I have visited Disney parks on many occasions and like most people I have come to associate them with the highest standards of efficiency and customer service. The Paris parks do not reach the heights of the American sites but I still wasn’t expecting the poor service I received on a recent visit.
A Birthday in Paris
The trip concerned was in honour of my friend’s 21st Birthday. He was anxious to enjoy the best that Disney had to offer on this particular visit and so together we chose the restaurants for our meals well in advance and booked our tables over the phone. The first meal went without a hitch. Our table had indeed been reserved at Walt’s on Main Street, the food was good and we all had a great time.
The Blue Lagoon
The following day we were very much looking forward to an evening meal at the Blue Lagoon adjacent to Pirates of the Caribbean. We arrived at the appointed time to be told that the restaurant was closed for a private booking. There was nothing that the staff at the restaurant could do and so I was forced to walk the length of the park to guest services near the entrance.
I explained the issue to the representative at the desk who barely stopped short of suggesting that I hadn’t really made a reservation. He was certain that had I tried to book I would have been informed of the closure. I assured him that I had made three reservations and asked him to check the computer to ensure that the third one for the next day was in place. He checked and confirmed the booking and then seemed to realise that I was telling the truth. He apologised and offered to book us into another restaurant.
Not Good Enough
I thought that this was a pretty inadequate gesture considering we were talking about ruining a 21st birthday trip. I decided to hang in there to see if we could get some kind of compensation and asked the agent to see what he could do to repay my friend for screwing up his birthday. (The big day was actually the next day but hey!) After consulting a supervisor we were given 50 Euro to spend on pin badges which I accepted before heading for another restaurant for dinner.
I thought the situation was handled quite poorly by the Disney Staff and there was clearly a major issue with the booking system if it was possible to make a reservation for a restaurant that was closed. I resolved to get the old paper and pen out when I got home to vent my feelings on the subject but of course I never did.
The Last Laugh
Happily we ended up having the last laugh. After arriving at the second choice restaurant we were joined by a friend who works at the Park. He got us a huge discount on the meal and on our purchases in the Disney store where we also claimed our free badges. Disney didn’t cover themselves in glory but one of their staff certainly did saving us a massive 120 Euro and making us feel a whole lot better!
Article by Sally Stacey