This is the first in a two-part blog post… Be on the lookout for part 2 coming in the next few days!
You’ll often hear me lauding the quality of Disney Customer Service, and I’m not alone. Disney theme parks and resorts have been known for their superior treatment of guests for as long as they have been in existence. It’s true that there are negative experiences to be had, but they are usually hard to find.
I could name numerous accounts where Disney Cast Members were helpful, but two particular stories come to mind where CMs went above and beyond to take very negative situations and make them positive experiences we’ll never forget.
Story 1-A Baggage Blunder from The Disney Dad
Backstory: On this particular trip, a few years back, I was really getting the hang of Disney World vacationing. This was our second trip as Disney Vacation Club members and I had all my ducks in a row.
Dining reservations were all in place as much as 6 months ahead of time. Tickets were purchased and linked to My Disney Experience. Fastpass selections were made.. Flights booked.. packing checklist made. I was getting REALLY good at this.
Of course, an important part of the planning was booking Disney’s complementary shuttle service, Disney’s Magical Express from Orlando Airport (MCO) to our resort at The Wilderness Lodge. No problem… we had it all booked. One of the cool things about the Magical Express is that Disney even takes care of your checked bags for you. They send you special yellow tags to put on the bags and then when your bags arrive at MCO, Disney picks them up and transports them so that they arrive at your room without you lifting a finger!
The plan was perfect…
Everything went very smooth with our flight and we arrived in Orlando right on time. We made our way through the airport with a bee-line for The Magical Express pickup area. It’s so streamlined: You scan your magic band and a wonderful smiling person directs you to the proper queue to await your chariot to your new home for the duration of your stay.
“Ahhh… We are on VACATION..” I thought.
After a few minutes we were directed to the beautiful coach with big comfy seats and TVs that run content meant to get you all the more excited about the magic you’ll experience with your family. Could this be setting up to be the perfect week? No snafus or arguments for our family this whole trip? Could it be possible?
They must have been piping some strong pixie dust through the air system of that bus.
It wasn’t long before the shuttle pulled away from the airport and started on the 30-35 minute journey toward “Home”. We started to talk about what we would do the rest of the day, and even started planning toward the next day… The excitement was at an all-time high… I sat back, relaxed, and wanted to breathe in the moment…
And then, one very clear thought made the blood run out of my face:
I. Never. Put. The. Yellow. Tags. On. Our. Bags.
Goodbye peaceful, joyful, exciting moment. I could just picture our checked bags going around the carousel again and again. Who knows what would happen.. Stolen? Lost? Forgotten?
Immediately I was back into “work”mode. On my phone searching for any number I could find with regard to Southwest at Orlando Airport… or Baggage Claim at MCO. It took a few moments but eventually I had the Southwest Baggage desk phone ringing. After about 30 rings, someone answered who obviously spoke English as a second language (and that’s being generous).
I’m sure it was somewhat entertaining to the other passengers of the bus to hear me talking loudly into the phone as though the person on the other line was hard of hearing.
I described my predicament to them but they didn’t seem to care too much, or know what to do. Has this really never happened before? I’m the only idiot in the world who has committed this error? I told myself I’d better not answer my own question.
Another call to the Disney’s Magical Express customer service line found a person with better English, but they still sounded dumbfounded by the situation I was describing.
“But, what about our plans?” my mind raced. “Am I going to have to get back on a bus to the airport? Take another 2-3 hour bite out of our day and ruin the promises I made to the boys… with all of our luggage going who knows where? Not even Disney rookies make this mistake!!!”
By this point, we were arriving somewhere we had not been on Disney property before… Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. Stepping off the bus, I must admit, the beauty of the place helped me escape my blunder for a moment. If you never get around to staying there, you absolutely have to stop by for a meal, or just take in the incredible lobby for a few moments.
After appreciating the vast entrance for a second or two, I turned toward the front desk. I knew I needed some help from a Disney Cast Member.. ok, I needed more than help… I needed “Disney Magic”. A gentleman dressed as an old-school National Park Ranger was standing off to the side of the main check in area. Something about his unassuming posture told me he was the guy who might be able to help me.
“I. Need. Your. Help.” I said in about as sheepish a tone as I could muster. “I’ve made a pretty bone-headed move.”
“I’ll be glad to help if I can” he responded.
So, I explained to him the details of the situation… and he looked at me, eyes wide open, daunted at the idea of getting Southwest Baggage, Disney’s Magical Express, and The Wilderness Lodge all on the same page to get my bags back to me.
“Let’ do this: I’ll introduce you to someone who can get you checked in to your room. You all can go put your carry-ons down and then feel free to grab a bite if you’re hungry. I’ll take down your phone number and give you a call when I have an update.”
We thanked him profusely and proceeded to follow his instructions as we checked in and made our way to the room, grabbed a bite to eat, and eagerly awaited his call.
What happens next is probably the best part of the story… but probably the least dramatic. Our new friend at the Wilderness Lodge worked with every party involved to get our bags to our room within a few hours. All without us having to lift a finger or make another phone call.
As I always like to say, this particular CM took our problem on as his own. He solved it with the same concern as if those were his valuable items in those pieces of luggage. Another “This is why we come to Disney” moment we won’t soon forget.
On our next trip, we’ll be driving. All I have to do is make sure I get the bags in the car!! Wait… let me go write that down!
This is the first in a two-part blog post… For Part 2, click here!!