Monday, August 15, 2011

Reservation Agony

We've been having some issues lately when trying to add the Disney Dining Plan to our existing reservation.

We booked our room on July 10th. Barbara's friend and coworker, Amber, called in and got it all set up for us since she is a cast member and could get us a discount. We got a great 40% off on our room at Caribbean Beach Resort. We picked our travel dates based on availability of a discount for the Disney Dining Plan. We were told that our booking window for the dining plan hadn't opened yet and to call back on August 13th and we'd either be getting 40% or 50% off of the Disney Dining Plan! Woo! Great! We made note to call back then and we went on with picking our Advanced Dining Reservations. All four of us also booked our flights for our chosen dates and we thought we were all set!

Amber called Disney's reservation line on the 12th, a day before we were told to call back. Why she called a day early I'm not sure. When she spoke with the booking agent they informed her that they couldn't add the Disney Dining Plan because we were traveling partially over a blackout time period and the discount on the dining plan wasn't offered then. Amber asked if we could just pay full price for the dining plan and the agent said no, there was nothing that they could do for us. End of conversation.

Barbara and I immedietly began flipping out a bit. We had everything planned around these days because we were TOLD that we would get a discount on the dining plan. Had we been told that those were blackout dates we would have picked a different week to travel! We've decided to not take this as a final answer and to fight harder to get what we were promised.

One speculation of ours if that maybe the reservationist thought that Amber was talking about the "Free Dining Offer" that is available to the public around that time. If this was the case then that would explain why the booking agent told Amber that there were blackout dates.

Saturday, the 13th, I tried calling Disney numerous times only to be met with 30 minute wait times. I figured I'd wait and deal with this when I had more time to sit on hold.

Today, Monday the 15th, after being put on hold numerous times and being hung up on accidently, I got a hold of a nice Indian gentleman named Spencer. I had to hold back my laughter on that one. I played stupid with Spencer and just told him that we were told to call back after the 13th to book the dining plan and we'd either be getting 40% or 50% off. He put me on hold while he looked for the code. About five minutes later he told me that he couldn't find the code and had to call Guest Relations. Another five to ten minutes later he informed me that Guest Relations told him that currently there isn't a code available for our time frame just yet and we would need to try calling back at another time. Apparently their system was supposed to update with new codes on the 13th but that didn't happen. So, I hung up with Spencer with no dining plan booked.

I'm unsure of whether what Spencer told me was the truth or not. I wanted to make sure I understood perfectly what he was telling me and I repeated what he said and even reworded it as I understood it. He agreed that I understood correctly. I'm not sure if he just didn't have a good answer for me so he was told to tell me that or if that really is the truth. I'd like to believe it because that means we still have a chance to book the dining plan.

I have decided to go through the painful task of calling the reservation line every day this week and see how many different answers I can get. Spencer said that their system could update tomorrow even but they don't know and don't have a date that they can give me. If I get the "blackout" answer again then I'll go into my next step... a complaint e-mail.

I really do think that this matter should be handled. I feel that my complaint is 100% justified. I am NOT a person to complain about anything... especially Disney related. I can't even send food back at a restaurant if it's poorly cooked. What we're dealing with right now with Disney is an exception to me though. We can't change our travel dates because it would incur a $150 fee per ticket to fly out and back on a different week. We were told something specific, now TWICE, and I feel that they need to hold up to their word. It's about decent customer service and they simply are not offering that right now. This has been SUCH a stress to all of us and it's putting a damper on the excitment that we had going.
Will update you when we find out anything new in the coming days...


  1. we had this happen to us too....if you START your trip before free dining starts or before the dining discount starts, you can't get the discount...unless...

    you have to split up your reservations. Have one short reservation for the 'blackout' dates and then another separate ressie for the dates that have the discount.

    So say you're going Friday to Friday. The dining discount doesn't start until Monday. Have one ressie at full price from Fri-Sun and then the discount from Mon-Fri.

    Yeah, it's confusing and sucks but thats how I have to always book my annual passholder discount rates! :(

    good luck!

  2. Hey Jenn! Yeah, see at first we thought our situation was something similar to your issue with free dining. We initially thought that we STARTED our vaca on a blackout day. But then, we understood from Amber correctly that we start on a NON blackout day. Therefore, leaving us room, in my mind, to book the dining plan for our entire vacation. Heck, at this rate, we'd even take having the DDP for the 6th-8th. Now, because this is a discounted cast member deal maybe they handle those differently and go nightly instead of by check in date. To me, we should be grandfathered in since we were told very specifically that we could get this discount. But, I'm not Disney and they have their own weird way of doing things that I just don't agree with sometimes.

  3. I'm confused...why wouldn't they let her add it at full cost? I thought the dining plan was always available but the discounts were the things not always available. (I may just be misunderstanding though since I know very little about the dining plan.)

  4. Cast Member discounts are not in ANY WAY tied to ANYTHING you'll see or be quoted. The Cast Member discounts are apart from regular offers and we don't always get to add dining at all times of year. It depends. The Free Dining on Selected weeks is a completely different offer for the PUBLIC and has nothing to do with your booking.

  5. Right! Cast Member discounts are entirely different than all public discounts and have their own sets of rules.

    All rules aside, cast member discount or not, when you're told to call back on "X" date to get "X" discount, you should be getting that. Especially when you planned everything else in your trip around that.

    What I'm starting to think is that you can't apply a dining plan to a cast reservation UNLESS it's with a specific pin code because Disney sees the reservation discount as a "room only" discount... one of our "public" discount terms. Seeing as they may view this as a "room only" discount, you can't apply a dining plan to a room only discount.

  6. Oh my gosh, this is so frustrating!!!! I'm so sorry you had to deal with that :( That is just NOT right to promise you one thing and then take it back. And you are a loyal Disney fan who goes at least once a year - they shouldn't pull this with you of all people! Hopefully it will work out for you!!! Just keep trying and maybe you will get a great customer service rep who will be able to do it for you.

  7. I'm in the same situation for this summer. What ever happened to your vacation?