Disney is a pretty massive company, and that means they’re constantly making big decisions — especially right now.
These decisions are ESPECIALLY controversial when it comes to the theme parks. With the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World coming next year and the global health crisis causing unprecedented changes, it can be easy to feel a little (or a LOT) mad at how Disney is handling things. We’re taking a look at some things you SHOULDN’T be mad at Disney for…and some things you maybe SHOULD!
Things you SHOULDN’T be mad about…
Sometimes, even though an action is inconvenient, Disney has chosen to take them for the greater good. Let’s take a look at some of the recent things that have some Disney fans up in arms and why we shouldn’t be so mad.
1. Temperature Checks
Temperature checks are definitely a new thing when it comes to getting into the theme parks, and lots of people have some valid concerns! Is this going to make it take longer to get in? What if it doesn’t catch everyone who’s infected? What if I register a high temperature just because of the Florida heat?
Well, don’t worry TOO much. We’ve already had a chance to experience temperature checks with the reopening of Disney Springs and Universal Studios and it’s actually a super quick process. It’s WAY faster than any of the bag checks we’ve done in Disney World.
When it’s your turn, it takes seconds for the thermometer to get a reading and, if you’re under 100.4 degrees, you’re on your way in no time.
And, yes, temperature checks may not catch asymptomatic carriers, but it will catch those who are showing symptoms, and there isn’t a negative affect on most guests for having to go through the temperatures checks.
You don’t need to be too concerned about false positives either. Disney has taken the heat into account and is offering a cool down tent for anyone who registers a little hot. After some cooling off, you test again. Then they KNOW whether it’s a fever or just a warm day. If your temp is too high, you and your party will be denied entry.
This process is certainly new for all of us, but it really wasn’t the inconvenience many thought it would be.
2. Canceling Dining Reservations and the Disney Dining Plan
This one has DEFINITELY gotten people to be grumpier than, well, Grumpy! Disney World recently canceled all upcoming Advance Dining Reservations and Disney Dining Plan packages until further notice. These offerings will come back at some point, but for now, many guests who spent hours planning and booking their dining reservations are out of luck!
It’s certainly disappointing to have gotten up early half a year out from your trip to snag the perfect Cinderella’s Royal Table reservation only to have it snatched away.
But we’ve gotta keep in mind that the way the parks will work once they reopen is going to change significantly. Cinderella’s Royal Table is a character meal and might not even be open (it isn’t included in the current list of Disney World restaurants that will be reopening with the parks)! It wouldn’t be fair to you to let you keep those plans not knowing if they will even be available to you!
Plus, with the park capacity limitations and social distancing measures in restaurants, there is likely no way that Disney will be able to accommodate the original number of reservations. Disney doesn’t want to promise guests on the Dining Plan a certain number of table service meals if they can’t reliably guarantee that in return.
The only fair thing to do is to clear the system so that everyone is on equal ground with the new processes, whatever they may be. Plus, Disney IS accommodating those with canceled reservations. They may get priority to rebook when reservations open up again and some with canceled Dining Plans are getting a steep 35% discount on their vacation packages as compensation for the inconvenience.
3. Suspending FastPass+
Similar to the dining cancellations, Disney World has currently suspended the FastPass+ system until further notice. At first glance, this definitely seems like something to be upset about, especially if you’d snagged a coveted Flight of Passage or Seven Dwarfs Mine Train FastPass.
But, just like with the dining reservations, limited park capacity and social distancing throws a wrench in the plans. Currently, Disney World plans to use the FastPass queue lines as part of their social distancing protocol.
Also, with capacity in the parks significantly limited, wait times may be low on their own. Disney CEO Bob Chapek even mentioned how magical the day will be for those in the park. There possibly won’t be a need for FastPass at many attractions.
With physical distancing being such a priority, Disney seems to be working on the plan to let guests access attractions safely, and using the FastPass queue is part of it.
4. Canceling Reservations a Little Bit at a Time
Now that Disney World has announced their reopening dates, it can be easy to feel a little miffed about how Disney canceled reservations a little bit at a time instead of outright. Why would they lead us on thinking our June vacations were a go?
Well, Disney likely didn’t know when they would land on an opening date. Since things were changing (and tbh still ARE changing) day by day, taking things slowly and one week at a time gave Disney the most opportunity to be faithful to guests’ original plans.
By canceling reservations week by week instead of canceling months at a time, they gave guests the most possible potential of taking their vacation as desired.
5. Constant Construction
And finally, we have one that folks ALWAYS tend to be mad at and probably shouldn’t be! It certainly can feel like Disney World is CONSTANTLY under construction — and that’s because it kind of is! This can be frustrating since there are always construction barriers SOMEWHERE, which can feel a little disruptive to the magic.
BUT, sometimes ya just gotta simmer down. After all, the reason there’s always construction is that there’s always something new coming soon! Disney does a fairly good job at keeping construction non-obstructive too. It’s just a side effect of a classic Walt Disney ideal — “Keep moving forward!” That eyesore or inconvenience now might be your favorite addition ever down the road!
Things you SHOULD be mad about…
On the other hand, there are a few things that you definitely have grounds to be frustrated about. Disney isn’t faultless, and a few of their recent decisions and mistakes have really ground our gears.
1. Not Having a New Reservation System Ready to Go
First up, Disney recently announced the reopening plan including a new theme park reservation system that would be required to access the theme parks. Then…nothing. Crickets.
After waiting and waiting (not so easy for folks biting their nails to see if they should cancel that flight to Orlando because they have no clue if they can even get IN to the Disney theme parks!), we were told the system was opening up just THREE DAYS before it actually did.
And once it did open? Glitches, website slowness, and frustrated guests were the name of the game! For something as crucial to guests as this reservation system that is needed to enter the parks, many hoped that Disney would have taken the extra time they gave themselves to make sure the website and system were airtight. That just wasn’t what happened initially.
Eventually the system leveled out where guests could access it (instead of sitting in a virtual queue for 5 hours!) but there has still been frustration as to why hotel guests, Annual Passholders, and regular admission ticket holders have such a drastic difference in park access availability. Even a week later, many guests are still scratching their heads wondering why Passholders are “sold out” of certain parks on certain days, but other groups of guests are not. The whole system felt poorly communicated to guests and poorly rolled out.
2. Not Having Available Phone Lines To Accommodate Guests’ Needs
When the Park Pass Reservation system went haywire, so did Disney’s phone lines. Because guests couldn’t get issues sorted out online (many of the problems had to do with back-end ticket issues, which had to be managed by Disney’s IT professionals), phone lines were so overwhelmed that guests literally couldn’t even get Disney to pick up the phone.
Our team had to redial the Disney phone number for an entire hour before the call was picked up. And then we were placed into hold queues that varied from two to four hours each. Even days after the launch, guests were still in for a multi-hour experience just to get to a Disney telephone representative to change their hotel reservations, manage dining reservations, or help with park pass issues. That’s not OK.
3. Frequent ShopDisney Debacles
This next one shouldn’t come as TOO much of a surprise after the Park Pass mess. We’re talking website troubles on shopDisney this time!! ShopDisney is starting to be NOTORIOUS for having major technical difficulties EVERY TIME they release something high-demand or limited edition. ShopDisney has introduced a new virtual queue system for big releases that pretty much leaves guests feeling stranded and unable to access new limited-time merchandise.
The most recent problems came with the May release of The Enchanted Tiki Room Minnie Mouse: The Main Attraction line and the Star Wars Day sale before that. In some cases, the site glitches while folks have merch in their carts, and in many cases, the items are sold out within minutes before guests can even click “buy.” Disney certainly has work to do on its shopping platform when it comes to limited-edition merch!
So there are definitely some things that we need to simmer down a bit about, but others for which we think we’re TOTALLY justified in feeling a little (or a LOT of) frustration.
That said, here at DFB we’re doing our best to keep you updated on Disney’s latest information, translating it as best we can so that it makes sense and you’re able to apply it to your current vacation plans. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask them. We’re looking at those FAQs, asking Disney for clarification, and working them into posts here on DFB so that we can answer as many questions as possible.
As always, keep an eye on DFB for news updates about all of these situations!
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What do you think we shouldn’t be mad at Disney about? Tell us in the comments!