Dear Disney Vacation Club,
I love you and you know it. I love the program, the resorts, the ability to stay at the places that would probably have otherwise been out of reach. I made an investment in you and in our happiness and I’m not upset with that. What I am upset with right now is your behavior and failure to own up to the mistakes you have been making.
Your technology has failed you. It failed you and it failed your members. This isn’t anything new. We have been plagued by a poorly functioning website for a while now. I’m not even talking about the regular struggles your members face navigating your faulty tech and long waits to get live assistance to correct these issues. What I’m talking about are your website glitches that resulted in crushed vacation dreams.
As I’m sure you remember, your website suffered a serious glitch leaving bookings at Grand Californian wide open for the second time in a year. For the unsuspecting member who just looks at their particular dates, they were probably met with great joy that morning. Some thought they got lucky at the seven-month mark while others were just excited dates they have been checking over and over finally opened up.
As for me, I was looking at the 7-month window and I thought we got lucky. I booked, excited for the chance to finally stay at Grand Californian. After booking, I quickly realized something was amiss. Putting other online posts together with past issues, it became apparent I just took part in a huge mistake. A mistake I couldn’t bring myself to cancel just yet.
This happened before and you honored your mistake. Maybe this time, the mistake was too big and you couldn’t offer rooms like you did last time to the members you left empty-handed. As predicted, my room got canceled. However, it got canceled nearly two weeks later without so much as a phone call, a voicemail, an email, or a shred of communication. I admit I had too much hope. I verified with member services, made a room request, and added the reservation to the Disneyland App. I might not have known it was cancelled had I not been in my account regularly. I admit I got what I had coming even though enough time had passed that some small part of me got excited. But, this isn’t about me.
This is about about those members who aren’t in the know. Those who don’t religiously follow your technology conundrums. Those who think the best of you. Those who booked their flights, rented a car, and got their children excited for their Disneyland trip only to have you cancel it on them over a week later with no other options. Did you fail to contact those members too?
These people do exist because I’ve seen them on DISboards and social media asking what’s going on. They’re confused. They’re upset. These members should have been contacted the day or next day the glitch happened and been told their reservations were under review. At a minimum, members should have received an email notifying them of the issue. Every other company I have done business with has owned up to mistakes. I’m not asking for a free room, a dole whip, or any compensation. I’m just asking for transparency.
We, your members, deserve open and honest communication. We deserve information in a timely manner. We deserve better than this.
47 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Disney Vacation Club”
Hilton Hotels has a wonderfully functional web presence. Perhaps Disney could hire Hilton’s vendor. Whatever the case, the legion of Vice Presidents who play at IT don’t deserve any further rewards.
Great letter, however this is just one of many mistakes. The biggest mistake was making Bob Chapek the CEO. He is taking away so many perks and penny pinching everywhere he can, and people are not happy. Disney is loosing the Magic.
Is losing? More like has lost the magic
Amy, Perfect said. Our frustration with DVC online, inability to get someone on the phone, and no communication is beyond what we signed up for. Oh, and paid for. thank you
Thank you Amy. Thank you for holding them accountable. Been a Disney fan since 1975 and DVC member in 2003.
I have said for some time that they are taking away all the Magic and trying to make it just another amusement park. What do these people have against Walt’s dream. How many stores at Disney have been remodeled from fun to plain boring. DVC member since 1987
My wife and I are 16 yr DVC members and we agree with this post! We’re paying more and more and getting less and less for our hard earned money!
That’s the new motto of Disney, “pay more for less”.
YES! You are paying more for less! Paycheck decided to raise the prices of all the food in the parks. THEN months later a notice appeared stating that they are reducing the amount of food that you are now paying more money for. In addition a comment by Paycheck stated that it was decided that too many Disney Guests need to loose weight so they made the decision to reduce the portions that you are now paying more for!
Bravo Amy. Get it together dvc. Enough is enough!
I think you could as far to say that Disney IT in general has failed with hearing about issues around trying to book LL passes at 7am, but not working for most but working for some. Disney in general needs own up to their mistakes with relying too much on technology, but not having the proper infrastructure to handle the increase demand on the systems in place.
Thank you Krieger’s I’d be upset too. Please let the community know if DVC responds
A fellow DVC member commented, “We pay dearly for the Disney experience. But they just keep adding extra costs, everywhere you turn. The Magical Express goes away, but the monthly payments aren’t reduced.” He said he no longer feels like a guest, but rather, a customer.
How can we join in on this open letter? It has gone beyond ridiculous.
Well written. At one time Disney defined outstanding Customer Service for for just about any business! That passion and excellence of effort that drove unmatched member satisfaction seems to be lost with current management? The wait times alone when you call vacation planning are indicative that Disney “is losing its fastball”. Lets hope post-covid they can get rhe needed staffing and technical support?
As per usual well put Amy. I would only add ‘where’s my AP ?’ This becoming a joke.
Agree! Where are our AP’s ??????
Hi Amy ,
Great letter and to the point , you are speaking for all of us . I was one of the members who also fell victim to the GrandCal glitch.
I also never reviewed a phone call , email or anything.
re you actually forwarding this to member services , I hope so ?
Agree 100 %. We are no longer receiving what we signed up for
Well said. Hopefully makes an impact with corporate.
I was one of those people whose dream was crushed. My husband and I have not been able to leave our home province in two year, because of issues surrounding the pandemic (we are both frontline healthcare workers). I booked plane tickets, which for us was >$2000, given where we fly from. I waited a week before booking them, just in case. This was going to be our first venture out since January 2020. I’ve written to DVC and have heard nothing in return.
Perfectly said, Pete! We are not members yet, but refinanced so that we may join all of you! We are now holding back since they are pulling back on benefits. We were so excited…. I can only imagine what those of you who got their dreams crushed are feeling. I am sorry for you all!! So we will wait, but hopefully not too long!!!
Very well said, Amy. Get someone in there that knows what they’re doing in tech.
Great article, Amy. The lack of a functional website is inexcusable, but sadly is nothing new. The fact that DVC is now cancelling reservations without contacting members is terrifying. Do we now have to log on every couple of days to assure our reservations are in tact? There is no excuse for this – none at all.
And this is why I will not join. I just came back from Florida and hated having to wake up to get a LL pass. Vacations are about signing off, not being tied to technology. ….that is always in a glitch
Just curious, when was this second glitch. Wondering if my reservation is impacted?
They have failed in many ways. Their Genie app is ridiculously riddled with rules and makes it very difficult to use. MyDisney is confusing to navigate. A company as big Disney can come up with something better and easier than what they have. Genie plus is not worth it. Don’t waste money.
Amy is dvc keep s taking more and more and giving nothing back are they trying to destroy there dvc program it sure seems like it!
I went DVC to leave to my grandkids—I am coming to believe I might be better off just selling and leaving the money…the hassle factor has become too great.
Preach Amy! Going to my dashboard now…
Well…. sadly though a great letter – they will disregard it like the hundreds of letters about how B’lou Crabbe and Shadow were dumped and fired just like that. Horrible. We complained and – zip. No response. They. Cared. Less. It’s all what THEY want – not what members want. They have become woke. Big time. 25 year DVC Member here….
Thanks for the post. Agree 100%. Been a member for 20 years and it unfortunately has become so poorly operated i can no longer recommend it to other Disney fans.
Jason said, “Thanks for the post. Agree 100%. Been a member for 20 years and it unfortunately has become so poorly operated i can no longer recommend it to other Disney fans.”
I responded similarly to my recent DVC survey – I can no longer recommend Disney to family & friends.
They don’t want DVC members but they do want members money they want you to pay for points and not use them. Then they can book the rooms for cash to new customers that tend to spend more money. I have been a member since 1994 and it is really disappointing to see the decline.
20 year member that also intended to pass down to kids, now also thinking of selling outright instead, for all of the above reasons and hassles. Disney feels broken and unlikely to get fixed.
I’ve thought of selling but honestly can make more renting then selling at this point.
What I hate the most about their policy change. Is the fact that they sold my family and I on being able to borrow 100% of the following year points. Then say you can only borrow 50% due to the Covid19 Pandemic. What does the pandemic have to do with borrowing points? Just another excuse to limit the use of points and make more on cash paying on their room inventory. Very disappointing to us being that we are a family of 6 and need the most points to accommodate the size our family at a resort.
We’ll said Albert. We had great reservations and accommodations and before we could take our trip WDW closed for covid. There are 11 of us so we borrow points for larger rooms. When they reopened they would not honor our previous room choices.
Because of covid you can’t borrow 100 percent.
Awful. Doesn’t make sense. Member for over 20 years.
Sounds like consumer fraud. I hope the people who got bilked are engaging the consumer protection divisions of their states’ Attorney General office.
So well written! My wife and I were so happy when we became members 22 years ago and added on three times! We are now thinking of selling our interests. The Magic has left the building. You could always rely on excellent customer service, but I can’t remember when the last time was when I had a reasonable wait time on a call. Is expecting timely and accurate communications asking too much?
Well said. There is absolutely no excuse for them to cancel a reservation an not notify you. EVER! How can a company like Disney Vacation Club do something like that. I don’t remember seeing that on any of their promotional videos… cue the music… plan and reserve a vacation of a lifetime only to have us cancel 2 weeks later without us notifying you. The first scene is the family smiling and dreaming of their vacation. Cut to scene 2 and everyone is sobbing. So sad!
It is a bit unbelievable that the same company who brought Lincoln to life in 1964 cannot run a website in 2022.
Very well said Amy. Does anyone else find themselves concerned that if the technology is this inept at booking trips then how long before inferior tech causes a real accident somewhere on property? Transportation, resorts, or even, God forbid, a ride in the parks? Saw that Disney stock had an intra-day low in the high $120s per share today (1/24/22). This is after trading for over $200 per share in early 2021. That’s 40% folks! One can only hope that the Board of Directors will rethink this Chapek guy. Not a fan.
This is more than an IT problem. It’s a pair of interlocked Customer Service and Finance issues. For decades Disney parks were the exemplars of Customer Service and they were highly profitable for the company. Other businesses paid Disney to train their own employees in the Disney touch. After all, this was the company where employees were called “cast members,” with everyone on mission to give visitors wonderful experiences with Disney care and craftsmanship. That culture’s collapse underlies the poor IT and price gouging. The goal of providing magical experiences has been undercut not just by grubbing for dollars but also by losing sight of what it’s like to visit the parks. Greenswards have been paved over. Food service has been relegated to impersonal phone apps. The company is taking no responsibility for a technical blunder that cost some guests and their families a broken dream and a substantial amount of money for now-useless plane tickets and trashed time-off days. And Disney’s crowd management, once the pride of the company, has collapsed into crazy multi-level phone reservation apps that turn each day’s visit into a juggling match rather than a joy. My suspicion is that this has deeper roots than just trying to make more money–which takes us to Finance. This is what happens to companies who start to think that stockholders are their real customers and the people who pay for their services are just another commodity. When an economic downturn hits a company that’s making this mistake, executives reach for short-term solutions that will keep their stockholders happy rather than their customers. Prices go up, services go down, but hey, the stockmarket looks great so all is well. From a longer-term view this is a tactic rather than a strategy and it can lead to a bad outcome for all concerned.
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