Is the Magic really going away?

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MrHub's picture
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Is the Magic really going away?

Tell me your thoughts people. Is the Magic going away? I just read that starting June 16th, Disney World resorts will be testing a direct check in process where guests can go directly to their rooms without stopping by the check-in desk. About an hour or so before their check-in time, guests will receive a text with their room number. They can then proceed directly to their room.

Where is the Magic in that? When we check into the Polynesian Resort, our experience starts as soon as we open our car door and get greeted with a warm "Aloha" from Antonio at valet. He helps us with our bags, he knows us by name and asks how we have been. Once he has checked our bags he give us our ticket and send us towards the entrance where Christa or Megan would be waiting with her pad and would offer an "Aloha" and "Welcome back". She leads us to the check-in desk where Nicole is waiting, she is from our home town by the way and she offers another warm "Aloha" and proceeds to put leis around our necks. She asks how our drive was and how thing are back home, then goes over our check in requests and whether our room is ready or not. She says they have us in a second floor room, which has no balcony at the Poly. When I ask to check if there are any third floor rooms available or going to be available she checks and double checks and low and behold, one just became available! Nicole gives us our packet, our map and room number and off we go to start our Magical adventure for the week.

Thats the Magic! Thats the start. Thats when you know, "this is going to be a good vacation". I don't want to skip check-in, how about you?. Do you want to skip check-in totally? What are your thoughts?

JoAnn C's picture
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I read about that earlier today. I am not sure how I feel about it. I guess it would be good for people who want to go directly to a park and then they can go right to their room at the end of the night.

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Spook's picture
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I don't like it. I find a lot of people these days have no time. They're always rushing, driving dangerously, being rude about having to wait 2 minutes for something. Now they have no time to check in at a hotel. I like talking to the CM at check in. It's part of the magic just like MrHub said.

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Ms.Mouse's picture
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We will be there Wednesday and our resort is on the list for the test. We will arrive well before the designated check-in time.... so not really sure how this will work. We will need to check-in with someone because I don't want to carry around my carry-on luggage till we get our text.The whole thing seems rather impersonal to me. Guess I will find out in a few days. crossfingers

Magic Days's picture
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I want and expect a personal check in. I want to know where my room is, the best way to get there, and any other tips they can share. I don't like using self check out in stores. I won't use self check in on my vacation. The rates would have to substantially decrease for me to consider this idea acceptable. I'm sure if we all provide feed back our personal preferences will be acknowledged. Look at magic bands options growth in the last 6 months.

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I read about this yesterday also...

I like the personal interaction checking in. In the times that we have been to the bubble, there have never been check in issues. Now with that said, I understand at times there may be a wait but in ANY busy hotel that is going to happen. I am sure there are large tour groups that arrive by the bus load that slow things down a bit or computer malfunctions, people asking lots of questions at check in, any number is issues to slow it down. But here is the thing... Even at the value resorts, there are amazing things to see, music playing to let you know just where you are and it gives you a minute to just stand there and take it all in.

I'm sure for some people this will be AMAZING, just as long as they keep the option of walking in and speaking with a CM! I am afraid this would just be a first step to taking more interaction with real live people away.... Animatronic CM anyone???

Question: I have not been yet but it seems I read something about Be Our Guest. Do you order on a screen for lunch???

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Mandy's picture
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I think it's one of those ideas that would be great in theory but not reality. As long as they keep the option to still go to front desk, then I don't see a problem with it. The only problem I see with this is that after a while our friendly front desk cms would be relocated elsewhere since they wouldn't be needed or they would just downsize the staff considerably because they wouldn't need them.

Eeyore's picture
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Personally, I do not like the concept of skipping check-in. As MrHub stated, it is part of the magic and excitement of starting your vacation right! Whether we stay value or deluxe, the CMs are so friendly and I enjoy the interaction. It sounds like a scheme to cut costs and ultimately get rid of employees to be replaced by a computer. As much as technology has advanced our society, I also think it will be the destruction of it. We will slowly begin to see more and more "jobs" completed by a computer and less people interaction. It's quite sad actually.

JoAnn C's picture
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Mandy wrote:
I think it's one of those ideas that would be great in theory but not reality.

Exactly. It will be good for some but not for others. I enjoy the interaction with the CMs while checking in. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. From what I've read, one of the criteria for this service is completing on-line check in. One way to work around this is not complete on-line check in. I've gone on trips where I have completed the on-line check in and others where I have not. I personally didn't see much difference time wise so it shouldn't impact me that much.

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I guess I feel the same way about missing that personal touch, the greetings and how are you and welcome home type of stuff. But I also agree with the thought that for the people that are going right to the park this could be a good thing. I guess we will wait and see the reviews on this and if Disney makes it the norm. But maybe they will give you 2 options: the old way or this new one.

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oldtink's picture
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Anyone who didn't get their band prior to check in will have to go to the front desk first. All you do is check the box that sways "I want my bands to be waiting for me there" (or what ever the box says that means DON'T mail it! and the problem is solved!
If you are driving up, won't Antonio still be there to help with luggage? I think, like FP+, and ME, and the band etc., it will be what we make it.

mickey

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I don't like the idea at all. Like MrHub says, the CM interaction is part of the magic. Plus, with all of the problems they are still having getting the info on the Magic Bands right, it seems like it would cause more of a problem. I like the personal interaction!

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finngirl's picture
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Well, that wouldn't work for us - they won't ship magic bands to Canada, so we would have to pick them up anyway. What about people without cell phones? I know there aren't many nowadays, but some older people don't have smart phones. Texting doesn't help if you can't receive the texts. My phone won't work in the U.S., because I refuse to pay huge fees for a data plan - strictly pay as you go for me. So I have wifi as long as it's working in the parks and resorts, but that's it.

I like chatting to the CMs at check-in - I have enough of the 'take a number, serve yourself' stuff in my real life. yuck

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JanJ's picture
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I'm ok with this as long as they continue to offer us the choice. As finngirl mentioned, we have to pick up our magic bands anyway, so would need to talk to a CM. I also like to understand where my room is and make sure we are not overlooking a parking lot (been there, done that). We have had great interactions with the front desk CM's at The Boardwalk and even highlighted one of them during our last stay, so I would like to be able to choose how I check in. mickey

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I hate this idea so much because as far as I can see all that's going to happen is tied family's with loads of luggage and grumpy kids who are desperate to get in the parks are going to be walking around resorts lost looking for rooms, getting frustrated and taking it out on the first cm they see. How are you meant o find the room at old key west or Sarasota springs?

Something disney are getting wrong at the moment is that they don't realise just how big everything is to first timers, and how most families (even more so from overseas) that have never been, have never seen anything like the resorts, the walk from the lobby to the rooms even at the all star resorts are filled with new things and mind blowing things for kids, you need that check in time after your journey to let everything sink in, you need a friendly helping hand and a map marking everything out.

Coming from the uk we have opted to pick up our bands for both our upcoming trips because I want to talk to people and get the service I'm paying for, if we didn't we would stay off site. If this goes ahead I think it's up to us veteran visited and fans to complain and organise complaints, take part in the tests and complain, disney are fixing something here that isn't broken and it will suck for most of us. I do not want to deal with computers and robots for my vacation, it's bad enough having self service in supermarkets!!!!

Rant over

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I'm not in favor of the idea. Imagine after a long drive, long flight, long train ride or whatever and then getting lost because you don't have a clue where the room is located. That's just more stress piled on more stress the way I see it. The nightmare scenario would apply to moderates because they are so spread out compared to the others. I suppose people can combat that problem by printing out a map of the resort online but will everyone follow through with that? I think not. I agree that not everyone is smartphone savvy and data plans can be expensive. And considering how so many people outside the US come to WDW, it's a valid point it may work for some, but not for all.

As for the CM and interaction, I find it better when I get a package that has all the things I need like the resort map, park maps, schedules, etc. I'm at ease having something physical which will be more clearer and easier to see than a computer/phone website or paper printout. And as always, there's always something magical being told, "Welcome home". Considering that Disney World is probably a home away from home for me, those two words bring a sense of belonging and warmness.

Honestly, I don't get people sometimes. People want to head straight to the parks after the long hustle and bustle of travelling. Not for me! I need at least all of my arrival day to rest and recuperate before I head to parks!

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I'm with Hub on this one..... Part of my vacation is getting away from this modern, angry, rude and less social interaction life that we get through 50 weeks a year. I want to talk to people, I want to have a laugh and share a joke or story with people/CMs and check-in does matter. After a long flight(Drunk and a drive to the resort, check-in is my signal to just turn off and relax. That smile and 'Welcome home' is worth the hard work during the year.

I hope that it does work for those that would use it and benefit for the fast turn around, but for me it's time well spent at the desk.

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The voice of dissent...

I love the idea of getting a text telling me my room number and not having to deal with check-in. This is not to say I've ever had a problem with the check-in process, but getting to skip it IMO is some serious magic. And if I have questions or need help with something, I know they'll be there ready and waiting. More magic.

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So the DH and I are in disagreement about this. I do not like the idea. I like going to the desk and having them say welcome home! I also would never be able to find my room without directions. The DH likes that he can go straight to his room and than off to DTD or a park. I feel like it is very impersonal. Would miss the check in process.

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I'm cautiously optimistic about this. There are times when all I want to do is not to have to make one more stop for anything and just crash in my room! As far as losing the magic, I chat with CM's all over the place, so I don't really fear losing the personal connection that we get from interacting with these great folks who make our vacations so special. Since we do online check-in all the time, it does seem sort of silly to have to stop by the desk basically just to get a room number.

I do have some concerns. This requires MUCH better mapping systems and signage than are currently in place to help guests (especially first-timers) to find their rooms. The first time that we checked in at POR, the CM drew the route on the map for us and we STILL ended up going back and asking for clarification. We still like to try different resorts all the time and some are much more confusing than others. Also, I don't trust the "we'll text you when your room is ready". When we checked in at Boardwalk in April, we were supposed to receive a room ready text and we never did. We went back to inquire because it was nearly time for regular check-in and we were told that our room had been ready for two hours. I think for those of us who consistently do early arrival, we will still have to go to the desk on arrival to see if the room is ready early. I think the cases in which this service will be useful are extremely limited.

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I also join CCP and Alice with cautious optimism! In my days of 4 jumpy kiddos under my feet it would have rocked to go straight to the room. And I do like getting a text with a room number too so I can head out - works for me as a veteran.

BUT I do hope that Disney keeps real people to help out those who want the interaction, or need to ask lots of questions. And don't get rid of the concierges - I use them lots of times while staying at my resorts.

And there can still be CMS positioned out from behind the desks and all over the lobby to welcome us home, answer our questions, or just chat us up. They can have those ipads in hand if needed. I would love to see more CMS out from behind the desks - that would keep the lines moving, as many of those in line just have questions.

I was worried about the magic bands and now I LURVE them. So I will wait and see. mickey

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crazycatperson wrote:
The voice of dissent...

I love the idea of getting a text telling me my room number and not having to deal with check-in. This is not to say I've ever had a problem with the check-in process, but getting to skip it IMO is some serious magic. And if I have questions or need help with something, I know they'll be there ready and waiting. More magic.


I agree with this!

However, I doubt it will do me much good since I'll probably get there around noon in September, so I'll still have to check in and make sure everything is squared away so I can either get a parking pass and/or catch a bus. But yes, for some people, magic is being able to skip check in. Like "wow, they've already told us our room number! We don't even have to stop and check in!" can be super magical. Like, we just rolled out a program at work (I work in a particularly famous department store) that I manage, where customers can now do their shopping online and if we have the items in stock at my store, they can opt to pick them up there. We basically "shop" for them, and all they have to do is come in and pick it up in less than three minutes. This reminds me of that as far as "magic" goes. Where some people still like to come in the store and do all of their shopping, and others prefer to just click and pick it up. "Magic" can mean a lot of things to a lot of different people.

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I see one draw back - if you nicely ask about "requests" (ie rooms connecting or next door, or a specific view) there is no way to confirm that until you check in, BUT if you aren't checking in and they don't....... crossfingers

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I don't think you have to by-pass the check-in desk. But you have the option to. A frequent DVC visitor really doesn't need to see the CM every time they check-in. They know the resort better than the CMs do. I like having the option of staying late in the park and going directly to my room. I don't see the harm in it.

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The Colonel wrote:
I don't think you have to by-pass the check-in desk. But you have the option to. A frequent DVC visitor really doesn't need to see the CM every time they check-in. They know the resort better than the CMs do. I like having the option of staying late in the park and going directly to my room. I don't see the harm in it.

Yup, does make sense. awesome

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"George Banks and all he stands for will be saved. Maybe not in life, but in imagination. Because that's what we storytellers do. We restore order with imagination. We instill hope again and again and again." Walt Disney