Gold Pass Snafu at Kings Dominion
My experience with early buying of Gold Passes has been very troublesome. I'll just blame the computer like they did.
I've been to PKD three times since pre-view night (including pre-view night.) I must say that the customer service has been, um, lacking. While our visits have been enjoyable, the customer service has left a bad taste. We purchased our Gold Season Passes over the internet for Christmas. We went on pre-view night and filled out some forms (which reminds, why the hell did we fill them out ONLINE only to have to turn around and do it again?) and got our cards. Immediately, there was a problem. We had purchased the parking but for whatever reason, they not only gave us a hard time about it, they did'nt put it on the card it was supposed to go on. After getting that straight, we attempt to enter the park. Immdediately, there was a problem with the cards. We went to the customer disservice window and were given temporary passes and were told that our cards would be 'fixed'. Well, on my next visit (just me an my son this time) I go to park and find that the card that was supposed to have parking did not. The very nice attendant at the booth explained that there had been problems on Friday night (pre-view night) and we should go to the customer disservice window. We did. Guess what? the passes did'nt 'work' either. After about 15 minutes, we were told that they would work on our cards but we may have to get our photos taken again. What the hell? Can't they just 'fix' the darn database? Well, jump ahead to April 9. We all went back. Once again, the parking did'nt work (glad I had the reciept) and, once again, back to the disservice window. Upon arriving at the window, we were told that our cards were on a list of cards that 'could not be repaired.' What? They kept them, gave us yet another form to fill out and were instructed to go get new cards. Naturally, I am not amused. What kind of operation works like this? Oh, and top it off, the park was not even open it's normal hours. They closed at 6pm! on a Saturday. Once we actually got in, our visit was enjoyable. The Tomb Raider has been vastly improved since my initial ride. There is quite a pyrotechnic and water show now. The ride itself is more exciting and seems somewhat different each time it runs. I'm still somewhat puzzled by the lack of waiting people. The only rides that had any line at all were the Avalanche, Volcano and the Hypersonic. Drop Zone's lines dissipate quickly. I guess the season is still young and I am not complaining.
While the park itself has a somewhat better appearance this year, it's customer service still needs a little polish. The ride attendants yesterday seemed a little disinterested, which was a little scary. I certainly hope it gets better. And thank heavens for the Starbucks!
Yeah, I purchased one-day tix online & had so much trouble printing them. Every way I tried, it said "file not found" or "page not found" or "page unavailable". I called the park--long distance & was told they're having "computer problems" & to take my receipt to customer service & there should be no problem. Well on about the 3rd. or 4th. day of trying to print them, I FINALLY was able to. We're going this coming weekend (4/16/05) & I HOPE we don't have trouble getting in.
It reminds me of Six Flags Magic Mountain a few years ago. (I'm not going to buy a season pass this year because well, the park sucks, and I always wind up getting upset at some display of bad customer service.)
It used to take FOREVER to have a pass processed. They made you fill out a long form even if you were just renewing. None of the employees could seem to figure out how to operate the cameras and card printers in a non-slow manner. There were issues with books of parking passes, which I understood were supposed to be given to us when we paid the $25 (or so) for them. Instead, the parking passes "weren't ready" yet and were going to be mailed to us "shortly". Nope. We had to call their public relations office to get a refund.
Although I'm no Disney fanboy, I do think they do a much better job of processing annual passes. (hint: computers connected via networks...what a concept!)
The last pass I bought was via their website and they used the photo from the previous year, which was much better.
I was most impressed (intimidated?) by Disney when I went to buy an AP for my daughter, who'd had one two years before, but never renewed. When I inquired at the ticket booth, the hostess punched Natalie's name into her computer, and, boom, out spits all the details from her previous pass. It seemed like all she had to do was swipe my card and make one click, then we were on our way to get a new picture taken. Fast and easy.
Sounds like somebody needs to invest some money in computers and IT personnel.
At Busch Gardens they don't even take pictures any more. They use a hand scanning system. It works pretty well, but it does have problems sometimes.
I've had Gold season passes for the past 4 years (at least, for some reason, I can't remember exactly...maybe too many rollercoaster rides...haha) at King's Dominion, and I've never had a problem. The only problem i've ever had, was last year, when the machine wouldn't mine or my girlfriend's passes, and we had to wait awhile. They made for this by hooking us up with free season pass parking, and like, $30 in scooby bucks. Oh, by the way, when you buy season pass parking, you can put it on up to 3 season passes, I believe it is. So, I always tell them to put on as many as i have access too. Oh, and one more thing. If I am ever made to wait excessively, or bothered by a ridiculous problem, especially like your season pass deal, I always politely ask if there is anything that can be done for my inconvenience. I usually get something for my trouble, and I mean, there's no harm in asking. :)
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