I get it. I really do. I know that every time I publish a review of a resort, vacation or hotel, at the back of your mind you may be thinking, “Yeah, but was it all roses because you received special treatment? Did they go over and above because they knew you were reviewing their property?”
Okay, so the truth is – YES – often perks and rewards are bestowed upon us media folk. But certainly, it’s to be expected; it’s the same reason you clean your home before company arrives, grab the best wine and/or break out the fine silverware. You want your guests to leave with a wonderful impression. Because the truth is, if they knew that you actually just dusted in front of the picture frames instead of lifting them off the shelf, and that the wine currently stocked in your wine cellar was purchased 15 minutes before your guests arrived – maybe they wouldn’t tell your friends about the perfect dinner party you hosted. And that’s all we really want, isn’t it? Kudos. Pats on the back. Good press.
Hence, when writing reviews, I’m always sensitive to the “bonuses” that members of the media receive, and refrain from gushing or being overly obnoxious about them. You will rarely see me Facebook a perk, freebie or something else that is unique to my situation as a blogger; my attitude is, if my reader won’t be offered special treatment, there’s no need to prove that I was.
So, it gives me great pleasure to tell you about a wonderful – no, magical – example of exemplary customer service that we experienced this past Sunday at Walt Disney Resort in Orlando, Florida. Staying at the Contemporary Resort for the Disney Social Media Moms Conference, read on for an example of the Disney Difference – not because I am media personnel (he had no way of knowing), but because I am a person. Here’s what happened.
We were booked for the 4:20pm Magical Express to take us to the airport for our return flight. Since we were flying out of Buffalo, we were able to take advantage of Disney’s Resort Airline Check-in. Simply put: we could check our bags and receive our boarding pass right there at the resort, and then jump on a complimentary shuttle to the airport. After ridding ourselves of our heavy luggage, we decided to make our way to Hollywood Studios, to ride Star Tours… oh, 8-10 times.
However, at some point between the 35°C heat and the repeated passage on the simulator ride, Ryder began to feel sick. All the classic symptoms of heat exhaustion, really; irritability, drowsiness, complaining of thirst, and an overall feeling of malaise. And, since I was so wrapped up in making sure he was okay, I did something really silly – when I checked my phone, I thought “3:45 pm” read as “2:45 pm”. So yeah, by the time I figured out my mistake and we booted it back to the Contemporary Resort, we had missed our 4:20 pm Magical Express.
Truth be told, I wasn’t too concerned. I knew there would be another leaving at 4:50pm, 5:20pm, 5:50pm… etc. And, since our flight wasn’t until 7:20pm and our bags were already checked, there was no real emergency. We just had to make sure there was room on the 4:50pm bus. So, after collecting our carry-ons from bell services, I ventured to the front of the hotel and explained the situation to the Magical Express coordinator.
Me: (Eyeing his name tag) Hi Greg!
Greg: Hello there! How are you?
Me: Well, I have a small problem.
Greg: How can I help?
(Note: Greg didn’t say, “What’s the problem?” – rather, he immediately jumped in and committed to helping me find a solution. Love that.)
Me: Well, my little guy was under the weather in the park, and in turn we missed our Magical Express.
Greg: That’s not a problem.
I followed him over to a podium where I assumed he would check for availability on the next shuttle. Instead, he simply grabbed a taxi chit, filled in a few details, and said,
“Are you ready to leave now? Or would you like to cool off in the hotel for a while? I can arrange for towels if you’d like to freshen up.”
“Um, no…” I sputtered. “You really don’t have to do that. We can take the next Magical Express, I don’t want to put you out.”
“You’re not putting me out”, he laughed. “Everything is already taken care of. This chit even includes a tip, so unless the taxi driver sings and dances for you, you don’t even have to worry about that. Honestly. Just go inside, rest a bit, and when you’re ready to leave, the taxi will be waiting here for you.”
“Are you sure?” I asked.
“Listen, you’ve got a little guy who’s under the weather. And the last thing you need is to board a bus that makes multiple stops. Relax; it’s my pleasure to make your vacation the best it can be, right up until you board your flight.”
And THAT’S the Disney Difference.
“Well Greg,” I said. “You’re so awesome, and you know what? You’ve helped someone who has the ability to tell the world how amazing you are,” I said. “I’m a Disney Social Media Mom, and you just know I’m going to put this on social media! Can I take a picture with you?”
Stunned, Greg posed for a photo. (Thanks again Greg!)