We are off to Disneyland Paris again next week, and this time we are taking my parents (mum has always fancied it).
We booked in Sept 2010, and my parents also booked separately and then I phoned Disney to get the two bookings linked (as they recommend). This should make sure we end up with hotel rooms near each other etc etc. All was good. We paid a bit over the odds to go for the New York hotel with the direct Eurostar etc. Yeah, could have got it a bit cheaper if we booked all the bits individually but pffft, effort. At least this way it would be stress free and easy. Or maybe not…
3 weeks before we were meant to leave, we get an urgent message from Disney left on our answerphone.. uh oh… Ring them back (in the queue for 30 mins (or as I like to think, in a queue for £3.80) before speaking to someone who passed us to Guest Care.
“Sorry, we don’t have the seats you paid for on the Eurostar, but it’s ok, we have booked you on the Paris train”
Errrr….no, that’s not really ok. Paris train means we have to find our own way from Gare du Nord to Disney (not rocket science, but not what we paid for) arriving later than planned. Worse, it means we have to leave several hours earlier on the last day, arriving in Ashford not long after the time we were meant to be leaving the park! Add on the fact that we need to travel into Paris via two extra trains in the rush hour with luggage and two tired kids this basically meant we were being diddled out of half a day in the park. Not good. Obviously, they didn’t actually tell us we would need 2 trains, or that we would have to leave so much earlier. Or that their own site recommends against the Gare du Nord route and suggests via Lille is much better.
Still, it’s Disney, I’m sure they have some compensation they offer, something to make things suck a bit less.
“We can’t offer any money back I’m afraid, but we will reimburse you the cost of your metro tickets if you fax them to us after you get home”
Errr…. what? That’s it? No real apology? No “heres a couple of hundred quid off”. More a “tough shit” attitude. Also, Fax? WTF? I can’t email it, I have to fax an international number. I feel a jibblermoment coming on.
Having had a sleep and a think, I ponder my attack vector. Guest care appeared to be more “Guest don’t-care” so I rang their enquiry line. First stab, try to book another holiday for the same dates.
Hotel fine, but no direct train. Also nothing via Lille. They offer a flight instead (but interestingly, not a train via Paris). Eurostar site agrees nothing direct or via Lille, but shows plenty of seats on the Paris train. Interesting… I ask to be transferred to guest care. After 90 mins (£10 quid to normal people) I’ve finally got escalated to someone who admits that a) my request to link the booking appears to have been missed (probably for the best, at least this way they haven’t offloaded my parents who are still on the direct train) and that b) it’s a bit shit (I maybe paraphrasing this a little).
Eventually, they manage to offer us something. A hotel room upgrade. Hmmm… so we get a view of the Lake. It’s a start, but we don’t really go to Disney to sit in the room looking at the view. Also, they appear to have forgotten the whole linked booking thing again, so can only upgrade our room and not my parents. I ask if they could offer us some fastpasses for the last day, they claim that’s not possible, as it’s down to the hotel to provide fastpasses (but not room upgrades?? WTF?).
I suggest they can do better than this and as by this point I’ve been on the phone all afternoon (at least I’ve got them ringing me now) I decide to send in a complaint via email. They agree this is probably best, and that they aim to reply within 48 hours so to give them until Thursday. It’s Sunday. Oh dear…
I email, and wait. Late Wednesday I get a new “improved” offer. A free meal for all of us in Cafe Mickey. Getting more valuable, but still not really addressing the whole losing time in the park issue. Quite the opposite in fact as it turns out the Cafe isn’t in the park. So either we eat late at night (Sprog2 will become Satan) or we lose even more time. Doesn’t sound like a great deal…
Annoyed at the way they appear to be completely ignoring the main thing I’m unhappy with I decide to go for broke and do some digging. Turns out the CEO doesn’t really obfuscate his email address very well, and a bit of googlefu and some guessing appears to offer a way forward. I email Monsieur Gas and pray he has a
Next day I’m at an Oracle/Sun event and bingo, they phone me (48 hours? Ha! First call was 3 working hours ). They phone me 3 times infact, and in the end leave a message suggesting that I email them a time that would be convenient and that they will ring me then to discuss my “letter”. Late that night I email them suggesting 10:45 would be good.
10:46 my phone rings (I’ll let them off that :-)). Finally someone who sounds useful (and someone who wasn’t in the US – most of Guest Care appear to be in Florida going by accents and the calling numbers).
Sarah is very helpful, and appears to be in a position to actually do stuff. This is good. Within 15 mins we’ve been offered
- VIP fast passes for all six of us (unlimited for the entire stay – w00t!)
- a free meal (yay!)
- 4 seats on the full direct train home avoiding the leaving early issue
- a taxi from Gare Du Nord if we would prefer not to use the train
No idea how they found the seats. Don’t care, that’s a great result. They can’t do anything to help with the route out but agree to pay a taxi for us (€150 apparently!)
Not sure how the meal thing will work (if at all, I did thank her but say we weren’t bothered about the meals) but I got an email Friday saying VIP fastpasses will be available for us to collect at the station \o/
Result! Now to see if it actually happens… The direct tickets have no arrived, and I’ve posted back the ones from Paris so that’s a start