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Miscellaneous thoughts and ramblings
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
The Happiest Place on Earth? Not!
So, in January we packed up the Bean daughters and took off for an overnight stay at the Happiest Place on Earth. We were armed with Grandma, a babysitter, and two-for-one tickets to both Disneyland® and Disney’s California Adventure™. Our plan was to spend one day at Disneyland, sleep at a hotel and spend the next day at California Adventure. We were overly optimistic.

One day at Disneyland was enough for our little party. We were exhausted. Never mind. We’d return to California Adventure at a later date.

Fast forward three months... We take the kids out of school, line up Grandma and Grandpa and take off for a fun day at California Adventure. We purchase one extra ticket (the oldest Bean child did not attend the previous trip) and got in line with our tickets. At the front of the line, when we handed in our tickets, we were told that these weren’t the tickets but the ticket stubs. The tickets, which we had handed in at Disneyland months before, should have been saved. The tickets, I should note, had two parts that were separated when we first went to the park. We assumed that one ticket was for Disneyland and one was for California Adventure. We were wrong. Noone at Disneyland that day told us to keep these tickets to get into the second park. In fact, when we got home, we simply threw them away. “So, Grandma asks, is there anyone we can talk to?” The ticket-taker suggests that we speak to guest services.

We approach the friendly man in the dorky vest and relate our problem. He is sympathetic but also vaguely condescending. We ask what to do; he suggests we talk to guests services. I say “Isn’t this guest services?” He says, “No this is guest relations.” You’ve got to be kidding me!!! But, we drag ourselves off to guest services and tell the story again. This time we were offered a refund on the recently purchased ticket and parking. The children dissolve into tears. Grandma suggests that we take the crying children over to the desk and throw ourselves on their mercy. Maybe they’ll give us some sort of discount. Again, no luck. This time they offered us stickers. Stickers! We have no shame. We took the stickers.

At first, I thought “It is our fault; they don’t owe us anything.” However, on the ride home it occurred to me that if they sell two for one tickets in the first place they can’t be losing money on half-price tickets. Furthermore, the guest services kiosk is the same as the group ticket sales kiosk so they routinely offer discounts to large groups and still manage to eke out a living. Then I started to get mad. This is supposed to be the happiest place on earth and here I was with two crying children and they can’t even offer us a 20% discount! The other part that makes me mad is the underlying assumption that we were trying to cheat them. You could see it on their faces. It looked like they were thinking “Boy if I only had a nickel for every family that loaded up the kids, purchased a ticket for $43.00 and then tried to pretend that they didn’t understand the two for one ticket, to sneak into California Adventure, I would be a rich woman.” Bottom line, we drove home and saw Robots. Funny movie. Still, I’m pissed.
I received your post via email (as do Bean and the Scot). I mention it because the email I opened immediately afterwards was the following:

Greetings Travel Professional,

The Travel Industry Association (TIA) is predicting record travel this spring.

Americans are expected to take more than 281 million trips of 50 miles or more during the months -- a 1.2 percent increase from last spring.

Leisure travel is expected to account for the majority the trips, up 1 percent from 2004.

As travel intentions and the economy continue to improve, there has never been a better time to take advantage of these positive trends and book Disney vacations.
And I can just picture that behind the scenes at "the happiest place on Earth" there were guest services and guest relations employees just sneering behind your backs once the Bean/Ball-and-Chain family left in a huff. And they were sneering, wiping off those little painted-on grins and rouged cheeks, and rubbing their grubby palms together, laughing a sinister, macabre laugh and saying, "SUCKERS...Na, na, na, na, na, na."
Great America is 60 minutes away, but we haven't been there in many years because for us to all get in would be about $300. And that's for me to sit there with the psychotoddler while the big kids go on rides with Mom.

Some of my kids get free tickets for reading books, but even so, we'd have to pay admission for the others.

It's a major rip off. Most kids would rather stay indoors and play video games anyway. They need to make this more affordable for families.

Too bad the good-old-days of drug reps giving out free passes is gone.
We're hoping to do a family trip this summer (2 adults, 3 kids) to the Orlando area -- and there are several major attractions that we are planning to see.
How many THOUSANDS OF U.S. $$$$$$$$ should we bring with us just for park/attraction admissions? (and then again, I pay more for U.S. $ than for Cdn. $)
I can't even bring myself to imagine how awful that scene was. When we pulled up with our kids, my brother, and my parents in February, the rain began to fall ever so gently. As we waited for the tram, it really started coming down. I was ready to pack it in, but there was no denying the kids. So we got pneumonia? So what? It really wasn't so bad once the rain stopped about 3 hours later.
Alas, alack, I'm not surprised. I have a weird relationship with Disney, as I once worked for them before I was booted out - er, I mean, involuntarily seperated - in 2001. As a result I am somewhat bitter and cynical about everything Disney related. I was actually well on my way to bitter and cynical when I was laid off. And I hate how expensive the park is.


I love going to Disneyland. Just love it. I turn into a happy little girl whenever I go and just want to do EVERYTHING!

I'm surprised my brain hasn't blown apart due to the dichotomy.
Poor ball-and-chain has been trying to comment in response all day, but Blogger has beat her silly. She just went to bed.

Psychotoddler: She wasn't even complaining about the price. She doesn't think the parks are too expensive, she just hated the horrible customer service and the refusal to give her a discount for tickets that she bought and then unknowingly threw out.

Torontopearl: Just sell all your belongings and bring every dollar you have.

Ralphie: Thank Heavens I was at work and missed the whole thing.

Carol: Ladies and gentlemen, please rise. Help me welcome Carol, from All the Fun of the Fair. She's about as far left as I am right, but the discussions on her blog have been very civil, actually pleasant. Of course everything she believes is wrong, but we're working on it. That she would grace our humble blog despite her many objections to all things neo-conservative is a testament to something, but I don’t know what.

I was actually thinking about you when I read this article that Nomad linked to. If you have time, I'd love to hear your opinion on it.
Oh, pooh. I just posted a longish comment and Blogger ate it. Just ate it right up. Freakin' A, man. Let's try this one more time.Doctor Bean, I'd like to thank you for your warm welcome. It is appreciated and I am honored that you would rise for me and ask others to do so as well. *curtseys prettily*

Of course I happen to think that I'm very right (or should I say, very left) and you're sadly wrong, but this is one of those deals where we must agree to disagree.

As for the linked article, it is interesting (I had to smile at your comment re: a liberal blog). I truly hope that the political timber of the Middle East is changing for the better. I'll admit that I need to sit down and read reports that aren't slanted towards conservative or liberal bias (and good luck to me with that goal) before I feel qualified to make some grand statement. Because, frankly, no matter what news report I read I never feel as if I'm getting the unvarnished story. (Yes, that goes for lefty news too.)

You're right. I've always been against this war. I still have reasons for being against this war. I always will. But if lasting good comes out of it, I will acknowledge that and not begrudge it.

(But you'll never pry me from the lefty side alive, copper! Never! ;) )
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