Poor Customer Experience…at Disneyland?!?

Hello, my name is Curtis and I am a Disneyland fanatic.

Friends call me for advice on how to best experience the parks. They get a two page email back.

I live in Colorado and I have an annual pass.

It’s just that bad.

We were just in southern California for freshman orientation at Azusa Pacific University. After a tearful good bye with our oldest son we headed over to the park for some “amusement”.

I never thought I’d say this but I walked away significantly underwhelmed by our visit.

I can remember not too long ago when you could get in for under $50. The price for visiting one park for one day is now $87. Okay, I get the fact that costs rise so, it hurts but I’ll still play along. Of course if you want to visit BOTH Disneyland AND California Adventure on the same day that will set you back $125.

So you would think you’d see the service level rise to match the price increase wouldn’t you?


We experienced no fewer than five ride outages in one day. Mind you that’s only counting the times we were in line for a ride and it went out. Who knows how many there were when we weren’t looking.

Queue management, something Disney is known for, was sorely lacking with lines spilling out into walkways more often than not on a day that was busy but no where close to the worst we’ve seen.

Worse yet cast members in those situations seemed continually put out by the trouble of having to manage the flow of people.

Three different times we were told that a clearly displayed offer of a discount didn’t apply to our situation because of some fine print that was not readily published.

I walked away feeling like Disneyland was telling me that I was fortunate just to be able to be in their presence so I should overlook the inconveniences.

Now, you could argue it was a hot day, large crowd, a couple of less than stellar cast members working queues, etc but those would all be excuses not reasons. There is no “reason” for poor service.

You might argue that I’ll go back so there is no real pressing need to fix any of these issues. You’d probably be right, I probably will go back. But then…I’ve never talked bad about Disneyland before and I am now.

How often do we allow circumstances to move from being excuses to being “reasons” for failed service? How often do we portray to customers that we just can’t care for EVERYBODY? How bad is one negative blog post about poor customer experience?

If hot temperatures, large crowds, and less than stellar cast members are becoming the norm I won’t need an annual pass any longer. I’ll just go one or two days in the off season to get my fix and keep my fond memories of great customer experience at Disneyland in tact.

When was the last time a company failed to meet your expectations as a customer?

6 responses to “Poor Customer Experience…at Disneyland?!?

  1. I used to think poor customer service was a result of low unemployment rates, but I’m rethinking this. Poor customer service still exists today. It doesn’t need to be that way.

    I’ve been impressed with Chick Fil-A. “My pleasure” to serve me. I love it each time I eat there. Compare this to oh-so-many other restaurants. No wonder their lines stretch out to the parking lot.

  2. Disneyland used to be the mark for customer service excellence. Always ready, always smiling, always clean. Hot or cold, crowded or not, they expected top notch, and accepted nothing less. I am very sad to think that Disneyland is losing the one thing that truly set them apart. Barbara

  3. Today… We have a T1 connection between two buildings that constantly drops. Today was one of those days. Over 7 hours for repair and I know it will go out once again.

  4. Ouch. What would Walt say? Or, Mr. Toad?

  5. Since you are on the topic of Disneyland and declining customer service. I wonder if they will honor my free pass from 1986. I won it on their “Donald Duck Birthday Celebration” promotion. It doesn’t have a expiration date so maybe, my gut say no, I will have to buy a full price ticket and the lowest price ticket will get in free.

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