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I recently returned from a 4-day trip to WDW following 3 days on board the Disney Dream. As luck would have it, my last two days at WDW weren’t the best, due in part by a chest cold I picked up.

Here’s a few observations I made during the trip, that Disney could take and use to improve the parks and resorts, even if only marginally.

Hand Sanitizer

One thing that we encountered on the Dream that was new to us was the abundant use of hand sanitizer wipes at the entrance to every restaurant.  I remember hearing they had started this a while back to reduce outbreaks of noro/rotovirus like those that have hit many cruise ship passengers over the past few years. What I find curious though is why Disney hasn’t extended this same practice to the parks and resorts, or even the restaurants on property. I realize it costs money to provide this as a service, but it just seems like it would be a big help in potentially saving some guests’ vacation from ruin. I won’t go so far as to blame the lack of hand sanitizers on my own sickness, but whose to say that it wouldn’t have helped in preventing it?

Water bottle fill stations
Numerous times throughout the trip, I witnessed and partook of myself, an attempt at re-filling a water bottle I had purchased earlier. I know Disney offers free cups of ice water at most every restaurant and counter that serves drinks, however, I would prefer to keep my water bottle so I can have it available when I need it while standing in line or just enjoying the parks. Besides, most of the time, the cups of water they offer are very small and flimsy and don’t travel well. Surely there’s a better way to handle this Disney.

Exit at DHS after Fantasmic

The last night were at WDW, we hopped over to DHS to see the 10:00pm showing of Fantasmic! And while I think this show is still sub-par in comparison to its Disneyland counterpart, it’s still an enjoyable way to cap a night or even a trip. One thing I noticed though, that they’ve been doing for quite a while, is in regards to the routing of guests leaving the show. We arrived at the park just after 8pm while the first showing was still playing and noticed they had the gates open beside the service station to the right, immediately after the entrance gates for guests leaving. Oddly, when we left the 10pm show, these same gates were not opened, which would have shortened our walk, allowing us to exit the park instead of being re-routed to Sunset Boulevard. If I had to guess, I would say they do this to encourage guests to spend more at the shops that are still open, but to a cold, tired and grumpy guest who’s not feeling well (as was I), these extra steps just add to the frustration and maybe even slight dis-satisfaction.

Exit Magic Kingdom
Another example of poor exit routing that has puzzled me over the years still exists at MK and of course, we experienced it. When leaving MK late at night, many times they will only open a few turnstiles/lanes on the far right side (walking toward the lake) for exiting. We just so happened to exit Town Square via the left tunnel nearest Town Square Theater and then were “kindly” routed to the far right where we were able to walk through a turnstile. Unlike the exit at DHS where there were  gift shops to pass thru, there is NOTHING here, so it really doesn’t make any sense to me. Perhaps it’s manpower issue or something else, but for guests heading to the busses, and thinking they can save a few steps by going thru the left tunnel, but then being re-directed to the other side only to have to traverse back the other way to the left to reach their transportation completely baffles me, and truth be told it kind of made me angry too considering I was already tired and not feeling well.
I know all of these are minor, and in some sense the rants of a somewhat exasperated (grumpy) fan of the parks, mostly due to not feeling well. None of these are really of the effect that they would make me not want to go back, nonetheless, they are irritants that seemingly could be easily fixed to make for a much better experience, not just for myself, but maybe a few other occasionally grumpy fans.
How about you? What irritants have you found at Disney that don’t make sense, and might have just made your vacation a little better, aside from long lines of course.

  1. Chad U
    May 31, 2013 at 6:29 am

    I couldn’t agree more with your opinion on the sanitary wipes, especially at places like Cosmic Rays where there is a toppings bar where the spoons are touched by everybody in the restaurant. Having to go to the restroom to wash my hands before eating sometimes turns my warm burger into a cool burger.
    Leaving the parks, especially late at night, can be very frustrating. I have often thought the very same thing about leaving Fantasmic after the late viewing. I love Fantasmic, but the experience after it has on several occasions dampened my spirits. On my last visit to MK it took us almost 2 hours to get from Space Mountain to our car at the end of the night. As you pointed out, they routed us through the right-hand side, and then we find that they are only running one monorail loop back to the TTC, and there didn’t appear to be the usual number of monorails running. The crowd that night was not happy leaving the Happiest place on Earth. I emailed Disney about it when I returned home, and they contacted me, but it would be interesting to hear if they corrected it.

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