Happy Festivus! Now Air Your Theme Park Grievances

December 23, 2014, 11:47 AM

What made you mad/angry/frustrated about theme parks and the theme park industry in 2014? Now is the time for the airing of grievances!

Replies (22)

December 23, 2014, 12:51 PM

I got nothing..... But I will reverse Festivus - I want to thank all of you folks here at TPI for making my work day more enjoyable..... (I read TPI while "Working")

Happy Christmas....

Edited: December 24, 2014, 12:58 PM

I'll bite -- how about the MyDisneyExperience website ?

I have been to WDW many times, but not within the last 4 years. So never since the new Fastpass/Magic Bands/MyDisneyExperience stuff was introduced.

My family is on the way to WDW in January, and have had nothing but issues with the whole MyDisneyExperience website.

- Trying to set up our Magic Bands was confusing, I would have expected straightforward and simple.

- Trying to start setting up our Fastpasses was weird. We get the 60-day window, since we're staying on-site, but the website was confused for a while. Finally we worked our way through it.

- Trying to set up Dining Reservations flat out failed. We were able to get to the page where available times showed up, but when we would click one, the site would go "out to lunch" and never complete the reservation. Finally we had to call to make these reservations.

- After all that, we are still unable to link our dining reservations to our account! I have to call and wait for a special website-services person if I want this remedied.

All-in-all, we NEVER had any problems or delays setting up any of this stuff the old way. We expected the new site to be a breeze; in fact, everything took way longer than it would have the old way.

And yes, we're web savvy. I'm a software engineer by trade. We tried multiple browsers, and multiple machines. No improvements.

I can't believe that Disney, with its typical emphasis on customer service, would make this site live in this state without more UX people testing and improving it.

Wondering if others have had similar experiences...

(To their credit, WDW Customer Service has recently contacted me and cleaned up some problems with my account. Most importantly, I know someone heard the issues...)

December 23, 2014, 3:07 PM

Six Flags Great America- I was frustrated twice this year by how late the park opens daily. An 11 am opening brings a massive traffic pileup that leads to more problems for those willing to get up early.

Epcot- Replacing Off Kilter with a crappy lumberjack show is a serious step back. Seriously.

Disney Parks- Renaming the Christmas Day parade to Disney Parks Frozen Christmas Celebration is a pretty weak ratings grab. How much more milk does Disney expect from this cow?

Six Flags- Announcing 4 Giant Loops for your parks is not an accomplishment for your fans. It sounds like more of a punishment.

Universal Studios Hollywood- $92 for half a park under construction? No thanks.

December 23, 2014, 6:36 PM

The huge crowds at the Walt Disney World parks throughout the year. Especially the Magic Kingdom which is not fun anymore, just one over priced and too crowded aggravation after another.

December 24, 2014, 3:36 AM

My only gripe was that I finally got to SoCal, went to Knotts and the Ghostrider was closed. (But then I discovered Boysenberry pie so I was totally fine)

December 24, 2014, 11:16 AM

Long Lines, and queue jumping systems

Nothing I hate more than letting too many people into the park, and then trying to extract more cash in order to be able to actually do anything in the park.

Edited: December 24, 2014, 11:22 AM

Nothing for me. My trip to Disneyland in September was a good one.

I haven't experienced it yet but WDW going to fastpass+/magic band only worries me. I think the regular fastpass system if done right works just fine. But it is great for the people that want to plan their vacation to a T but that just isn't me.

With universal I would say there was no bad this year even though I haven't seen their changes.

Edited: December 24, 2014, 8:50 PM

The lousy food and long lines at Cedar Point were a massive headache, but having fellow TPI regular and storyteller Jim Koehl at my side made everything better. So rather than complain I will just say, "thanks" to him and "Merry Christmas" to all!

December 25, 2014, 6:34 PM

Trying to do ANYTHING on Disney's websites -- from trying to find the Florida resident discounts on hotels (boy, do they bury that stuff... almost like they don't want you to find it... not that it makes much difference; jeez, it's just a hotel room, not a room at Buckingham Palace!) to trying to renew my mom's annual pass and having to make two phone calls to do it...after being told that the only way to renew it with the monthly payment system was online. ARRGGHHH!!!

December 26, 2014, 7:09 AM

Parking prices go up every damn year......

December 26, 2014, 1:06 PM

^James, thanks for the compliment! I had a great time with you and your wonderful family. Just because you don't like perch doesn't mean that all the food is lousy! If you like perch- which most people on the north coast do- the perch sandwiches are terrific! Long lines- yes, on some rides- but I still think you rode TTD more times in one night than I have my entire life. It's all how you work the system.

December 26, 2014, 2:49 PM

Hmmmm... the perch was yucky. And there really wasn't anything else of note other than Elephant Ears, the local ice cream joint, Pink's, and Famous Dave's. I loved the ears and ice cream, Pink's was fun, and Dave's has good food, but come on, man, I can get drive five minutes to Famous Dave's near my house. For the flagship of the Cedar Fair franchise to have little or no unique, non-chain restaurant options was definitely a disappointment. And, it is something Matt Ouimet and Company will have to address in the years ahead.

As for TTD, the only reason we got to ride it five times in a hour was because the GateKeeper Platinum Passholder event was canceled due to the ride being closed for the duration of our visit. TDD became the backup for the Passholder event. Otherwise, TDD was pretty much a two hour wait all day every day. Same with Maverick and Force. All three coasters probably run 900 - 1300 riders an hour... far too low for the crowds wanting to ride. And if I remember correctly, the way we "worked the system" was to pretty much NOT ride.

At least Magnum was a pretty solid back up!

December 26, 2014, 3:54 PM

Disney's theme park pricing is as high as ever. Food prices at all theme parks are as high as ever. Nonetheless, I keep getting lectured that the guests are getting such a value compared with sporting events or concerts. Please stop with the patronizing attitude that guests should just pay up because its worth it. However, if you do pay up, do it gladly or you'll just be a crank. How foolish are you really? Anyways, I do what I wish and let no one steer you wrong.

December 26, 2014, 10:32 PM

My top three theme park grievances of 2014:

1. Customer service at Six Flags Great America. Never have I experienced such poor customer service from any park. It is not acceptable to have 30 minute waits for those who purchase a Platinum Flash Pass. It is not acceptable to take 5-7 minutes to dispatch a 30 person train. It is not acceptable for food service to take 20 minutes for one customer in front of you.

2. Voyage to the Iron Reef. Knott's has shown that they can do a good dark ride through their renovations on Timber Mountain Log Ride and the Calico Mine Ride. Sadly, Voyage to the Iron Reef appears to be little more than a watered down version of Toy Story Midway Mania. I never thought I'd say this, but the new Six Flags dark ride looks better than either of Cedar Fair's Triotech installations.

3. Stagnation at the US Disney Parks. I wouldn't mind the lack of new attractions if the prices remained constant, but if the prices continue to rise the offerings need to continuously improve as well. Florida has some developments, but they won't be ready for years, and as of now California has no confirmed additions in the near future (and hasn't added anything since Cars Land). However, I bet both resorts will have another price hike in the spring.

December 27, 2014, 9:14 AM

Getting rid of Malestrom and the parade for Frozen

For Universal trying to make a quick buck off of HP that is causing the other parks (Disney) to bring out things to make a quick buck.

Wow, AJ, still angry about SFGA? As somebody told me, let it go, let it go (dammit aaaaahhhhhggg)

December 27, 2014, 12:08 PM

We always try and plan around the quiet times (before Christmas, etc). Though this year we went in October and realized why we prefer going during the least busy times. Crowds were pretty incredible, I didn't like how the fastpasses were being done. You may have been able to pick one ride you would go on, but the remaining choices were geared toward those that looked like no one else would go to either.

Edited: December 27, 2014, 2:59 PM

Disney knows we're all upset about the same thing... the closure of the backlot tour and removal of the sorcerer's hat at Hollywood Studios.


I know I'm pulling out a dead horse, but dude... Avatar Land. I'm of the opinion the bean counters will be precipitously disappointed when their ROI is roughly one tenth what Universal gets out of Diagon Alley. Even if you disagree about the potential for a tepid reaction on opening, you've got to be upset at how the super long development time and huge budget have essentially hamstrung the possibility of anything else new at the resort until it's completed.
The idea that Star Wars projects were put on hold due to film secrecy is, frankly, ridiculous. Star Wars VII spoilers have filled the internet void left by the declining popularity of Cat Lolz- they're everywhere. I really hope those Avatar sequels are worth the hefty theme park investment. Otherwise, I'd have preferred a slate of attractions based on the non-sci-fi version of Pocahontas.

December 29, 2014, 9:02 AM

The loose article restrictions placed on Hollywood Rip Ride Rocket and the Hulk at Universal. It is such a pain to deal with now that it really doesn't make it worth riding HRRR and it makes for an annoying experience with the Hulk.

I really don't need to feel like I'm going through TSA just to ride a ride that was perfectly safe before this was put into place. I'm certain that my wallet will not fly out of my back pocket that I'm sitting on while riding either ride.

I would like to know who in management or on the legal team thought this was a great idea to implement. Maybe they should try riding both rides and see how infuriating the whole process is now.

December 29, 2014, 12:48 PM

The wallet prohibition is pretty absurd Kris. I asked a cast member what happens if I put my wallet into a locker (with my ID and credit cards) and I inadvertently overstay the free time allowed. Since my wallet is in the locker, I cannot pay for the extra time, and the locker won't be allowed to open until you pay. The cast member looked at me like I was crazy, and offered no solution.

December 29, 2014, 3:57 PM

@Kris 'n Russ What a pain! And the locker system is such a drag... we had at least two of the things lock us out after not recognizing our fingerprint. The worst was the cast member that made me secure my shades in a locker for The Mummy- about as much risk losing them on that coaster as on the Twister show next door. Zipper pockets for the win.

December 29, 2014, 7:54 PM

I was told that a few loose articles (cameras, phones) have hit other people on the rides causing action against the park (Universal). I've watched people sneak stuff in. A woman in front of me stuffed her phone inside the waist of her pants. Who's going to search her? LOL!

December 30, 2014, 11:12 AM

Russell's point for the win here. I think I might need to start wearing my money belt to Universal Orlando.

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