ORLANDO, FLORIDA -- I visited Disney World Magic Kingdom yesterday [2/21/10] and I was appalled to see that they require the collection of finger prints! I adamantly refused to allow my 3 yr old son to be scanned. At first the ticket lady wouldn't let us through and I seriously considered leaving then and there. But after much venting of frustration on my behalf she agreed to let him through because he "can't reach the scanner anyway". So my question that I pose to you today is why on earth would the Disney Corporation like to fingerprint a child? For what purpose is this unrightful collection of data?
They claim that it is for the sole purpose of keeping someone from stealing your ticket but I don't believe. Furthermore, upon questioning aforementioned ticket lady about what is done with such data and whether it was stored in a database of some sort or what exactly was done with it she responded, "No, it is just used to get in." So, let me say this, how can the info be used at a later date if it is not stored on at least one database?!?!? And so I shall have to say that unless I see a legitimate purpose for my child to be fingerprint, then I, as not only a parent but also as an American Citizen, refuse to allow this to happen!!
This review is a little late in writing but that's just because I'm lazy. In Nov 2009, my family and I went to Disney for a family vacation. Well the flight down was a nightmare (read my Delta review) but I have to say, when I got to Disney, the staff there more than made up for all the pain of the travel. We arrived by 1:30 am with no luggage and no toiletries. When I mentioned this to the check-in agent, he gave us an entire week's worth of amenities.
When I asked if they had diapers back there as well, he said no but went and got the Night Manager. The Night Manager opened up the in-hotel store and got diapers for me. I was amazed. The next morning, Concierge was very helpful in getting me and my family our tickets and permanent hotel key. I love this hotel and will be going back next year or the year after. They have earned both my respect and my loyalty.
Took my 5 yr old son to Magic Kingdom yesterday for his birthday, since he's never been there before. While it was terribly humid, the lines weren't too long. We went on the Jungle Cruise and the cast member, let him steer the boat (totally by chance that he got to do this), but it made him feel so special. (I didn't let him wear his "Happy Birthday" pin since it had his name on it -safety issue).
We also went to Mickey's Toon Town where you can meet Mickey & Minnie. I like this since you don't have to be at a certain location at a certain time. They also have where you can meet Disney Princess' or Disney Fairies. I took him to both since my little man loves the pretty ladies. And at each one, the Princess/Fairy actually carried on a little conversation with him, calling him a Prince and giving him a kiss on the cheek (where her lipstick makes a kiss print). He was in Heaven. He felt very special.
At each of the meetings they have a Disney photographer that will also take pictures and then scans a "Disney Photopass". You keep the card with you so that at any time they take any photos they can scan the card and you can later view and order prints online. I think they stay there for only like 30 days, but I thought it was so cool that they have this service. Of course along with everything else Disney, the print prices are astronomical. But I can share them by e-mail link with other people for free.
ORLANDO, FLORIDA -- After watching my granddaughters eagerly await the month of March... We were finally headed to Disney World in Florida. Since the previous August they watched the commercials with anticipation and excitement when they see the children shake Mickey's hand or hug Cinderella. Every commercial..."I want to do that Nana!!" at ages 3 and 5 all they wanted to do was touch or see a princess. We saw a Donald Duck and a Goofy. Unfortunately we were too far along in the 75 minute line to get out to enjoy those 2 characters. Cinderella went by in her coach during the parade at 8:15 pm. Followed by the 7 dwarfs who were alone. No Snow White!!??
I was disappointed as I was herded like cattle between the hours of 7-8:15 when the parade begins. We were not allowed to stop and figure out where we were or where we were going. Just those blue sticks in my face with people hollering - "keep going, can't stop here, can't stop on the sidewalk, get in the ropes, keep going... blah, blah, blah." After $400 and 9 hours of walking, I would think I could stop, but there was someone lurking with that darn blue stick. No Disney characters around was the BIGGEST disappointment for my babies... Don't know what I'll do now, But I don't think I'll ever waste my money on a $2,000.00 dream vacation to Disney World. What a joke.
ORLANDO, FLORIDA -- I stayed at the All Star Sport and had so many problems. The main thing was housekeeping, they would not clean my room right, not leaving towels, not taking the old ones, not cleaning. The room had so much dust on the tables in both rooms cause I had to get moved from rooms and both were the same way. The toilet would not flush, you had to flush 2-3 times.
Then the last day I was there my family and I went to eat at about 9 am, took most of our thing to the car, left camera and thing we took to the parks every day on the table, we were gone about 45 min. When we got back are stuff was gone, housekeeping had taken all are things out and said they thought we had left. Mind you check out times is 11am. Then they would not find my stuff. So I was not happy at all.
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA -- I am an African American working wife and mother. My daughter and I were looking for character themes to decorate her room. When she asked me- "mom how come none of the three princess are black?" She said "I want to be a princess." Keeping in mind my child grandmother is Caucasian and I never really knew my child notice because she has a mixed family. It has puzzled me ever since and now I would like to know when will my child have the pleasure to see a black princess or a movie about a black princess.
Last July, we visited Walt Disney World with our son for the first time. He had turned 4 only a few months before and we were as excited as can be. This was something I'd been waiting to do since he was born. Yes, it was hot.. almost unbearably so and incredibly sticky to boot because of a hurricane brewing off the coast. Yes it was crowded, but not unbearably so. The longest we waited in line for anything was the hour plus we spent waiting to be the first family of the day at Camp Minnie-Mickey in the Animal Kingdom.
The cast members that we encountered were, for the most part, extremely helpful. One, upon learning it was our first trip as a family, presented us with a "My First Trip" button for our son and "Honorary WDW Citizen" buttons for my husband and myself. Another selected our son to help lead Lightning and Tow Mater into the greeting area for a meet/greet. We saw the same CM later, working as a handler for Sorcerer Mickey and she remembered us. The Mayor of Hollywood (a streetmosphere character) took time out to talk to my husband about the state of affairs in "Hollywood". It could not have been more magical or special for us.
I know people have said, "Oh don't take your child to WDW before they are *insert age here* because they won't remember it!". That's not true. My son constantly reminds us of how we got to ride the monorail (his favorite ride), see Mickey Mouse and how Mommy got to ride a roller coaster but he has to wait till he's bigger.
ORLANDO, FLORIDA -- I had heard over and over how wonderful Walt Disney World treats children who are visiting the park because it was their wish granted by the Make-a-Wish foundation. That is a huge lie. My daughter was given NOTHING special, they did absolutely NOTHING for her that they would do for any other guest who asked. She was made to wait 20 minutes to access the handicapped entrance for the Pirates of the Caribbean ride when the wait time for the regular ride was estimated at 15 minutes.
Not one "Cast Member" went out of their way to do anything special for her, she was denied access to the characters she asked to see, she was ignored by staff in favor of pushier people who had more money to spend. I will definitely recommend to any child, handicapped or not, that they visit Universal Studios instead.
ORLANDO, FLORIDA -- This is more a suggestion for Disney than it is for visitors, but I'll state it anyway in case Disney actually cares enough to read about it. We took the Backstage Tour of Disney, a well organized informative tour. Worth the money. To do so we often had to go "backstage" through doors on the visitor side to the back lot. We just simply followed our guide who, although she had a badge, was never challenged.
There was essentially no security on these doors. Later, when my wife and I were walking around the visitor side, it was obvious we could have just slipped into the back without anyone questioning us. (If fact we had Backstage Tour button on which would have made it easy).
Disney goes through great pains at the entrance to search your bags and scan your fingerprint, but this is a real big security hole, being allowed to go to the back, or people from the back to come to the front. A delivery guy could be a terrorist and come in with a bomb strapped around his belly. I questioned this to our tour guide and was told it "had" to be this way in case of emergency, eg: fire, bomb threat, etc.
This makes sense, but what they should have is electronic doors, and only a swipe card will open them. Doing so ensures Disney employees are opening the doors, and each one is being recorded on a computer somewhere. In case of emergency, cut the power and the doors will automatically open.
On point #2, regarding medical facilities, I was disappointed/appalled that there was virtually none. In the 95 deg/95 % humidity heat in Florida (September) my wife got heat stroke and there was no one around to help us. We asked a park employee for help and were told the medical facility was at the main gate (we were in Toon Town). Not ONCE did I see a medical person walking around the park. I saw no emergency phones and obviously the park employees know nothing about emergency procedures.
I was able to steal some ice from a soda display to cool my wife down enough that she could walk under her steam. We left the park about 4 hours earlier than expected and could not re-enter due to our ticket type. At our local exhibition in the city where I live, there are numerous first aid attendants walking the park in pairs, ready to attend to anyone needing assistance.
I even saw a portable stretcher attached to a motorized scooter, if it were necessary. The guy sitting in it had a radio so that he could be anywhere he was required. Disney did not have this and I'm shocked that they don't. Our park also had city police patrolling regularly. All emergency personnel at our exhibition and fair were available: police, fire, first aid.
ORLANDO, FLORIDA -- It looks like we have more questions that need to be answer for Disney newbie. I am no DISNEY expert but have been to DISNEY many, many times. How many? Since 1999, I clock in 33 stays on Disney properties. I stay from value to deluxe resorts. So far, this year, I was down in Orlando twice. I plan for 3rd trip around Christmas for their annual “Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party”.
I used their concierge services and attended 2 friends' wedding on Disney properties. Here are the responds to the more Disney service complains. The Disney World staff can only inform you about local schools (kids attendance) in Orange County (Orlando). The school starts on Monday, August 20. This is a bad indicator for kids' attendance. **.
Disney World is visited by guests all over the country and world. You should have checked their WDW site. It shows the historic attendance level for the entire year (seasons and/or holidays). **. Highest Attendance: Presidents' week in February, Mid-March through Late April ("Spring Break"), Memorial Day weekend, Mid-June through Labor Day HERE, Thanksgiving Day and weekend, Christmas week through New Year's Day. August trip is bad if you want to avoid huge crowds.
Not sure who you talked to, we were stuck in EPCOT one night because Magic Kingdom was getting out early and they routed all available buses to that park to pick up resorts guests. I call the WDW transportation and they dispatch a bus to our stop within 5 minutes. They usually have spare buses for special needs or emergency. They label these buses' destination display with character names such as “Ariel”. You normally see one or two parked in Disney Transportation Center and theme parks.
Premium packages do not mean premiums VIP services. If you really want to be treated above the average Disney resort guests, you need to stay with concierge service in Disney deluxe resorts. I stay at the Polynesian resorts with concierge service and got into all popular restaurants with little wait time and no reservations.
We were also allowed to take a VIP tour of the safari ride in Animal kingdom at dawn. This allows you see the predators (e.g. lions) up and moving around. The predators normally sleep during the day. e.g. Le Cellier Steak house in EPCOT means 2 hours wait (some nights) if you do not have a reservation. We got a table in 20 min. with no reservation.
Another tip regarding the resort pool. If your resort's pool is too crowded for your taste, you are allow go to other Disney Resorts' pools. I have done this several times. You will need your resort pass, they will check to make sure you are a Disney resort guest. I have done this couple of times.