I plan to write a story each week and post it here. I have no subjects other than what I sort of learned that week that has me thinking.
Susie, wife, and I are traveling to Florida in the first week of May. There we will join some friends, the Smith Family, to see their daughter graduate from Ringling College with a degree in animation. We will then travel to Orlando and see Micky Mouse and then fly back. It is a Tuesday night through Sunday trip. A rushed trip. It is an experiment if my wife can still travel. It is a chance to see Disney World in Florida again We live on the West Coast and Disneyland is even a drivable and thus is our usual Disney choice.
What has me writing is the way I set-up the trip. I did it all myself online using two websites. I purchased the flights, car, and first hotel on Expedia. I used Disney’s site for Micky. In the past, I would contact AAA of Oregon and have them do it. I do not want to get a date wrong or spell a name wrong or miss out on some great deal so I would use travel agents. I have paid $100 at least once to untangle a flight and even had Susie and I flying to the same place but somehow on different planes (the flights left at almost the same time from the same airport from the same airlines!). Now it costs an additional $50 or more per reservation to have a travel agent set-up the flights. And the nice voice on the phone, the calmness of the process, and the certainty that a mistake would just be fixed without comment or cost I sorely miss now. But I am a computer guy–I can do this!
The next step was to find something at The Mouse. First, all the parks websites are different. So I had to do Disney World which is the Florida Disney resort and parks. Once I did that I had to find where one orders hotels and all that stuff. Then I had to find a room at the correct hotel, the Smiths already had their reservations. Wilderness Lodge had a room on the courtyard. I selected that and added in for almost again the same amount of money, no small amount, for three-day park-hopper pass.
I did not log on. Need to log on. Reset password. Start over? Everything is in my cart. Good, buy.
Not good. I have no passes. Call The Mouse. Have to spell my name. The computer voice keeps spelling it with an “e” until it gives up and sends me to a human. No passes, but we can fix that. Takes forty-five minutes on the phone to fix it. Raelle, the cast member who helped me, informs me of my passes number by spelling out all the letters by using Disney characters, “‘G’ like Goofy.” And she points out that they are installing new magic in the online system and she might have to restart. We get it all together. I have to use the recently magic-revised online software to link my passes. Raelle gives me her direct line and wishes me a “magical day.” I get an email from her that also has the information. Nice!
So on to the magically improved online experience. I have learned that the website for Disney World has an experience section and that is where we do this magic. I attempt to link the passes to the icons with mine and Susie’s name. There are four Susie’s! I pick the first one. Now I have two different Susie’s. One gets to use the room. The other Susie gets a pass.
Call back. Raelle is not available so I leave her a message. I miss the callback. I get a message from Raelle. She tells me to have a magical day after telling me I need the Experience Internet helpdesk. She keeps in character and is excited that Susie can be so many people at once. Very magical. I call her back and get someone else and they route me to Melissa in Internet support who I thought called herself Maleficent. I misheard. She merges all the Susies. Melissa forgets to wish me a magical day. Finally, it is all done and magical.
So I think I have everything done. This doing it yourself is not that fun and as I have seen, not only do you have to deal with your mistakes, there are times when magic is being applied and things get more Maleficent than you would like. There are Raelle’s and Melissa’s out there to help you and they are nice to meet on the phone. Still nervous that I have something wrong, but it seems done.