This is the second of a two-part blog post. For part 1, click here!
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.
Disclaimer: This story has some content that is not for the weak of stomach. I’ve tried to eliminate unnecessary details… but you have been warned!
Story 2-A Rescue from Ft. Wilderness
A REALLY LONG Backstory: On one particular Disney trip in late 2013, we were excited to explore some experiences we never had before. We hadn’t previously set foot in Ft. Wilderness Campground, so we decided that one evening we would journey, by boat, from our Villa at Disney’s Bay Lake Tower over to the campground. At the time our boys were 5 and 3, so we wanted to experience the sing-along with Chip and Dale and catch the outdoor movie while we were there. It also seemed like a good idea to grab a bite to eat before heading over to all the fun.
A reservation was made ahead of time at Trail’s End restaurant (a pretty classic southern buffet) and we were ready for the evening! The food was pretty decent… about what you’d expect: Fried Chicken mashed potatoes, southern style veggies… and, of course, cornbread! We made our way through dinner leaving enough time to walk over to the sing-along… or so we thought.
So here’s a little lesson about Ft. Wilderness: it is VERY spread out. We assumed that most of the main attractions were all in the same main area. Wrong. The campfire singing with ol’ Chip and Dale is a good ways from the main hub of restaurants and shops. In fact, the best way to get there is by taking the internal bus system that runs around the campground. Even then, when you get off the bus, it’s a bit of a hike to make it over to the campfire/movie area.
By the time we arrived, Chip and Dale were wrapping things up and making their exit. Parent FAIL. But, we can save this! We can still do s’mores around the fire and take in some of the movie under the stars. Unfortunately, I could start to feel something spreading through our family that I like to call DISNEY EXHAUSTION. Take how you feel after a day of yard work, combine it with your energy level while crashing after eating too many carbs, throw in an early morning wake-up with no naps all day… and you will START to get a feeling of what Disney Exhaustion is like!
WE MUST BATTLE THROUGH. We’ve come too far!!!
So, we get our s’more kit and start roasting up some marshmallows. One treat goes down, then another (then one more for dad… don’t judge!)… and we grab a seat for the movie. Then I look over…
The 5 year old is not looking so hot. bah.. he probably just looks as tired as I feel.
A few minutes later… “Daddy, my tummy hurts”… Uh oh.
So daddy and son head off to find a restroom… It’s dark and we can barely see where we are going. We weren’t staying at the campground so having a flashlight was not on our packing list. Luckily there was a facility not far from the movie area.
So… fast forward. The Disney Son is not feeling better and we are standing on a gravel path… A long walk, a bus ride, another walk, a wait for a boat, the boat ride, and another walk to our room back at Bay Lake Tower… This was going to be an interesting journey home.
About that time, The Disney Son… “got sick”. Sorry, I’m not sure how else to say it.
The journey home just got even longer. Has he picked up a stomach bug? Will we need to get to a Doctor at some point? The brain was exhausted but working on fumes.
FINALLY to the actual point of the blog post…
Right about the point where we were feeling pretty helpless, some headlights come sailing past us. Then the sound of wheels stopping on gravel… Then the familiar “beep” of a golf cart going in reverse…
“Everything ok?” a voice called to us.
“Um… actually we are in a bit of a bind. This little guy is sick and we are a LONG way from our hotel.”
“Let me see if I can help.”
No words could have been more music to my ears. Our hero (the cast member) told the four of us to jump on the cart and hold on tight. He proceeded to swiftly steer the chariot (i mean, golf cart) back to the main area of Ft. Wilderness and park in the employee lot of the Trail’s End restaurant. Full circle, I know.
“Hold tight, I’ll be right back.” he said, quickly exiting the vehicle.
Meanwhile, The Disney Son is NOT looking any better, still leaving us concerned as to what was causing the ailment. Well… let’s just say, he let the Trail’s End parking lot know what he thought of the dinner there. (Sorry… I took a while to craft that sentence trying to make it as palatable as possible).
About that time, our Disney hero emerged from the employee entrance of the restaurant with cold ginger ale, and a couple of cool towels. He also brought out a little Buzz Lightyear light-up toy for our sick little-one… and also thought to bring a second toy for the 3 year old Disney son.
This man was a genius.
Not only that, but he arranged a private van to come pick us up and take us back to Bay Lake Tower.
“I’m sorry about the mess, sir” I said.
“No problem. We’ll have that cleaned up right away. Don’t worry about it.”
I thanked him profusely, tried every tactic I could to tip him, but he smiled and zoomed off, presumably to rescue someone else’s night.
After a 10 minute van ride, we were back at Bay Lake Tower heading up to our room just in time to get in PJ’s and watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks from our balcony. Talk about complete turn around!! As it turned out, the 5 year old Disney Son had just had a little too much late night sugar mixed in with his Disney Exhaustion. A good night’s rest and he was good as new the next day.
It was truly a night (and a Disney Cast Member) we won’t soon forget.
Oh… and the van driver gladly took his tip. 🙂
Do you have any great Disney stories? I’d LOVE to hear them. Let us know below in the comments!
This is the second of a two-part blog post on great experiences with a Disney CM. For part 1, click here!