To my friends, family, fellow Disney nuts, and casual spectators, I assure you I had a good time on this vacation, I’ll eventually get around to writing the good memories, but I’m still in my RAGE CAGE, so…you’ll just have to take this post as the catharsis it is.
Magic Band of idiots
If you book a trip to the Walt Disney Resort, there’s a 99% chance you’ll be goaded into wearing a bulky RFID (Radio Frequency Identification Device) that not only tracks everything you do, it serves as your one stop shop for all things Disney. From room key to park tickets, to your scheduled Fast Pass + and even photos, the band is intrusive, needless, and most importantly, glitches up at any given time. Because Disney invented the concept of rebranding turds and sprinkling them with Pixie Dust, they call these albatrosses, “MAGIC Bands.”
Go with me here, because the explanation is tedious at best. About SIX MONTHS before your departure for Mouse World, you are forced to sign up online and create a “My Disney” account. This web-based hub becomes the center of your entire Vacation experience; they don’t tell you this, that’s why I’m here to explain how the sausage is made. The “My Disney” experience is flawed and I spent hours with tech support trying to remedy the nonsense.
As with everything Disney, I was assured my issue was “GOOD TO GO & FIXED,” when it was far from remedied, but that’s the curse of this vainglorious conglomerate. Disney deals in such volume, that the staff will promise all is good, just to get you off the line. Due to the hoards of people lining up to bleed money for the Mouse, staff never truly have to follow-up or own a problem, which is good because in the universe of animatronics, there are VERY FEW options in the troubleshooting script. Once a customer has a problem or issue that strays from the paved and well-manicured path, you can practically hear the panic in the Cast Member’s voice.
“Oh sh*t this b*tch done f*cked up the internets, guess I’ll tell her it’s fine and let some other jack*ss take the heat next round.”
Once within a 60 day window of arrival, you are instructed to plan your vacation, reserving rides for parks you vaguely know you’ll be visiting. This is where most of my fellow Disney Dork brethren will extole the virtues and FUN(!) of pre-planning each and every move of your Disney vacation. I was once a Type A+++++ Disney plan-aheader. Anyone looking for a laid back, relaxing vacation (AKA most sane people,) you’re going to have to suck it up and realize that this is a DISNEY VACATION; relaxation and open-ended plans are strictly verboten.
The next SUPER AWESOME(!) part is YOU MUST FULLY SUBMIT YOU GET TO DOWNLOAD THE OFFICIAL DISNEY WORLD APP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The My Disney App, one of the only free things Disney has ever offered, is tied to your forced online account with ride reservations. This app is what you will use every day and night. Need a bathroom, they’ve got the locations, want a Churro, they’ll put you in the path of the cinnamon wafts, the My Disney App tells you when to ride sh*t, and where to take one. Don’t have a smart phone or internet access? F*CK YOU, POORY!
The official line from Disney claims you can still visit the resort without jumping through all these digital hoops, but I’m pretty sure upon arrival they just round those dinosaurs up and make them ride Ellen’s Energy Adventure in EPCOT 8 times in a row (an officially sanctioned form of torture.)
30 Days before your fun hole arrives in Florida, Disney sends you a box containing MUCH FANFARE and pomp, CONGRATULATIONS, IT’S YOUR MAGIC(!) BANDS!
But what if your all-important Disney Account, the very one they told you was fixed and working properly, is as sideways as a cougar at an Applebee’s on payday? Why, you get an entire vacation (plus week afterwards) dealing with WORLD-CLASS customer f*ckery. What happens after the programmed army of smiling zombies goes off the limited script and training scenarios? Massive chaos.
It started the moment we landed and walked the mile to the MAGICAL EXPRESS(!) terminal. Dad’s knees are unable to walk such long distances; the old man never looked more pained as we made our way to the MAGICAL EXPRESS. Renouncing all assistance, Pops waved off a wheelchair multiple times. My blood began to boil, at their poor terminal placement, WHAT THE F*CK, DISNEY!? After an arduous walk with Cap’n Pain McGrimace, we were soon in a crush of people, all fresh off planes and exhausted from slogging their families and carry-ons through the airport. Ah, the first of many lines!
After 10 minutes of me sweating and muttering “should’ve booked a town car,”we made it to the front of the line.
“Scan your magic bands, please.”
I accidentally left two at home, my bad. Already talked to the front desk at my hotel and they assured me it would be easy to fix.
Puzzled, the gentleman asked me our names, each he manually checked off.
That’s the 5 year old.
That’s the old man y’all almost killed with this walk.
Without skipping a beat, he said once more: “Lauren Vennison?”
Yes, I already told you that’s me, what about my husband, Mace Vennison?
“Lauren Vennison, is that your name Sir?”
L4L: No, it’s not.
“Well, I have two Lauren Vennisons.”
L4L: Obviously, there’s a mistake.
“Hmmm, ok, I guess it will have to work.”
We arrive at Disney’s Contemporary Resort an hour later. A wide-eyed staff member greeted us as if we were family. His warm tones and FUN(!) demeanor all but faded away as he brought up my reservation.
“So, I have a reservation for 4, Valor, Bill, and 2 Laurens?
No, there is only one Lauren, it needs to be changed to my husband, Mace. He has a MAGIC(!) band, but I left home without it. He needs a new one of those silly bands, BTW.
After 2 minutes of an infuriating “Who’s on First,” skit starring yours truly and a college kid with smoke coming out of his ears, the problem mercifully came to a quick resolution. Squared away, we were off to our room, which was one of the absolute best views in the World (of Disney.)
“Hey, every good Vacation has a little bit of conflict in it, best get the snafu out of the way now, and then it’s SMOOTH SAILING!” I chuckled to my Dad, who had just picked up his spiffy new red race car of a Scooter (more on that later!)
Hours later, when we entered the parks for the first time, our fingerprints were scanned and matched to our bands, only the bands wouldn’t properly link, so we held up a line for a while. Finally, after holding your wrist a certain way and sliding the one special finger on the coordinating pad at just the right time, the MAGIC READER lights up green and you are permitted into the land of the $14.00 turkey leg. To say that this process is seamless is a complete lie, to call it MAGICAL is egregious.
For those of you keeping score: Disney now has me rubber shackled to their system, and is tracking my every move, the device is also tied to all of our plans while on the premises, all purchases, and now my finger print. The only magical thing about these electronic abortions, is that Disney gets their customers to freely accept this Big Brother bullsh*t.
For the rest of the trip, our magic bands randomly stopped working and due to the impressive incompetence of the software AND Disney’s Contemporary Resort staff, I write you as a $1500.00 victim of the fallacies in CUTTING EDGE TECHNOLOGY.
When Dad’s fiance arrived, he made a detour at the desk to add her to his bill, as Dad had his own card tied to his seperate account and magic band, so not to confuse his stuff with ours. That’s when the astounding idiots tied every future charge to L4L’s and my account/magic bands. Oh, and just for extra-special DISNEY MAGICAL sh*ts and giggles, they double charged Dad too.
After hours of combing their supreme fuckups over and over again, because literally NO ONE OWNS OR FOLLOWS UP ON SH*T IN THIS OVERPRICED RAT-TRAP OF MEDIOCRITY, Disney had one last turgid encounter with our bank account.
Long boring story short: Dummys were wrong and went about fixing it. In 3-5 days we were to receive an $800.00 credit for the over charges. Hooray! Problem solved? F*ck no, these morons also hit our account up for another $700.00 AFTER WE SETTLED THE FOLIO, FIXES AND ALL, for no good damn reason.
As I write this in my rage stupor, I’m in awe at the breath-taking bafoonery we have been subjected to. Luckily, L4L is on the case and he’s super nice thorough, and extremely patient. Yes, rather than get nowhere but frustrated with some first class clowns, I’m letting Mace, AKA the voice of reason, sort this out.
I do know this, if you worked ANYWHERE but the Hellscape of monogrammed matching T-Shirts that is Walt Disney World, you bet your sweet a** you’d be fired. I once had a bank teller forget to give me $300.00, before I even noticed it, the Bank Manager was waiting to apologize and fix it. Can you imagine if you overcharged a customer/client/bake sale attendee by $1500.00? You’d be brought up on charges!
I could go on and on about the incompetent staff and the flawed STUPID magic band. I could tell you about the countless memaws and pepaws forced to re-scan over and over again because they couldn’t get the hang of Disney’s half-baked tech nonsense. But I’m not going to.
Why? Because most of you sluts reading this are still going to be readily submitting your identity, wallets, and precious quality family time, to the Brutal Mouse Master drenched in overpriced mediocrity. You’ll do it for the same reason I’ve been thirteen times (8 of which were spent at my once-loved Contemporary Resort.) Sadly, the cruel overlords know that for Disney Dorks like me, the siren song of fond childhood memories calls us back. All of the favorite rides are burned in my consciousness forever, line by line, script and all. I’ve devoted an entire room in my home to recreating my cherished Haunted Mansion. While I can completely divorce myself of the boss-level greed and sub-par services, I can’t say goodbye to my beloved Haunted Mansion, yet. For now Disney World still has me and my heart by the long and wirys short and curlys.
Oh sure, it’ll be a cold day in Hell before I set foot in the Contemporary Resort, and at it will take at least 4 years to build up the stomach to go back for even an extended weekend. The Elysian Fields that once were WDW are no more.
Besides, for the price of a week at WDW (with all the trimmings, zero scrimps,) I can take my family to Europe (while it’s still around.)
One last MAGICAL(!) thing about the MAGIC BANDS, they send your information to the rides, and you’re randomly photographed at various stages of your visit. I know this because on It’s a Small World, the sign at the end said “Goodbye Lauren, Mace, and Valor!” There were other creepy as f*ck personalized touches that haunted us at every intrusive turn. Each thrill attraction automatically uploads a picture (or video clip) to your MAGICAL MY DISNEY EXPERIENCE APP! Yes, you’re part of the ride now, and don’t even know it, y’all!
Not only is Big Brother watching, he’s prepping his hand to go “Full Gepetto” on your little wooden buns. That’s right, Pinocchio, once you’re shackled to the MAGICAL DISNEY VACATION, you’re merely a puppet with some old creepy dude’s hand up your hi-ho if you know what I mean.
In closing, anytime MAGIC/MAGICAL is used regarding WDW, simply substitute SH*T/SH*TTY, because they are one in the same.
Until later my Babies, STAY PLASTIC!