If you’ve hung around the Gazette long enough, you know we don’t do your typical trip report when we return back to our main office. Instead, we like to highlight a few positives and call attention to a few areas that are in need of, shall we say, an improvement or refurbishment. We call it The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, and The Magical. It’s been a while since we hit Walt Disney World in the high summer season, and it gave us some new and unique perspectives. So let’s see what we found!
The Good – Corey the Cast Member
Our first Cast Member interaction of the trip was far and away the best of the trip, and deserves some recognition. Corey was the Cast Member who walked us through registration at Fort Wilderness. On a typical trip this would have been a very brief, “yes, we know the drill” process. On this trip, however, there were a lot of intangibles, questions, additions, and curveballs that my traveling party had to throw at him. Corey handled each one with insight, expertise, and enough humor to keep the natives from getting restless. I’m not sure exactly how much of his time we ate up, but I know that he made it fly by and should be held up as an example of how to create an awesome beginning to any guest’s Walt Disney World adventure!
The Bad – Fastpass Wait Times
I wanted to chalk this up to the fact that it was midsummer and everyone and their cousins were visiting the parks. I wanted to, but I just can’t. Fastpass lines that take more time than the posted wait time for the Stand-By line are just unacceptable. This seems to become a problem as you get later into the afternoon and evenings than in the early morning, and I do understand that Fastpass is only meant to give guests a line that is “little to no wait,” not a walk-on. When you have to have Cast Members out with signs at the end of a line saying that this is where the Fastpass line starts, and I’m talking a Cast Member on the Splash Mountain bridge for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, there is a problem. Since I can’t in good faith chalk it up to midsummer vacationers, let’s hope that this is just a bug in the new MyMagic+ system that will get worked out in time.
The Ugly – Oh, the Humanity
Perhaps that should have read the lack of humanity. The last week of July saw crowds I rarely see in the Magic Kingdom, although the other parks seemed to be about what I expected. The sea of people filled walkways from wall to wall leaving barely any room to breathe, but I generally find at Walt Disney World most people know that everyone is trying their best to have a good time and there is a certain level of respect and camaraderie that forms, especially in the longer lines.
What I saw last week truly turned my stomach. Fighting, yelling, running into with strollers, pushing and cutting through lines when there was no one they were trying to reach, and more was enough for me to be ashamed that these were my fellow vacationers. There were a few bright spots, but they were few and far between and most often left me observing attitudes akin to “what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine.” It was disgraceful, and I hope it was only a one-time event that came out of high crowds, hot temperatures, and a ton of rain.
The Magical – Best On-Ride Photo/Video Ever!
Okay, I’m going to leave you with a great story to brighten your day, although I’m not sharing the picture to prove it.
Fastpasses for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train are at a premium, but I was able to book a set for the first afternoon of our trip. My father groused about the attraction all day. It isn’t fast enough. It’s not really a rollercoaster. It’s too short. These lines and complaint like them were on a repeat loop all day.
Fastpass time arrives and we get in our mine cars. A few hills and banking turns later and my father’s hat, one of his favorites I might add, was whipped off of his head. We all crack-up and, since he had been so grumbly all day and had lost the hat on the Mine Train, we made him get a Grumpy hat to replace the one he had lost. (He would eventually retrieve his hat from lost and found a few days later.)
That night while we are all were reliving our highlight of the day I pulled up all of our PhotoPass photos. There, in all of its glory, was our on-ride photo. Front and center is my dad, reaching behind his head, trying to catch the hat that is mid-flight from coming off. The video from the attraction is even better, showing the entire scene play out as he goes from realization, to panicked grab, to the hat disappearing. We couldn’t believe it, we were all in tears we were laughing so hard. Suffice it to say, this photo is on its way to live at my house in a place of infamy.
It just goes to show you, you grump at Walt Disney World and Walt Disney World will grump at you!