I have always thought that it be a great job to be travel writer — visit fabulous places for free and be super critical, what could be better? Since my paltry writing skills will never land me that job, I’ll have to play out my fantasy on my blog and you all will have to indulge me(or click to the next blog)
Notice that I said being critical is part of the fun. So I developed my own little system for ranking the vendors and services I encountered on my latest trip.
1. US AirwaysTwo out of four legs were more than 30 minutes late, out of all of the people I encountered on my four leg journey greeted me with a smile and said hello. However, a savvy travel writer picks up on the feelings of other travelers and US Airways was failing in a big way. Northwest has been getting lots of media heat for cancelled flights, but it seemed like US Airways was in the same boat, we heard of at least five cancelled flights on the western us during our journey and not once did I see a helpful positive employee, stranded passengers were sent to wait in line after line. I would recommend avoiding this company, I know I hope never to fly with them again.
2. Greyline Disney Shuttle Hooray for consistent reliable service. I think I have taken this shuttle from LAX to Anaheim at least four times and feel comfortable recommending them to all. It runs on a regular schedule and the drivers are always nice. The return trip was over the top in customer service and I feel horrible that I didn’t get the driver’s name(my excuse is pure brain exhaustion after 3.5 software training days). She gave a running commentary on the way back including key sites for movies and a general overview of where the various cities around LA are. The kicker was that instead of dropping us a the airport where we were planning on taking another shuttle to our LA hotel — she went out of her way to take us directly to the hotel! Great job!!!
3. Disneyland Hotel Just because it’s Disney doesn’t make it great. I can’t quite give it two paws down because there were a few good things — check-in desk staff super wonderful! Banquet waitstaff fantastic!! Steakhouse 55:spendy, but they know there way around a steak Prix Fixe menu was a great bargain(on Disney Standards ie less than $30/pp) Housekeeping — friendly with average service(wilted flowers left for two days, I threw them out and they were replaced the next) The bad: banquet food yuck (I know you can only expect so much) day one was great and set the standard high: eggs well cooked with cheese and chives for condiments, plus a cereal and yogurt bar. Unfortunately other breakfasts fell short with runny scrambled eggs (with no condiments)and dry baked goods. Other hotel food venues: overcooked shrimp, less than friendly waitstaff. Lifeguards at pool: scary. Don’t go thinking that I spent a lot of time at the pool because I didn’t, but my room overlooked and every time I looked out side the lifeguards were all standing together with backs toward the pool.
4. Disney Store in Downtown Disney: Disney is full of lines, everyone knows that. But it’s no excuse for poor customer service. At any other retail store in the country (ok except Wal-Mart) 10 customers would not be left in line while clerks counted cash in not one but TWO drawers. I of course made a comment — to which the response was — ‘were pickup, we have to do this.’ And while I understand counting one drawer, I totally disagree that you had to move on the the second without apologizing to customers or searching for another clerk. It’s so UN-Disney.
5. Pearson Learning: Pearson is the parent company of Powerschool. The swag was good, the trainers knew their stuff. Second City evening event was fun. But a couple of key things kept this crew from a paws up rating: Trainers didn’t know where bathrooms were located and the first day sent participants far off into another building. On the end of the second day I heard rumors of a closer bathroom and confirmed. This in my mind is event planning 101 — label your bathrooms and make sure the trainers(especially those in opening session) know where they are. Other major flaw: No trainers gave out contact information — I believe this is on purpose as Pearson charges a support fee and while I recognize that some folks may take advantage of trainers hospitality, after paying $2000 to attend I believe I have the right to contact a trainer to ask a couple of questions specifically related to the training when working with my live data.
6. Camp BowWow I would give these guys 10 paws up if I could (well I know I could, but a good travel writer sticks to her rating system :)). I was totally addicted to the webcams — I saw Tanner have lots of fun and gets lots of love from the staff. I honestly think he is depressed to be home or maybe just plain tired. If I didn’t know better I would think he was sick, but watching him run around day after day I know he’s just plain pooped. He didn’t even give the bunny a good chase this am — poor guy.
So there you have it, my trip in a nut shell. Now back to normal life…