Stranded at Disney World: Hurricane Matthew; $12.99 sad box lunches; 3 hour waits for food; complete disorganization
Hello to everyone new following me on twitter after my pix went viral. I’m Oni – you can learn more about me on the left column. But TL; DR I’m the woman who runs (Re)Generation Who, which is major Doctor Who convention in Maryland this March featuring Michelle Gomez, Karen Gillan, and a ton more folks to be announced. :)
This has been a strange #OniHaunts year. (To the new folks, I am also one of the highest read-Halloween/haunted attraction-focused writers, so if you like haunted houses check here.) in the I am currently in Florida attempting to cover the Florida haunts but instead I am stranded at Walt Disney World, bracing for Hurricane Matthew to hit us. I love Disney, so this could be worse. :)
While I appreciate all of the Cast Members here helping us, I can’t say that Disney corporate has handled this the best. Tomorrow, all food services will be closed. We received a phone call telling us not to worry and to come to the lobby and get a box meal. We all thought to trust Disney and didn’t go off site to shop for groceries. We don’t have a big refrigerator in our room so if Disney has us covered then cool.
We were advised to buy enough food for tomorrow inclusive of lunch and dinner. Disney at no point showed us what was in the boxes we were buying.
The problem? They are charging an incredibly elevated price for shockingly meager / bad food. Every park guest who saw me with the boxes stopped me on my way back to the room warning me I’d be shocked when I opened the box.
I thought “How bad could it be?” Well this is what I paid $12.99 plus tax for:
Don’t believe me? Here:
The line was about 30 minutes long when I got mine.
When the parks closed at 5PM the place got flooded and the line expanded to over 1.5 hours and then to 3 hours. It literally wrapped around the Port Orleans: French Quarter lobby twice and went through the gift shop. At 12:00 the line wrapped back and forth about 3 times as well–it’s a lot larger than it looks. Here’s a pano. It’s the best shot I could get – too crowded. The line moved about 3 people every 10 minutes. Very slow. This is before it wrapped around twice. Sorry its not clearer – but it was very chaotic and slippery so I could not easily get a better photo without stepping on a kid or something:
I am pretty surprised that Disney doesn’t have a better method of handling this and that they are charging such an elevated price for their emergency food boxes. I spoke politely to a Cast Member / Manager who refunded me – but there are thousands of Guests paying this cost for their food for tomorrow when concessions are closed. Heads up to all there – if you are at WDW and you say something they might refund you.
It’s puzzling because there’s been very little communication from WDW and when they did they first told us that they had this in hand. I was also told they were not closing the food concessions. Then I found they didn’t have it in hand and they were closing the food concessions.
I waited in line for over 2 hours (after asking if there was enough food for all and being told yes) for the last night of hot food to be told right when I was almost at the head of the line that they were shutting off hot food and that I was out of luck. Then suddenly they changed their minds and opened up hot food again. I guess someone complained. I have to admit – I was close to passing out and felt sick and the idea of no food after standing in line for that long was not cool.
The Cast Members have been phenomenal, but the pre-planning and implementation from Disney corporate has been pretty poor and I truly feel it put these kind folks into a tough situation that could have been avoided with a modicum of thought. The park guests have all been super polite to the CMs who are truly keeping the “Disney Magic” idea alive. I just wish that Disney corporate would have supported this better so they could have had an easier time doing it. I’m going to cut this post short because I’m pretty dizzy after today. I’ll update again with how things are going here as a Hurricane Matthew refugee at Disney World.
Oni Hartstein is an New Jersey-based entrepreneur that is obsessed with Marketing, Music, and Technology. Please direct all business inquiries or technology review requests to the "Contact" tab on the top nav bar.
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