Trip Report Lower Your Expectations to that of Six Flags and you'll have a better trip

I just returned from a two-week trip to Orlando and wanted to detail my trip for anyone who’ll be visiting soon (or is just interested). I know it always helps me if I know what to expect. My account will probably come across as a bunch of complaining but I did have a wonderful time. The overall takeaway from my trip is that the current Disney World is closer to Six Flags in quality than pre-covid/pre-Chapek WDW.

Cast members are a huge reason for this. CMs are probably the biggest thing that has set Disney World apart in the past but due to worker shortages the bar has been lowered. During my visit I had several interactions with CMs that were unsatisfactory most due to lack of training and uncaring attitudes.

  • In the Mexico pavilion, I asked the “greeter” CM where the bathroom was and she said the closest one was unfortunately in Norway. Imagine my dismay when I returned from Norway, and was seated to eat at San Angel Inn right next to… the bathroom.
  • At Epcot, we collected cards from all the Kidcot stations. At our first stop in Canada, the CM was unfriendly. I decided to see what would happen if I let the next ten CMs initiate conversation. The result was that we visited all eleven spots, collected cards from each, and did not have a single cast member speak to us.
  • In the Magic Kingdom parking lot, the paint was unreadable for my row. I asked the CM what row we were parked in and she told me “Zurg 209.” As I walked, I figured out we were in fact in “Jafar 309.” I don’t know if you’ve ever unable to find your car in the MK lot, but it’s not fun.
  • At the monorail, we were directed to the Magic Kingdom line when we asked for the Epcot one. What’s puzzling to me here is how this was that employee’s main job.
  • In Fantasyland, there were several CMs stationed at the Lightning Lane entrances who were talking to other CMs and were not having guests scan in as they entered the ride. I observed one in particular who didn’t seem to have any interest in doing his job. In a different position where he was loading, he just let guests get on in any order they chose. It’s annoying to wait in line only to see boats going out that are mostly empty.
  • One CM didn’t understand the concept of the countdown signs that some attractions use, such as Country Bears. The sign would be displaying “2 minutes until next show,” and she was telling guests that the wait was 15 minutes.
  • There was a lot of line cutting. The funniest one was at Cosmic Rewind where a family pushed their way through the entire line to the front. When confronted they said “WE HAVE A RESERVATION!” (Of course, everyone has a reservation who was riding that day.) There are a lot of lines that have way too much space between employees. It is no wonder you see so many fights on youtube that involve Disney guests waiting in line.
  • There were many cast members totally killing it! The Jungle Cruise and Festival of Fantasy CMs specifically come to mind.
Trash was everywhere- on the ground, in the water, on the ride vehicles, in the attraction areas, etc.

Genie Plus, speaking of trash, is terrible. I read up on it before my trip and am not even going to get into what so many people complain about- how it affects lines and costs money. I had constant glitches and visited customer relations many times.

  • My entire trip, it defaulted to Animal Kingdom as my park. There is no way to fix this “on our end” according to customer relations. I must have “changed park” over a hundred times.
  • Twice, I lost my first lightning lane pick done at 7am. (Slinky Dog Dash and Jungle Cruise). Customer relations told me that this is a frequent glitch and it is best to pay for lightning lane before 7am because when you pay for it at the same time as making your first selection it will delete your first pick.
  • It never let me cancel any of my selections, which should be available under My Day>Manage Details. I had to visit guest relations each time and they usually couldn’t get it to work either and instead issued me an anytime pass.
  • Many of the times I selected would change once I reached the confirmation screen. I know this is a frequent problem for everyone because reservations are always in motion but the time I chose would remain on the tip board after being refreshed.
  • Why is the park map not easily navigated? I know how to get to it but it should not be the multiply step process that it is.
  • When making selections, it still displays choices that you cannot make and also displays misleading times. Example: if I have already used a lightning lane pass on It’s a Small World, I cannot book it a second time, however, it still appears on the app offering it to me. Also, if I have a LL for 7:05pm, on the tip screen it may read “Booked, 8:00pm” but this does not mean that the reservation is at 8:00pm, it means that time is available if you cancel your booking and reserve a new time.
  • Mobile ordering worked great (almost) every time and really made things easy where I didn’t have to wait in line.
There was a lot of poor show. I promise I wasn’t trying to do a checklist of everything wrong, but there were a lot of things that could not be missed or ignored.

  • Droid Depot’s ceiling conveyer was not working any of the three days we were in HS. This is a big deal when you think about how the droid building “experience” is $100 a pop.
  • Dok-Undar was “on vacation” during our trip.
  • Savi’s Workshop has changed their check in process where there is no longer any “show” and they bill you then have you scan a QR code where you can see your choices of what saber to build. I told them that I was having a hard time seeing it on my phone in the bright sunlight and was basically told “tough.” They used to do a cool thing where CMs would walk you through the choices with physical “scrap parts.” This is again, a bigger deal when you think about how the experience is $220.
  • Rise of the Resistance was, of course, closed when we visited during early entry. None of the cannons were working.
  • One-third or so of the PeopleMover had orange cones inside them and were not being used.
  • Splash Mountain had none of the water effects working (inside and out)
  • Winnie the Pooh had a broken Tigger
  • Small World had some issues (but it has every time I’ve visited)
  • Soarin’ had nearly a hundred white, I assume wet, cloth towels on the ground in the queue area. I don’t know what that could possibly have been about but it looked horrible.
  • What makes these issues a big deal to me is not that they aren’t working. It’s that they aren’t working and aren’t getting fixed. These things on my list weren’t working and then a week later, they still weren’t working.
  • The biggest problem was the constant ride stoppages. My son and I started guessing how many times the ride would be stopped while we were on it. I don’t think there was a time we rode Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh, Haunted Mansion, Little Mermaid, the PeopleMover, Spaceship Earth, and even Carrousel of Progress where the ride was not stopped. And it definitely breaks the mood of the moment.
If anyone has made it this far, try sitting at my new favorite dining spot- Pinocchio Village Haus. You may think the windows overlooking It’s a Small World are best, but actually the best spot is on the balcony outside where you have a view of the carrousel and the castle. We sat there for two separate meals and were the only ones. It’s a secluded, quiet spot, but right in the heart of Fantasyland.

Also, try out the best water fountain on property. Fill up your water bottle at the water fountain in the loading area for the Liberty Belle.
 
I think you maybe need a break from the parks with this number of complaints. Yes, some things are not like they were before the pandemic (housekeeping/cleanliness in the hotels in particular comes to mind) and some CMs may not seem as happy as they were but this is a reflection of the management's choices. The CM who directed you to a restroom in Norway likely was a CP who receives barely any training now. I think we all agree about Genie+ but there are ways around it (it likely defaults to AK because it is alphabetically the first park?). I would say 95% of my interactions with CMs were positive in the last two trips and I observed none of the issues you had. Peoplemover is on its last legs for sure, they're clearly refusing to refurb Splash properly but it's nowhere near as bad a picture as you're painting here.
 

Weather_Lady

Well-Known Member
I think you maybe need a break from the parks with this number of complaints. Yes, some things are not like they were before the pandemic (housekeeping/cleanliness in the hotels in particular comes to mind) and some CMs may not seem as happy as they were but this is a reflection of the management's choices. The CM who directed you to a restroom in Norway likely was a CP who receives barely any training now. I think we all agree about Genie+ but there are ways around it (it likely defaults to AK because it is alphabetically the first park?). I would say 95% of my interactions with CMs were positive in the last two trips and I observed none of the issues you had. Peoplemover is on its last legs for sure, they're clearly refusing to refurb Splash properly but it's nowhere near as bad a picture as you're painting here.
It's a _trip report_.

The OP's experiences and feelings are no less valid simply because they don't match up with yours, and "love it or leave it" is a needlessly insulting and dismissive response.
 
It's a _trip report_.

The OP's experiences and feelings are no less valid simply because they don't match up with yours, and "love it or leave it" is a needlessly insulting and dismissive response.
My intention was not to be dismissive of the OPs feelings and I agree with several points (if not most) of them; however, if you find this many issues with the parks, I honestly recommend taking a break from them. That's what we're doing. I do not think my response was "needlessly insulting or dismissive" in any way; it was trying to be a counter-balance to OPs original message and offer an alternative viewpoint.

I will generally back CMs up, however, as I do feel 90% of them are trying their best, especially considering how obvious it is that ops are staffing the parks with minimal staffing.
 

Tuvalu

Premium Member
As a frequent visitor (stayed a week in April, a week in May and just returned from a week this month) I sadly have to agree with @NoPoncho! in regard to cast members. While the majority are friendly, enthusiastic and helpful there has been a definite increase in the number who are disinterested in engaging with guests (deliberately avoid eye contact, focus on their phones, or “huddle” with other CMs engaged in conversation). Clearly there is a lack of training but the need for workers to fill numerous roles is daunting, resulting in being less selective with applicants and less time for proper training. I hope this is a temporary situation. We shall see.

It is unfortunate that the closest restrooms to Mexico are in Norway. I’ve grumbled about that for decades. I dined at San Angel Inn on Thursday and used the ladies room. There are only 3 stalls, which is why those restrooms are for restaurant patrons and not the general public. (In a true emergency a guest would not be turned away).

@NoPoncho! is spot on with broken ride effects not being fixed. Tigger has been inoperable for months.

Garbage is a problem but I blame guests, not CMs. People are pigs. Disney could not hire enough janitorial staff to keep up with messes people think nothing of leaving behind for others to deal with.

Guest complaints about Genie+ are the reason I refuse to use it.

While I am not yet ready to “take a break from the parks”, the downward trajectory of the current state may make it sooner rather than later.
 

Tony the Tigger

Well-Known Member
I could never remember all those minor things after I got home. Were you taking notes on your phone?

Has a CM ever appeared disinterested? I’m pretty sure they have, but I can’t remember details.

I tend to remember we had a nice meal overall rather than one of the appetizers being too salty. Likewise, I remember a nice trip rather than a CM who didn’t watch the line closely enough.
 

Zipadeelady

Well-Known Member
Garbage is a problem but I blame guests, not CMs. People are pigs. Disney could not hire enough janitorial staff to keep up with messes people think nothing of leaving behind for others to deal with.


Fun Yes GIF by Lilly Singh


I've got to use this gif again!

We saw a lot of CM's picking up but more guests being messy. I just don't get it.
 

TrainsOfDisney

Well-Known Member
Garbage is a problem but I blame guests, not CMs. People are pigs. Disney could not hire enough janitorial staff to keep up with messes people think nothing of leaving behind for others to deal with.
I think it’s a mix of both. It does seem like the Q areas of attractions are getting neglecteced for example and overflowing trash cans are not the guests fault, the guests are using the trash cans, but they aren’t being checked enough.
 

DisNerd86

Member
We just got home today from a week at Disney and had some limited experiences that I think weren’t up to the standard we once experienced, but overall we had a wonderful time and didn’t notice most of the things noted above. I don’t remember seeing much trash at all. We had multiple “pixie dust” experiences with cast members and only encountered a handful of CM’s that seemed disengaged. And we had a ton of success using Genie+. I think out of our 5 park days, we averaged 6 lightning lanes each day, which feels close to what we would have achieved with the free fast pass option. (It of course sucks paying for something that used to be free.)
I know everyone’s mileage varies on these kinds of experiences, and we have friends who have definitely felt a loss of standards at Disney post Covid. For our family, it was a week of magic and I couldn’t help but look around and feel incredibly privileged to be sharing the experience with my children. I hope the things that have slipped in recent years come back as guests continue to provide feedback to park management and the Disney experience keeps getting better and better.
 

Maggie

New Member
Family is there now. They say Epcot was dirty especially the restrooms. Very crowded and not to many friendly CM or guests. Scooter area rental CM's not organized. Many of the rides also broke down during the day. That was yesterday. Today at MK no one working valet parking at Polynesian, Ohana breakfast was great and scooter rental CM's were on the ball. Half the CM could careless about what was going on in the park. Some CM not friendly and guest were the same. Trash seen laying on ground and restrooms are just ok. %0th. anniversary items not to exciting. $ 140 dollars for a sweatshirt is a joke. Hope this isn't the new norm.
 

macefamily

Well-Known Member
Call me a traditionalist but when the woke culture permeated Disney management, it all started to decline. My daughter worked @ Disney in the college program back in 2016 when there was no visible tattoos allowed or facial hair on men. Prim and proper grooming was required on all employees. OK, you can say that's 1950's standards, but they were WALT'S standards. Disney was always known for being a clean, wholesome place to visit. Last time we were there about five months ago a CM was walking down Main St right before a parade came through and the dude looked like a cross between Duck Dynasty with the beard and Kid Rock with the sleeve tattoos. I asked my daughter what the hell was going on and she said that Disney "relaxed their employee standards." Now I get it. Along with relaxing the physical, visual standards they obviously relaxed their management and employee work standards. Company excellence is being sacrificed in the wokeism movement. You need to fly a particular 'flag' in lieu of a corporate ideal. I'll be skewered for this post, but if someone posted that as an employee of Disney they don't have to shower for three weeks, they'd be supported.
 

ladybat2

Member
Call me a traditionalist but when the woke culture permeated Disney management, it all started to decline. My daughter worked @ Disney in the college program back in 2016 when there was no visible tattoos allowed or facial hair on men. Prim and proper grooming was required on all employees. OK, you can say that's 1950's standards, but they were WALT'S standards. Disney was always known for being a clean, wholesome place to visit. Last time we were there about five months ago a CM was walking down Main St right before a parade came through and the dude looked like a cross between Duck Dynasty with the beard and Kid Rock with the sleeve tattoos. I asked my daughter what the hell was going on and she said that Disney "relaxed their employee standards." Now I get it. Along with relaxing the physical, visual standards they obviously relaxed their management and employee work standards. Company excellence is being sacrificed in the wokeism movement. You need to fly a particular 'flag' in lieu of a corporate ideal. I'll be skewered for this post, but if someone posted that as an employee of Disney they don't have to shower for three weeks, they'd be supported.
This is probably because the world in general has "relaxed its standards". How can Disney keep providing a clean, "prim and proper" wholesome escape environment to a world whose overwhelming majority of people living in it no longer even know what these things are any more? Those who still do remember our world this way are dying out and will soon be gone. Those who come after us see the world in a totally different way than we do. Who is to blame for that? The powers that be that our generation and the one before ours allowed to take hold of our world while we slumbered in our bubbles and those that did not slumber were kept so distracted by just trying to get by and keep a roof over their families heads each day they had no time for questioning anything or bucking the system.

In the end that is who humanity will be and is. And since it takes humans to run and operate WDW that is who will run it and its customers will not even know what they are missing. Because, like they live their daily lives..... they will take what they get and continue to poor out their hard earned money for it just to get a little bright color in their lives for a few days. Not even knowing why they need that so bad in the first place. They only know they need "something".

It will be this way until another Walt comes along and shows people something better that they did not know even existed till he showed them. The way he did when he visited dirty theme parks with his kids and saw that it could be so much better than that. And so he set out to not only DREAM but to do.

Thank God Walt had OCD when it came to his dreams. He would beg barrow steal and bankrupt himself just to make his dreams a reality. Thats what it takes when you are trying, not only for yourself, but for the whole world, to make the world see that there is something so much better.

There's a great big beautiful tomorrow waiting at the end of every day. And its just a dream away.
 

Minnesota disney fan

Well-Known Member
The phrase, " Just lower your standards and it will be okay", rubs me the wrong way for some reason. I cringe every time I see this.
It is not right to have to "lower your expectations or standards", while you are at WDW and while you are paying huge amounts of money for the experience of disney. Disney should be raising their efforts instead of diminishing them.
(this is not an attack on you, OP, just the phrase in general). No One should have to lower their expectations to try to have a good time at disney, IMO.
 

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