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We arrived in Orlando on April 9th with our 1st day in Epcot starting Thursday April 10th. Even though I read 100s of 1&2 star reviews before we left I thought that if I mentally prepared myself to wear a mask all day everyday I’d be fine. What I was not prepared for was being snitched on by other guests in lines or being confronted by other guests at least once per day. What was it that got us “in trouble” you ask? First one was for my husband having his mask below his nose for a bit of fresh air for a couple minutes while waiting in an hour line. It was in the high 80s that day and not to mention the humidity. The next one was that we were not socially distancing in another line. We didn’t do it maliciously but it was at the end of the day and we were tired and just moving along with the line.
Disney Springs wasn’t any better. As all the entrances and exits are blocked by security forcing everyone to enter downtown through temperature check points then while walking around there are people there to make sure your masks cover your nose there too. We met our daughter and her family for dinner of whom we hadn’t seen since Covid so I took my mask down to hug and kiss my little grandkids and chat with them for a moment so they could see my face. We were not in a crowd. I got reprimanded from about 50 yards away and she shook her head at me in disgust. There are so many rules, the lines are not shorter, no one can look at each other and smile, there is no interacting with anyone because no one looks.
I will never go to Disney ever again. This was our 5th or 6th trip and my husband's 10th or more so we know Disney and know what to expect. For some reason the Haunted Mansion was darker then normal and we could barely see. Tower of Terror seemed to of turned down the drops maybe so you don’t scream and there were no water cannons at Splash Mountain. Oh yes and you can’t eat or drink while standing in line past a certain point so no matter how hot it is you will have to wait maybe 30 minutes or more like an hour without water. Let’s see did I forget anything??
We bought our 2 toddlers here for spring break the week of March 27, 2021. Now this is my third time and their first time. First off you have to purchase tickets then make reservations, the whole process was very confusing. Second the only thing available was Epcot which who wants to go to Epcot? I was forced to buy park hoppers in order to be able to get to the parks which cost over $1000 for one day then to get to the parks only to find out the parade at magic kingdom ends at 5. There are no characters walking around so therefore no pictures, no fireworks show at magic kingdom.
You’re harassed about masks all day. It’s 80 degrees + and you expect a 3&5 year old to keep a mask over their face all day long. I was utterly disgusted at this experience, my children didn’t really get to enjoy the magical place I fell in love with when I first came and we wasted our money big time. No done in restaurants unless you make reservations. It was a total waste, all rides at least an hour wait, no flash pass available. I was so disappointed and it really deterred me from ever wanting to return.
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I tried calling Walt Disney World to ask a question about dining reservations. I sat on hold for over 2 hours and never got to talk to a real person before my phone battery ran out. Also sent 3 emails and never got a single response. I would never have expected such bad customer service from somewhere that claims to be the most magical place on earth.
They were lots of elderly bouncer type females yelling at children and adults to cover their faces all the way. It was in the 70s and we could barely breathe but because we already paid our money we were afraid of them. One old ** lady followed my daughter into the bathroom stall. She may call it safety but I call it sexual perversion. The rides were mostly over 100 minutes long each many of them breaking constantly. We attended the wax museum presidential theater at the end of the night when nobody else was around. We figured because we were the only family in there it would be OK to lower the mask below the noses. The SS Gestapo started to harass us in a giant room with no people in it. Was harassing us in the name of safety? There was no social distancing, they are not consistent. If I had the corona who would I have infected if there’s no one in the wax museum presidential theater at the end of the night?
Earlier I noticed thousands of people earlier hurtled together like cattle, there was no social distancing, which is hypocritical of the park. If they really cared they would enforce it but they don’t. It’s all a big front to take your money. I used to feel Disney was magical, now it is not. We were restricted of breathing in oxygen by breathing in our own carbon monoxide in hot weather. Everyone squeezed together reminded me of how they used to put innocent Jews in cattle cars off to the concentration camp. I was afraid they were going to shoot us down with machine guns after they took our money and left the park but maybe they hoped we would come back so they could steal more money and kill our souls.
A soda is over six dollars a large popcorn is over $15. A small bubble toy is over $15. Parking is over $19. A multi park ticket is $170. Per family member. The constant talking down to my cast members is disgusting and rude and even on repeated recordings played at the end of the night to cover your face when there was no one there. You could predict every sentence of the cast member “put on your face mask or you will be asked to leave”. Easy for them to say after they took thousands of dollars from families.
Wearing a face mask could be good sometimes but not when your eating staff members followed our family and said, "I know you’re eating but I have to put your face mask on." How many times do we have to be reminded? “Work hard and you will be set free.” That was the slogan used in the holocaust. The new slogan of today is “put on your face mask to stay safe.”
Let me start by saying that I have been a huge WDW fan since my first trip there with my husband and then 2-year-old son in 1994. At the time I was seven months pregnant. We studied the Frommer's Walt Disney World Guide and bought tickets to each park and had so much real genuine family fun that I actually cried along with my son when we had to come home.
Since then, as our family grew and we became more and more successful here in Texas, we would shun our own "Six Flags Over Texas," which was 20 minutes away from our home, to drive our family across the country at least one time per year, and later multiple times per year and spending summers there, so that we could enjoy the magic that was Disney.
As the years passed, we began to go more and more often. Eventually we decided to buy a condo near Disney so that we would have a place to stay when we visited. After the condo, we bought a four bedroom home seven miles away from Disney in the Reunion Resort area in hopes that we would someday retire there. Why did we love Disney so much? Service. Disney always made us feel special while we were there. That is the main thing. Everyone without exception wants to feel special and Disney was the best at making each guest feel like they are the most important person in the world. It was such a great high that we would travel across the country for it for 26 years.
Also, the parks were immaculately clean and well kept. (But on this trip found the parks needed a bit of attention as the landscaping needed trimming and it was not as clean as it had been in the past. So much so that it was noticeable.) They were also expensive to attend which gave us a sense of comfort that if we happened to leave our things in the stroller while we rode a ride we didn't have to worry that someone would steal them. Most of the other "guests" at Disney had better things than we did, so they would not even want ours. We also had a shared camaraderie with the other guests at the park. Everybody loved being there and we had that in common from the beginning. We have made friends while standing in lines with the other Disney fans all around us.
After the COVID-19 lockdowns happened we were, as most of the people here in the U.S., a bit depressed from being on what seemed like "house arrest" for months. We needed our Disney fix! We studied the situation after they reopened and found that they only offered rides - they no longer had any shows, park hopping, character greetings, or fireworks. They also had reduced their hours and were requiring that people make a reservation before attending a park. The prices remained the same, though. We justified visiting the park thinking with the reduced numbers of guests that we could just run from ride to ride with no long waits. Boy, were we wrong.
I was so excited about our trip to our "happy place" that I wore my mouse ears on the plane. We arrived mid-day on Saturday and I was anxious to get at least some Disney Magic so we decided to go to the "Character Warehouse" which is a Disney store that offers some current merchandise and discounted past merchandise. We always try to visit that store first to see if there is anything there that we want before we visit the parks because we can save some money on souvenirs if there is anything that we want. It is really "hit and miss" sometimes we find a lot of things, sometimes nothing. We figured with the reduced numbers of guests that there may be more things that we would be interested in buying at a discount before deciding to part with our money at the parks where things are full priced.
When we arrived, we started to walk in the door and was stopped by an unfriendly "bouncer type" woman who barred us from entering. She told us that we could not go in and that we would "HAVE TO go over there and get on the waiting list, and that when our number was called she would allow us to enter." I was shocked. This was not like Disney at all. In the past, if there was some new rule they were always polite in explaining things respectfully. This was rude and abrasive.
My first instinct was to say, "I don't HAVE to do anything. If you make it inconvenient for me to spend my money, I will spend my money elsewhere." At that point we went into non-Disney stores and bought some things. I have never encountered anyone who works for Disney that was abrasive before. In my head I was thinking that this was an anomaly. Perhaps Disney didn't really even own this store? I have been shopping here for years and have never been treated any way but "Disneylike".
The first park we attended was Hollywood Studios. We were excited to finally be at Disney. Our excitement soon became disappointment though. We chose Hollywood Studios because there is a new ride that we mistakenly thought we would be able to get on knowing that the crowds were so low. We found out that there is no line for the ride. It is a virtual queue and they only allow a very small number of people to ride. It is a race using your cell phone to get a place in the queue. You can try at 10:00 am when you first arrive in the park and again at 2:00 pm. At exactly 10:00 and one second, the queue is full. We didn't have fast enough fingers, even though we were all ready at the magic hour.
So great, we didn't get on the one ride we came to the park to ride. What do we do now? Under normal circumstances we would have park-hopped to a different park and tried to return by 2:00, but no park hopping was allowed, or we would have caught a show or two but there were no shows. So at least we can just run from one of our favorite older rides to another with minimal lines, right? Wrong. Because of Disney's new policies the lines for the older rides were 70 to 100 minutes long. This is October, folks, during the week! The crowds were very low. We were not interested in waiting in ridiculously long lines for the older rides.
Also, it was miserably hot and it seemed like all the wonderful old Disney cast members had been replaced with the "Disney police" who were hired to make sure mainly that you wore your mask, that you wore an uncomfortable mask, and that you were not allowed to get a breath all day. In fact, the new cast members even resembled the storm troopers. They wore masks with the plastic storm trooper shaped face shields over. Each one had the attitude that you, as the guest was going to try to get away with something and that it was their job to watch each guest to make sure that they were complying with orders. They seemed miserable and because of that, they were determined to make the guests miserable too. This is a complete 180-degree change from the Disney that we have known and loved all of these years.
Here are some of the things that we witnessed: At least every 15 minutes there is a park wide announcement that actually threatens the guests. They announce that if guests do not comply with the mask rules that they will be "asked to leave". In the past, if there was a rule, Disney did not just outright threaten you. They would say something like, "for the health and safety of you and other guests, we ask that you, blah blah blah". Everyone knew that if you didn't comply, you could be asked to leave, but that wasn't a consideration because guests were happy to comply because they were treated respectfully, like they were adults, not children, or worse, prisoners.
A guest asked a cast member if she could wait for the next boarding of a ride in order to get into a different seat. The cast member told her that no special requests were being granted. She asked why and was told that is the way it is now. No friendly Disney explanation. I saw a man, as he was departing from a ride, raise his mask to wipe his nose with a tissue. I saw a cast member run over to him and order him to put his mask back on. What was he expected to do, let his nose run into his mouth? And if they were that concerned with COVID-19, why didn't they wonder why his nose was running in the first place?
I saw a couple who (remember there are very few people in the park, it actually looks pretty deserted), with nobody anywhere near them, at least 20 feet away from anybody, remove their masks for a quick selfie. A cast member ran toward them and insisted that they were not allowed to take a selfie without a mask, telling them that he would "hate to see them get kicked out". Really? They already had their masks back on before he could even get to them. It was already done. Why couldn't he just mind his own business?
This happened to us. We were approaching Epcot but still in the parking lot. It was terribly hot and we were planning to put our masks on as we entered the park. A cast member saw us and actually took the same stance that the Character Warehouse employee took the first day rudely that we "had" to put our mask on even in the parking lot because it was "Disney property". We did put on our masks as ordered, but I did mention to her that in the past Disney was more polite about explaining rules to guests.These were just a few examples, but there were many more. It wasn't the Disney that we knew from before. Where were all the friendly cast members? We did encounter one or two, but we are thinking that maybe they fired all the well-trained perfect ones and hired new prison guard types to enforce the new rules.
So, is it worth it do spend the same amount of money that you used to spend for great service and all the perks Disney offered to go now and be treated like you are a prisoner who doesn't want to lose the amount of money that you have spent to come to the park because your warden has "asked you to leave"? It is up to you. For us, we think not. I did not want to wear my mouse ears on the plane on the way back. I could not fit them in my suitcase with all of my purchases, so I just threw them away.
Disney just announced it will shut the park down until April 13th. I tried to call and they turned all the phones off. They are quick to take your money with ridiculous non refundable tickets. Now my family stands to lose 5500 dollars on tickets, Airbnb, flights and rentals. I cannot believe a family involved company is acting like this. Thanks disney, I will never buy any of your products for my lifetime. Thanks for nothing.
I've been to Disney World 3 times over the past 20 years and am sad to say that this place is nothing like it used to be. This will be my 4th visit and I expected to wait in line but almost every ride/character had at least a 1 hour wait, most of them much longer. We went in the off season and this place was horrible. You don't get to do much except stand in line. To get on Rise of the Resistance you have to be at the park and get in a virtual queue. The queue opened at 8:00 and was full for the day by 8:02. Everyone in your party has to get on the app and try to get a spot. We had a 2 minute window. When I asked about it I was told to come back tomorrow and try again. The happiest place on earth told me to go away and come back tomorrow. The characters can no longer walk around the park. You have to stand in long lines to see them. Just to see Tinkerbell was a 90 minute wait.
If you are a smoker forget it. You have to leave the park and go back through security at the entrance to smoke. It's ridiculous. They don't need smoking areas everywhere but to actually have to leave the park and go back through security to smoke? Come on. I would suggest going to Universal Studios Orlando instead. The characters are walking around and interact with you. The wait times are reasonable. We were able to get through both parks, interact with multiple characters and ride almost every ride in two days. The Harry Potter area and rides are awesome at Universal.
I left Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom with a very bad experience. To have to pay such a high entrance fee and not be able to get into any of the highlight rides has much to be desired. The waiting time to get into the Avatar ride at Pandora was 6 hours. Now who seriously can wait in line for 6 hours to get into a 10 minute ride at most. Even purchasing the fast pass wristbands at 10am they were totally booked and could not accept more. I had not been to a disney park for almost 10 years, but my how things have changed. All the rides, even the least popular ones was a 2 hour wait. I am not going back ever and anyone who asks me about this park I will let them know not to go.
I am An annual pass holder. I do the monthly payments which is a nice option. I had a pass a few years ago which I had to give up for financial reasons and I paid off the contract before starting a new one and they keep blocking our pass because it’s getting mixed up with the old pass. It’s happened several times now and they don’t know how to fix the problem. It’s embarrassing when it happens because the cast members at the ticket window have been rude and we also have driven 3 hours to get there for them to not allow us in that we have to call the pass holder line. We pay a lot of money for the passes and quite a bit while in the parks to be treated this way and now they say that they can’t see our current account at all and unless we pay over 2000 dollars up front we can’t get the passes active again.
I have bank statements and our Disney app to show that we have been paying and that we have used the pass and they look at that and say nothing they can do. It’s like why did they even give the new pass at all and why were we able to go all those other times because we have had the passes since June. I have changed my mind about Disney being a magical place. It’s a greedy conglomerate and people should not waste hard earned money to be treated like garbage.
I just talked to a young lady that went above and beyond what I expected due to an unexpected problem with our arrival. Your staff does make magic truly happen!!!! I accidentally cut myself off from the survey at the end of the transaction and I just wanted you to know that everything was beyond what I expected. I will pass this on to others. Thanks to your wonderful staff willing to take time to answer all questions every time I called about something. Helen
Walt Disney author review by ConsumerAffairs
Walt Disney World has welcomed guests to its amusement parks and hotels for 45 years. Today, the four theme parks, two water parks and 25 hotels attract more tourists each year than any other vacation resort in the world.
Variety: From tea with princesses to thrilling roller coasters, the four Disney amusement parks offer different activities for all types of travelers. Outside of the parks, guests can enjoy a visit to the spa, a day of golf or Disney Springs, a complex that stays open later than the amusement parks and offers shopping, live entertainment and world-class dining.
Personalized and convenient: Technology helps guests plan their vacation. The My Disney Experience website and app allows guests to coordinate itineraries and manage reservations. MagicBands, a wearable technology, serve as hotel room keys, park tickets, and a form of payment in the parks. MagicBands also keep track of guests’ FastPass reservations, which lets them skip lines by reserving specific times to visit rides, attractions and character interactions.
Resort options: Disney’s 25 onsite resorts offer options to accommodate any budget. While the value resorts have a lower price, they provide the same services as all the other resorts, and all five properties in this category receive high ratings from guests. All of the deluxe hotels are among the five percent of the 28,000 AAA reviewed hotels to receive a Four Diamond rating.
Free transportation: All resorts offer free transportation to and from all Disney attractions. Different hotels provide different types of transportation, including buses, boats and the monorail, but all drop guests off just steps from the parks’ entrances. Free transportation is also available to and from Orlando International Airport on Disney's Magical Express Service, which even picks up guests’ bags at baggage claim and delivers them directly to guests’ rooms.
Children’s activity centers: Four centers located on the Disney property offer secure and supervised activities for children between three and 12 years old. During the day, children can play games, watch Disney movies and complete craft projects, and in the evening, children enjoy science projects, cooking classes and visits from Captain Hook. These options allow parents to have a night out while kids have fun and make new friends.
Walt Disney World Resort Company Information
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- Walt Disney
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