The Power of Personal Interactions at Disney World
I like talking to strangers. Okay, I usually like talking to strangers. Often, I end up gaining a perspective I hadn’t previously considered or learning something I didn’t otherwise know. I have met a large subset of said strangers during Walt Disney World trips, and these visitors and cast members have generally enhanced my experiences there. On a whole, I remind myself every now and then about the importance of interacting rather than, say, not. But we’ll focus on the value of personal interactions at Disney World for now.
I Learn Something New
While I try to use a Fast Pass for as many Disney attractions as possible, I do end up in the stand by line periodically. While in a stand by line during my family’s first trip, I struck up a conversation with a line mate about our respective vacations, and we ended up (as many conversations do end up) discussing Disney dining. My family and I had just visited the Crystal Palace for breakfast earlier in the morning. The gentleman in line mentioned that he, too, loved the Palace and its vast selection. He mentioned that he particularly liked late morning reservations, as he could have a leisurely breakfast upon arrival. By the time he finished breakfast, the Palace had begun their lunch presentation which he could select from, as well. Ever since, he has visited around the same time for this benefit.
Since this conversation, a 10:30 am (not too heavy) breakfast followed by grazing on the lunch selections at Crystal Palace has become a Disney tradition for our family. Having small children, we appreciate the slow pace and experiences at the Palace and other Disney restaurants. While not a groundbreaking or little-known tip, I learned something new which I could easily benefit from.
The Impossible Becomes Possible
On another trip, we arrived on time to our Plaza dining reservation (yes, another dining story – hear me out). We obtained our table after waiting for almost 30 minutes past our reservation time. We learned the hard way that the Plaza’s limited seating can lead to very uncertain seating times for meals. While we enjoyed our meal, I slowly came to the conclusion we would miss our next Fast Pass selection (Space Mountain). At booking, the Fast Pass selection was good until a bit over two hours after our original Plaza reservation.
Toward the end of lunch, a manager came by to ask how our meal turned out. I mentioned that everything about the meal was great, except for the late seating. The manager was a step ahead of me, asking if we were missing out on anything due to the late service. I described the Space Mountain Fast Pass we would not make, and without pause, the manager asked for our Magic Bands. She then granted each of us a “Multiple Experiences” Fast Pass good for most anything in the park (including Space Mountain) for use any time during the rest of the day. Based on this simple interaction, the manager made the previously impossible become possible.
Disney Guest Services
Periodically, our Fast Pass line has ended up moving at more of a Stand By line speed due to ride breakdowns or delays. With condensed schedules and other reservations, we’ve consistently obtained excellent resolution to all of these issues from Disney Guest Services. Cast members quickly address issues at the offices but also at Guest Experience Team kiosks throughout the parks.
A Great Interaction, Albeit Not In Person
During a stay at a Disney World Deluxe Resort a few years ago, we noticed a collection of minor problems in our hotel room. While noticeable, these issues were tolerable; we could still enjoy our room and did not want to deal with the inconvenience of changing rooms. I resolved for us all to enjoy the rest of our vacation and follow up with the property later.
I ended up emailing the resort GM after the trip to firmly but calmly describe our room disappointments. In the email, I described that the collection of minor issues, while not a huge problem, did not meet the standards of a deluxe property of that caliber. Full Disclosure: my goal for this email was for the room issues to be fixed, but I was also curious if/how we would be compensated. Later that same day, management replied to the email, stating that they had already begun fixing the room issues and offering compensation. We were pleasantly surprised to receive two nights at any Deluxe resort on a future stay.
Personal Interactions at Disney World – Final Thoughts
Perhaps a lot of what I’m describing are examples of obvious truths and nothing new. But in each situation, I was quickly reminded of how much I can gain from personal and polite interactions. Wherever I travel, the Golden Rule can still apply today. And I can benefit from it just as much as the other person does.