.

IT completely failed you. After reading your report the immediate and clear solution they SHOULD have recommended is you should create a new account and then put everyone on the same account and then IT would transfer all items over and then given you custom MBs (all loaded and tied to your new account) for your trouble. The only thing you’d “lose” is the ability to use the new MBs on future trips and all the photos are now tied to that new account (easily dealt with and downloadable once you get home). This would have likely fixed EVERYTHING.

From here, I have a feeling everything failed because of all the completely separate MDE accounts using the same information. Same Hotel, dining plans, and FPPs. Just different personal info. From a computer’s perspective, that looks very confusing and it doesn’t know who to assign the credentials to. It looks like an error that several reservations are trying to encroach on one another. So it just gives up and assign to no one. The fact that more of you weren’t having issues with the room key is a downright miracle.

I am one to roll with pretty much everything, but it seems to me there was a very easy solution no one wanted to do on Disney’s side and as such straight up ruined your vacation. I definitely would contact and relay all this to Customer Relations.

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I would too! What would really get me is the indifference of CMs. Often it is not WHAT is being said, but HOW it is said is the most upsetting.

Definitely contact the Customer Relations! Hopefully they will provide compensation that is adequate to your lost time and ruined magic.

Hopefully MDE development team can also learn something from such a case and make modifications to spare another family from such a horrible experience.

I don’t know how you maintained any kind of a positive attitude. All those problems would have ruined the trip for me. I hope you sent a detailed letter to Disney explaining all the problems you encountered.

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I am sorry to read all of this. I too would have lost it having to spend so much time at the front desks and on the phone. Please email them with all of this info- I would hope there would be some major compensation. Sorry this happened to you.

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Wow. I want to like your post as it was quite well written but oh my gosh, all those issues you encountered. A Disney newbie would be one and done with that experience.

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It’s a trap!

I’m with @JDAdams and @linsalt on this- once you see problems with the MDE, it might be better to start all over again if you can.

Yes. I’d read enough about linked MDE malfunctions before our trip that I wouldn’t let my adult kids have their own accounts (it was easier for me as I was paying for all of it anyway). But this seems to be the only solution. Disney IT should have done this, if not with the first hiccup then with the second, or the third, or the…

Having said that, if Disney has linked MDEs as an option, then it should work. Period.

All I can say is the OP and family have the patience of a saint. And what a horrible thing to have happen. Although I agree with writing Disney, if all they offer is some comped nights, I’m not sure I’d take them up on it. Unforgiveable, is what this is.

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