Hurricane Dorian hasn’t even reached Florida and it has already created a huge headache for Walt Disney World and Disney Cruise Line guests. As the hurricane threatens the area, guests have swamped Disney’s phone lines in an effort to modify their plans. Unfortunately, both Walt Disney World and Disney Cruise Line have been completely overwhelmed by the surge in calls and have forced guests into multiple-hour waits.
Guests with plans at both locations, including yours truly, had to wait on hold for hours while attempting to alter their plans. We used multiple phones in an attempt to alter our plans, but still had extremely long waits before reaching an actual person.
Disney Cruise Line
Total time to resolve: 4 hours
Hold time: 3 hours 27 minutes
Walt Disney World
Total time to resolve: 2.5 hours
Hold time: 1 hour, disconnect, another hour
Disney Cruise Line announced that they were turning their 3-night Disney Dream cruise on August 30 to the Bahamas into a 5-night trip that would remain at sea until September 4. This shrank the 4-night Disney Dream cruise on September 2 into a 2-night cruise leaving September 4. Disney offered a 50% refund and a $250 onboard credit per stateroom for guests electing to go on the 2-night journey, but that offer didn’t appeal to guests who planned for a longer vacation. Many from the September 2 itinerary wanted to jump on the extended August 30 trip while others just wanted to reschedule for an upcoming cruise knowing that availability was already limited.
Meanwhile, the news of the hurricane arriving in Florida led to a flood of Walt Disney World reservation changes. Guests were greeted with an unfamiliar “All the circuits are full, call back later” message that disconnected the call before it could even begin. If they made it past that message they found endless loops of hold music and promotions.
To say things have been messy and unorganized is an understatement. These types of announcements are ones Disney has had to handle in the past and should have plenty of data to call on to plan for appropriate staffing. Walt Disney World is tasked with a larger challenge due to the volume of possible guests trying to make changes. Disney Cruise Line deserves less sympathy as they have a more limited pool of guests and should have seen this news coming. The fact many waited over three (3!) hours on hold is simply ridiculous and a bit of a black eye on Disney Cruise Line’s normally outstanding record of customer service.
It is worth noting that the cast members who we finally reached were outstanding. You’d never guess the stress and pressure they were under at 11pm at night.
Now the question we know you want answered the most: Who has the better hold music? The answer is Disney Cruise Line by a landslide. They played full songs from a variety of Disney films while Walt Disney World’s kept talking over itself and kept trying to sell us things. That’s not what you want to hear for a couple hours straight.