VIP at Disney World

The question everyone has been asking!

HOW DID WE GET VIP AT DISNEY WORLD?

The answer: I have no idea!

I know that’s not the answer anyone was wanting but it’s mostly the truth. We asked and they just kept telling us it was magic! Here’s how it all went down…

We checked into Disney’s Coronado Springs. It was a pretty typical travel day with a few hiccups. I had ordered Amazon Prime Now to be delivered and attempted to find out how to get our order. I had to talk to several cast members before finding it then brought it back to the room with half the order missing. I called bell services a few more times before the order was eventually delivered around 11pm. The lady I spoke to around that time felt awful that it had taken so long and there had been a mistake with the delivery. I assured her it it was no big deal and I would have still been up anyway but she still felt bad. She insisted I fill out their survey to help them improve the process. I wasn’t negative about it but shared the experience.

The next morning we were heading into Epcot and a Florida number shows up on my cell. I didn’t answer at first but they kept calling back. It was our hotel guest relations manager. He was asking about our stay and our first day and our room. I assured him everything was great. He wanted to know details. It was all good. (I was really just trying to get him off the phone so I could help the kids get finger printed to go into the park!) He said he heard it could have been better and wanted to know more about the grocery delivery. I gave him a short version but assured him it wasn’t a big deal. He assured me it was. We started talking about the most magical place on earth and I told him how I had only recently learned that Disneyland was the happiest place on earth so I had to shift my thinking because we had been there and loved it so needed to stop comparing the two. He had just gotten back from Disneyland and knew exactly what I was talking about. He wanted to give us that same feeling about World! He added some extra fast passes to our magic bands and we were thrilled with that. I thanked him and was ready to get off the phone. Again. ;) He started asking about our room. I said it was great. He asked if a little extra room would be nice. Obviously I wasn’t going to say no! He said he would see what he could do and get back to me. He went over our plans for the day and gave us some tips and insider info then said he would check in later.

My phone service was terrible inside ride buildings but I did get some text messages letting us know we would be moving to a new room once we got back to the hotel. We called the back office when we arrived and they came and moved us to Casitas Building 1- the executive suite. Depending on the night this is a $1200-$1600/night suite! Everyone had their own bed and table for dining for that matter. It was located right off El Centro, the main building, so food and shopping and the best bus stop were just a minute away. And a gorgeous view!

This was awesome and we thought the week couldn’t get any better! However after settling in there was a knock at the door and the kids got presents from MICKEY!! Toys and snacks and treats- things they had been begging for at the park but we didn’t let them get. I was convinced that cameras had been following us and they knew what our kids had been begging for. Rusty was convinced someone was paying for the VIP treatment and had set the whole thing up (we later added up everything to around $15,000 so we are pretty sure that wasn’t the case). Our fairy godfather (Aaron), insisted it was just the magic of Disney!

As the week went on the gifts continued, more favorite toys and treats, food, drinks, VIP events, Fastpasses everyday, etc. Our fairy godfather would check in with us in the morning and see if we needed anything. It was the most amazing guest service I’ve ever experienced. I can’t even put into words how awesome it was. I just got an email from him again today checking in to see how we were doing and telling us to keep in touch. Hanging out with him was the highlight of the trip for me- our entire family agreed he’s part of the crew now.

So how to up your chances of VIP treatment?
Ours was honestly a God thing. There were a lot of things that came from the week that only God could have orchestrated and a lot of very personalized gifts that only He knew our hearts needed.
So aside from the God and magic of Mickey factor, I don’t have much to add BUT I did make some observations this week….

Kind people get fast passes, crabby people get stickers. I noticed over and over again as I talked to various cast members in the park that they were at liberty to hand out fast passes and they would do so often once you started chatting with them. I connected with several cast members- just asking about their story, their job, how they ended up there, etc. Almost all of them would say they’ve stuck around so many years for the people and then would generally hand out some extra fast passes. We obviously had more than we knew what to do with anyway but it was still fun because they would hand out paper ones then we could gift them to other guests we met at the park and it was fun to make their day! On the other hand, if our kids were whining or crabby cast members would offer them stickers. We got our fair share of those as well. ;)

It’s okay to let them know if something isn’t as magical as it could be… but do it nicely. We met a couple on the bus. They weren’t having a great trip. She had complained at the front desk but nothing happened. I suggested the guy go back down and nicely talk to them about it and nicely fill out the survey. We saw the same couple the next day- they had done it and it worked! They got VIP fast passes and some dining credits added to their plan. So while Disney wants to do everything they can to make your stay magical, they are less likely to do it for you if you’re being a jerk about it.

Finally, our hotel was undergoing refurbishment. My best guess is that most people spending $1400/night on a hotel suite are probably going to opt for a hotel not under construction. That being the case, our upgraded side of the hotel was pretty quiet, leaving open rooms available for upgrade opportunities.

Again, I think mostly it comes down to the Magic of Mickey but being nice can never hurt! We’re so grateful that we had this once in a lifetime experience and I wish everyone could experience Disney this way! <3

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Disneyland Vs Disney World

EDITED: Disclaimer… I think it should be noted that I change my mind on this subject about every other day. For the stage of life we are in (strollers!), LAND is a great choice BUT my next trip will likely be WORLD with just Beckett. So please don’t quote me on anything below. ;)

Original post:
I’m taking a very unpopular stance and going with LAND on this one. Don’t get me wrong- we LOVED Disney World. It was the most amazing week and we had an awesome experience there… but there are just a lot of little things Disneyland does better that make it a better trip for our family with young kids. A lot of people were surprised we went with World this time anyway after our confessed love for Land but flights were way cheaper to Florida this summer and it made for a more affordable option of the two. That said, I enjoyed getting to compare the two and Land still has my heart… here are a few reasons why.

  1. The biggest difference we noticed was the people. We only encountered one cast member at Disneyland that wasn’t cheerful. That’s insane when you think about it. Everyone else we encountered was smiling, greeted us, wanted to know how they could help make our day more magical. It was the best guest service of anywhere I’ve ever been. I’m wondering if this has anything to do with the next point… (hold on a sec). I talked to several happy cast members at World and asked why they thought that might be. They said most of the parks at World have standards they need to meet (i.e. getting a certain number of people on a ride each hour) and they obviously encounter more people/more problems. They suggested Animal Kingdom was the happiest park to work at at World and from my observations I would agree. Even so, Disney (World, Land, Etc) still has better customer service than ANYWHERE else so don’t let this make you think it’s not great service. Now that next point…

  2. The weather. Sure, if you’re fortunate to take a Disney trip while it’s winter in the midwest, Florida weather will win out but for those of us on a teacher/coach schedule, June is where it’s at. It’s also rain season in Florida so we got hit by a downpour pretty much every afternoon we were there. Temps were comparatively cool for June- around 85 but cast members were still sweating and soaked which could have affected their moods (and other guest members’ too). That said, if Rusty gives up basketball someday we’ll be heading to WORLD in the winter!

  3. Size/location/transportation. For families with older kids (out of the stroller stage), World will win this one but Disneyland wins here for me. Sure, World has more parks, more rides, more to see and do but for me quality beats quantity here and for young kids Land offers plenty to make for a great experience. The bus service at world is free if you’re staying at a Disney resort but you have to fold up your stroller every time you ride (for us this was generally 2-4 times a day). At Disneyland you can stay at a good neighbor (read cheaper) hotel right across the street and walk over with your stroller leaving it packed from the day before. This was super convenient! From many of the resorts we saw your walk to your bus stop at World was just as long as the walk from the hotel to parks at land. Another bonus- not having to wait on a bus. Sometimes these waits could be 30-40 minutes depending on your stop/destination. Also, many of the rides that were the same at both parks I felt like land did it better. It’s a Small World at Disney World seems like one of those side of the road tourist traps when you’re comparing it to the one at Land. (I know that’s going to be a super unpopular opinion but visit the one at Land and you might agree!)

  4. Character Meals. The breakfast with Minnie and friends cannot be beat when it comes to the number of characters you’ll get to meet and the choice of food offerings (and for that matter, price!). Also, something little I didn’t even realize made a difference at land until it was missing at world- photo pass photographers! At land they follow the characters around and take ALL the photos. At World, they don’t so you are caught wrangling three kids, making trips to the buffet, mingling with characters and oh, Karen at the table next to you wants 20 shots of her and her kids with Pluto. Obviously I obliged but it was a small difference that made a big impact for me. BONUS- your reservation time is your reservation time at Land. We would be stuck waiting around 20-30 minutes or more for each reservation at World. Something to keep in mind if you have fastpass times around your meal. That said, WORLD offers a lot more character dining experiences so there’s something for everyone here (reluctantly I have to admit most people will say World wins this one). ;)

  5. Speaking of reservations. You can usually make them the day of at Land. Six months out at World. If you’re a laid back traveler and like to let people sleep in if they want, it’s hard to do this at World. Fast pass times are made 60 days before your trip so you have to do your research and have a good idea of what you want to do and when you want to do it several months in advance to make the most of your time at World. For Land you could literally read a couple blog posts a couple weeks out and have the time of your life. I enjoyed the planning process for both but planning for World can definitely be overwhelming for most.

  6. Other differences. Trash cans were easier to find/access at land. Lines shorter. Crowds smaller. Just overall I felt like Disneyland is a better experience than World for a family with young children.

That said- we would definitely go back to Disney World again! Especially when our kids are older. It does have a lot to offer that you won’t find at Land- Flight of Passage would be the top of B’s list there. And it’s definitely an amazing place to go. But comparing the two side by side I feel like there are some definite reasons that Disneyland is known as the HAPPIEST place on earth while World is known as the most MAGICAL. If you’re wanting to take young kids and trying to decide between the two, my vote would be for land.

Disclaimer: We had a fairy godfather at our hotel that took GOOD care of us. He set us up with everything we could need to have the most amazing week ever. Because of that, we would likely choose World again as long as he is still working there.