Okay, first off let me state right off the bat, I don't want anyone to be mislead by the title coming in. An actual Annual Passholder didn't cause the problems and neither did the program itself, but my Annual Pass card did. So don't expect me to blame Annual Passholders or the AP program in general. With that said, let me continue with a little backstory...
On May 25, 2012, a few days after the huge AP price spike, I got my first Annual Pass to the Disneyland Resort. It was a Deluxe Pass and I was extremely excited to use it thoroughly until it would expire in 2013. One year later on May 25, 2013, my family and I renewed my Annual Pass online, except this time we upgraded it to a Premium Pass before the price spike would hit. I then went to the resort around midday to receive my new Premium card and test it out. So I got my card and then tried to use it at the Disneyland Gates. I was rejected and told that I was blocked on that day, which was weird since it was a Premium Pass and has no blocked out days (Even stated that the card was a Premium on the back). I explained to them that I just got the card today online and went to the park to pick it up. The people at the gate demanded to see a receipt for my card still, even though there was no receipt from buying it online. So I had to backtrack to the ticket booth to the same boother (Is that what they're called?) to try and resolve the problem. After much time passed the boother gave me a small pass thing. It overrides the rejected pass and allows me entry into the park as a temporary solution. I tried both my Premium Pass and the temporary pass (I forgot what they are called. Sorry) at both Disneyland and California Adventure the same day at least once. Both times the gates rejected my card and both times I had to show my temporary pass. I was pretty okay with that day since I was given a temporary pass to allow me entrance into the parks and was reassured that the problem would be fixed. I left the resort that night with a rather happy feeling knowing that Disney will always try their best to solve a guest's problems as fast as they can.
Now before I continue on, I need to lay down a bit more backstory. I am in High School as of now and is (Or at least was seeing that my sophmore term just ended) in French 1. French class has a French Club, and French Club members that work a certain number of hours for the club gets the opportunity to go to Disneyland for the day. I believe each member that was eligible to go would only have to pay around $89 for a single park-hopper ticket good for one day (It included shuttle service from school to the park and back). I was not part of French Club. I was, however, on very good relations with my French teacher and had a good friend who was going to Disneyland. So I asked my French Teacher if I could tag along since I wouldn't have to pay anything and I would have my own transportation there and would simply meet them at the park. My teacher said yes. The trip to the Disneyland Resort was slated to be Saturday, June 1st, 2013.
Okay, now we are up to the times now. Fast forward to Saturday, June 1st, 2013. I was supposed to meet them at the Disney esplanade between DL and DCA. Traffic, however, made me late for the meeting so the party went into the parks without me (For reference my teacher and her accompanying friends and family went to DCA whilst the students went to DL) I was on a frantic race to try and catch up with them before I lost track and contact with them (I knew none of their phone numbers so I had to outsource to my teacher who did have their numbers. There was also the problem of them not answering their phones, but that's a different story). When I got to the gate, I was greeted by a rejection because the machines thought that I was still a Deluxe Pass Holders. I still had my temporary pass and used it at that time. I was in such a rush and a worry that I pushed aside any questions or concerns about the card aside in my brain. After much hectic calling and worrying on a bench on Main Street, I finally met up with the group at the base of the Matterhorn, saying hello to all the people I didn't know and getting acquainted with them. In the following hours we had a good time riding the Matterhorn, Star Tours, Indiana Jones, eating at the Golden Horseshoe with a show, etc., the thought of my AP rejection flew right out of my mind.
A little after midday we then headed over to DCA to meet up with my teacher and company who were waiting at the flagpole in DCA. So I was last in line to have the tickets checked, and when I came up with my pass and the pass got rejected, I pulled out my temporary pass once again. Except this time I asked the Cast Member what was going on and did a quick recap about my Annual Passholder situation and how it should've been taken care of last week or so. The Cast Member got his supervisor out or something and he took both my AP Card and the temporary pass to the ticket booths. My group waited...and waited...and waited at the flag pole. In fact my teacher and the group leader came over to ask why I was being held up. I explained to them rather quickly what was going on and apologized for the inconvenience. They said it was okay and that they will be waiting under the flagpole for me. So 15 or 20 minutes or so pass I believe. While waiting I think some members of my party went to window shop while I struck up conversations with the Cast Member who was manning the gates. (A little off topic, but he was fun to talk to. We conversed about about some shops around the area and somehow it led to the old pumped-air sneakers and such. Quite a fun talk actually.) The supervisor comes back with my AP card ad hands it back. He says that there should be no more problems from here on end. So I was not handed back my temporary pass since it wasn't needed at all. I said goodbye to the Cast Member I talked to thanking him for such a nice conversation and he responded back thanking me for being so level headed. The supervisor also gave me those group fast-passes for the Tower of Terror (At my request) for a group of 15 people. My party and I then went on out merry way and had an absolute BLAST. (If you don't mind me being a little more off topic here, for my Deluxe Pass, whenever I went to Disneyland, I went alone. Parents dropped me off and I spent the whole day at the parks alone. During the latter half of my ownership of the pass, I tended to sit in a quiet section of the park and just take in my surroundings. It became very lonely. So actually spending it with a group of people [Who were NOT family members as usual] was a massively rewarding experience and I hope to do it again some time in the future. It may be cliche to talk about it that way, but I literally made memories I will never forget that day.)
Fast forward to later that night. My party would be leaving at 9:30 that night since that would be the time their shuttle takes them back home. We decided to go back to Disneyland to see if we would catch one final ride (Pirates of the Caribbean was decided upon, a ride I absolutely love). So once again, I was in the back of the line and lo and behold...my AP Card was REJECTED! I was absolutely dumbfounded...the problem was taken care of...TWICE! Once on the same day when I got the card and again today when the supervisor said that the problem was resolved. I actually felt my blood begin to boil that night. And apparently the group didn't see my dilemma and went on without me, thinking I was tagging along as usual, except for one girl who tried to catch their attention but couldn't. She stayed behind waiting for me when the group got too far away for her. Now back to me. They were asking if I had that temporary pass on me...but I didn't since the supervisor at DCA took it away since he said the whole problem should be resolved! So THAT Cast Member had to call HER supervisor over to resolve the problem. By this time it was already 9:00 and the party was quite a whiles away at this point. Like far enough that by the time they trek back to us and go back to where they were the park and attractions would already be closed, so I don't necessarily blame them for staying where they were and riding Pirates of the Caribbean without us...So after a little more confusion with the supervisor and Cast Member, I was finally allowed entry. Now excuse me Mice Chat Moderators for the language, but the girl that stayed behind was extremely pissed off. She wasn't angry at me (I tried to apologize for holding her up, but she said she didn't blame me) She was angrier at the fact that the rest of the party abandoned us and told her that they were staying where they were due to the time constraints it would take to walk back. We sat on a bench on Main Street for a couple of minutes. My emotions ran really high. It swayed between blood boiling anger at the fact that the situation should of been solved more than a week ago but didn't to extremely guilty for holding up the group and eventually the girl, making her miss out on the fun with the group. We rode Star Tours together and I bought her a caramel covered apple to try and make her feel a little bit better. Even if she said she didn't blame me, I still felt guilty because it was my situation that caused the problem. She did thank me for the apple and I finally got a smile out of her.
We finally met up with the group, teacher, and company at the esplanade at roughly 9:30. The tension in the air was tense enough that it would require a chainsaw to cut through it. The rest of the party couldn't look at the two of us in the eye. Half of them looked angry while the other half looked guilty. My teacher and company also sensed the tension. It was a very uncomfortable situation as they walked off towards Downtown Disney, leaving me at the esplanade alone (Since I would be going home at 11:00). I had so many emotions and too many questions running through my body. I had nowhere else to go so I took it up to City Hall. When I entered through the Disneyland Gates, I FINALLY entered without rejection or complications and took my complaints up to City Hall. I laid down my whole story from beginning to end; from the time I got my new pass online to the awkward tension in my group as they left (I must commend the Guest Relations lady for sitting through my whole rant) and only had two simple question: Why did this happen? And Why did it take so long to fix? She answered that sometimes when renewing a pass online, I may own the new Premium Pass, but the computer didn't delete my information for the Deluxe so it counts the Premium as a Deluxe which caused the problem. She said it is a common occurrence and that if there are any further troubles I should take it up to the ticket booths next time it happens (Even though I COULDN'T given the situation I was in where I had 15+ people waiting on me for about 30 minutes!) I wasn't answered why it wasn't fixed at DCA even though it was claimed that is was, or why it took so long to fix from the beginning. A simple problem like this could've been solved within a day, but it took roughly 2 weeks to fix. And by the time it was fixed the damage was done! But I was so focused on trying to stay calm and collective while I kept my bottle up anger and boiling blood inside of me that I didn't even care and forgot to ask for an answer for my latter question(s). I got out as quickly as I could before I accidentally blew up at the Guest Relations Cast Member. And I did what I normally do whenever I start to feel stressed while in the park; take a ride on the Disneyland Railroad, sitting there to ponder what got me so stressed out, why I am still stressing out, and how to handle the situation that is still stressing me out. I did that for the rest of the night until the train I was on was put away for the night. I continued my pondering on Its a Small World until the park closed and I got my ride home where I proceeded to pass out in the car and on my bed when I got to it. I have not felt this tired from a trip to Disneyland in a LONG time. It must of been a combination of both the extreme fun I had and the extreme stressfulness of the situation.
I woke up sore in the afternoon of the following day, staring up at the ceiling. Voice gone weak from the screams of enjoyment last night, body sore and stiff from all the walking and moving, and mind weak from pondering too hard and keeping a lot of my emotions bottled up inside. I was in a very sour mood and still a little stressed that afternoon as I got up. The sour mood still carrying over from last night along with the stressfulness. For the whole day I did very mellow activities like laying in bed, watching TV, listening to my record player, etc. to try and calm myself down. Whilst doing all that I was pondering on if I should post this to MiceChat or not, and whether I should give the whole story or just a cliff notes version. Well it's pretty obvious which path I chose. So after about 10 hours of doing mellow activities, I finally got myself in a mood where I wanted to type. And lo and behind, the entire thing is here, right in front of you in full wall-of-text glory.
To end my post, I want to do a quick recap of the main points from my trip and pose a few questions I hope someone will finally answer for me...
So I got my new Premium Annual Pass online and received my physical card the same day. For some reason the card was rejected so I was given a temporary pass to go along with it. 1 or 2 weeks later I would meet up with friends at the park. My card was still rejected so I had to still rely on my temporary pass. My temporary pass was taken away and I was told the problem should of been fixed. Later that night I still had problems which caused a lot of stress and tension between my party and myself (Especially myself since I felt guilty because I was the one causing the situation with my card). I left the Park that night with a sour mood.
Before I continue on, I would just like to to say this has got to be the first and worst experience I have had thus far at the Disneyland Resort. Let me say that again. The first and worst experience. True, there are more heinous crimes that could be committed, but for the record they were the first and worst. I have never, in all my days of visiting Disneyland, felt such emotions like I did that night and have a simple situation that needed a simple fix take so long to repair. I know people and companies make mistakes, but when a company such as Disney is touted with stellar customer service, making sure we receive the best experiences and that problems are taken care of ASAP, AND my family and I pay $650 for their product, I expected more. I don't expect a lot, I just expect the basics that are stated, but I certainly expected more than what I got. I am disappointed at the least, and as of the moment typing this up, angry, which is a really weird feeling. In all my 16 years of living, soon to be 17, I have held the Disney Corporation and the Disneyland Resort in the highest regards. Yes, I understand they have made mistakes in the time that I have been living and I may not of been pleased with what was done, but I still had most of my expectations reached. Here, they were not reached and in the end because of it, it caused problems that still followed me the next day. It actually took 6 rejections to fix. 6! The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd were on the day I got my card and temporary pass. The 4th was on the day I was meeting up with the group but didn't have time to question. The 5th was the one going to California Adventure and then being told the problem was fixed. The 6th and final one was the one that caused the tension between my party members and the eventual stress and anger that ensued. I never dreamed of me saying it and I wish I never have to say it again, but I am extremely disappointed, because as of now, the word 'really' doesn't explain how I feel about the whole ordeal well enough.
Now, question time.
- Why did it take so long to fix to AP problem? As shown on that Saturday I went with the party, it takes less than 24 hours to resolve the situation on the computer. The pass I was given to allow me entrance for the day was temporary and was never intended to be used beyond that day. Yet I had to resolve back to that pass to allow me entrance. In fact I thought the problem would be solved on the same day that I reported it to the Ticket Booth. And as stated before, it took 6 rejections to finally get it right. You know the saying 'Third time's the charm'? Well how about the sixth? yeah, it starts to wane on your emotions by then.
- If this is a recurring problem, why doesn't Disney go down on it harder? The Guest Relations Cast Member told me it is a common problem. If it is common enough, why don't they do something more about it? It was shown that the problem can be solved within a 24 hour time period, heck even a 30 minute time period. It's like having an old TV where every time you want to watch, you have to smack the side a few times for the picture and sound to come in clearly. You know there is a problem and you have the resources to fix the problem, but you don't and keep on allowing the problem to happen time and time again.
- Why isn't communication between the Ticket Booth and the Park Gates working properly? When at DCA and the supervisor took my AP card and temporary pass, then gave them back and then told me the problem was solved, why wasn't that info passed to the computer at Disneyland? They run on the same information. If I was allowed into DCA why was I held up back at Disneyland that night? It just doesn't make any sense to me. I was told it will work from now on but it didn't. It failed one more time before the system got it right. It creates this weird communications triangle between the gates and ticket booth. The ticket booth told Disneyland that my pass was okay on the day I got my pass but the info wasn't passed onto the computers at DCA, and later on DCA told the Ticket Booth about my problem and DCA told me the problem was fixed and shouldn't happen again, but the information wasn't passed onto the Disneyland computers from either the DCA ones or the Ticket Booth ones!
Sorry if this is long to everyone, but I just HAD to release all those inner emotions...which didn't work since I still have anger that I can feel down in my diaphragm. I just want to punch a pillow because the situation caused a lot of unnecessary problems that could of been solved quite easily but weren't. They were only solved after the situation got very bad. I just want my questions answered, please.
Thank you for taking the time to read through this wall of text, understanding my concerns, and if you will be doing so, thanks for typing a reply. It really means a lot to me with every post, since I just want to get to the bottom of this to find out what is going on because I do NOT want to have the same stressful awkward emotions I had ever again at the parks like what I felt last night. If and when I go back and my card still has problems, I think I will just cry.
I am severely disappointed in you Disney for the first time in my life. I expected more from you, but got less than what I paid and expected for. No amount of free fast passes for any amount of people will fix the emotional stress my party and I felt that night. I will be returning to the resort of course, but I will never forget that day. Half of it will be remembered for the extremely happy memories with old and new friends alike while the latter half will be remembered in infamy for the problems and emotions felt and experienced.
Now if you'll excuse me I need to go punch a pillow.