On Monday, we decided, given the significant amount of rain in the forecast and our lack of umbrellas, our morning top task was purchasing more of them.
I wanted to get a pair of good golf umbrellas that we could use once we left. I figured they’d have them since they have golf courses here as well.
We went to the main area of the hotel to get drinks in our refillable mugs (unlimited refills for a $14 souvenir cup that was included in our package), a ‘snack item’, umbrellas, and we had a few questions for the concierge.
Worried about the availability of umbrellas, we hit the gift store first. Unfortunately, there were no golf umbrellas available. Instead, there were small black pop-up ones with prominent white “Made in China” stickers on the handle. I bought four for $50, strung the straps of the four new ones through the one we had and held the one strap for all five umbrellas as we headed to get a bite to eat.
We first grabbed a cup of coffee and asked for a lightly toasted bagel. The woman behind the counter was not exuding the Disney magic and called to another woman to get us our bagel. The woman put it in the toaster (the ones that roll through the oven and slide out the bottom). Once it went through, the first woman took it, put it back on, and promptly made it very toasted. My wife didn’t let me say anything.
We checked out, indicated it was a snack on our plan and ate with my parents.
We topped off the drinks, got the girls a danish, and went back to the gift shop to see if we could find a nice hooded nylon pull-over for my wife. There was nothing in the woman’s section, but there was a menswear one that was nice, unfortunately the small was too big. As we were leaving the strap broke free from one of our new umbrellas. The person at the desk was nice enough and replaced it with a show of the receipt.
The concierge was next, we had a question about the shuttles to the parks and how to get to Universal from our hotel. Both answered and we were ready to head back to the room and off to Epcot.
As we got out our new umbrellas, I hit the button on the handle of mine and the base blew off from the umbrella and the button flew out. My mother offered to return this one for us so it didn’t appear that I was wantonly destroying the merchandise I’d recently purchased.
The shuttle system worked well, our driver was very nice and informative. At Epcot, our plan was simply start hitting the countries while it was dry, get as much in as we could, and then go to some of the indoor activities. We were pleasantly surprised to get in all but three countries without rushing and had a great lunch at the Summergarden in Germany. Only bummer there was they were out of bratwurst, frankfurters only.
The cast members in the park were all very pleasant and helpful. The Land and The Sea were probably our favorite non-country aspects of the park. We’re big on zoos and aquariums, so the Sea was very cool and we had dinner at the Coral Reef, which features views of the tank. Watching sharks, stingrays, and giant turtles drifting by the window as we ate was a great experience.
The shuttle ride back was packed as we left coinciding with the end of the fireworks and the park closing. The shuttles feature public transportation seating with seats on the side facing the middle and straps for others to hold. At the end of the night they pack these full. I gave up my seat to two girls, 5 and 7 years old. They wouldn’t have been able to reach the strap, it was late, and I can’t imagine it would have been too magical a ride for them. As it turned out they had fun talking to my daughter on the return trip and the parents were appreciative.
All in all we got a lot more done than we ever expected given the forecast. We were there until after nine and all had a great time, despite the occasional heavy showers.
Disney is regularly cited as doing the little things better than anyone, an impeccable attention to detail and customer experience.
I fully respect that their tasks are monumental given the size and scale of all the parks, hotels, etc. I also think for those who haven’t been there before, an honest assessment of what to expect is worthwhile, and hence my points that while honest, may not always be most flattering to the brand’s persona.