Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Whatever happend to good customer service at Disneyland?

Several weeks ago I wrote an email to disney parks talking about the poor customer service I received on my last trip to Disneyland . 
In the letter I mentioned how if this last experience is any indication and the legendary customer service they USED to provide is gone... Then this email will probably go unnoticed .
It's been weeks... Thus far, my email has gone unresponsed.
Here is the original email: 

To whom it may concern ,

I've been hesitant to send this email. 

I hate that I feel the need to complain about places, Disneyland and California Adventure, that I love so much. However, I realize, it is BECAUSE I love your parks so much that I want you to notice an awful change taking place. What I'm talking about is the death of the legendary customer service your parks pride themselves on.

First, some background:
My wife and I do not live a life of luxury. Both hard workers, we get by paycheck to paycheck. Using the little money we have scraped together we decided, in May of this year, for our five year anniversary, to buy Disneyland Annual Passes.
Both of us are lifelong Disney fans (it was, in fact, on our first trip to Disneyland together that I proposed infront of the castle) and we always look forward to leaving the grind of working in the Bay Area and enjoying the wonder your parks provide. Our first trip this year, May 2013 was fantastic. 

When we decided to go back in 
September, we noticed a change... And not for the better.

After walking into Disneyland and enjoying a few rides we decided to park hop to California Adventure. However, before we could exit from Main St. we were stopped by a cast member asking if we would want to take a survey about any purchases of food we might've made during our time in the park. There was a number of cast members asking people if they would like to take the survey. And like the rest, this particular woman talking to us was polite ( at first). Before we could give her an answer she started asking the first question so my wife said, " oh, no thank you. Maybe we can take the survey later?"
This is when the cast members mood changed and she looked up from her electronic tablet she was using and told us, sharply, "FINE. WHY ARE YOU WASTING MY YIME THEN..." Before walking off.
We were stunned. The people next to us who heard were shocked too.

I would like to think this cast member was simply having a bad day, however later I would realize this poor display of customer service was NOT an isolated incident.

While eating lunch at California Adventure at the Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill we waited patiently while the only woman behind the register finished her conversation with another cast member. They were talking about what they had planned later that night. Once they were done the register woman looked at us and said,  " now WHAT do you want?" She was mad/annoyed that our waiting in line to order food was somehow interrupting her personal conversation .

The food was great... The people helping us buy it, not so much...

However, the worst was yet to come...

Later that day, in California Adventure, while exiting the Twilight Zone Tower Of Terror, we found cast members clearing a pathway for people to get by while an upcoming parade was about 15 min from starting. As I walked by I stepped off the curb wrong and fell to the ground, cutting my knee and seriously spraining my ankle in the process. Strangers waiting for the parade came over and asked if I was okay, asking if I needed help up ( I was still on the floor at this point). But instead of offering help, when your cast member came up to me, she started yelling, " SIR YOU NEED TO GET UP AND KEEP MOVING, I NEED TO KEEP THIS SPACE CLEAR SO PEOPLE CAN WALK !!!" I was still on the ground at this point, rubbing my ankle ( which I thought I had broke, but thankfully I did not). My wife and a few strangers said,  "can't you see he fell" to which your cast member replied, " I DONT CARE. YOU JUST NEED TO KEEP MOVING. I NEED THIS AREA CLEAR SO PEOPLE CAN WALK !"
With assistance from strangers I got up and hobbled over to the entrance of the Tower to sit for a second and see if my knee was bleeding but this same cast member came overly  and yelled " YOU CANT SIT, KEEP MOVING !! I NEED TO KEEP THIS AREA CLEAR SO PEOPLE CAN WALK THROUGH !!"
I limped from the Tower Of Terror to the first empty benches we could find, by Cars Land, in pain because of this woman. My ankle was swollen and hurting. The walk to our hotel was a slow and painful one . These incidents occurred on the first day of our trip and my ankle was bad enough that we were forced to cut our vacation short and return home the next day.

For years I know Disney parks have prided themselves on outstanding customer service. It's something I've come to expect and enjoy when visiting. And it's, sadly, something I found to be lacking on this most recent trip.

As Annual Pass members we had planned to visit  the park several more times in this year and the next. A trip for my birthday in November (in which we were thinking of splurging and staying at one of your on site hotels ) has been put on hold.

 We can be treated poorly at six flags for much less money, at Disney parks, you EXPECT the best. The best rides. The best shopping. The best dining. And yes, the best customer service and connections. Both my wife and I work in the service industry, dealing with people everyday and we know what legendary customer service looks and feels like, having provided just that for our customers on a daily basis.
I could let the rude cast members slide, but to not offer a man assistance when he's fallen is not only poor customer service on your part, but it's just plain rude. 

So that this doesn't go unnoticed, so that this doesn't happen to anyone else, THAT is the reason I felt I should write.

Hopefully , I'll hear back from you. But if the customer service in the park is a reflection of the NEW way Disney does things... I'm sure this email will go unnoticed. And ignored.

But it hope I'm wrong....

Thank you for reading, 
Tom Valdespino

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