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Day Four – Florida 2015

Dear readers.
You’ll be well aware by now that I’m into customer service, and like to voice my opinions via email and letter should things not go my way. That way I avoid all face to face contact, and have time to try and articulate my words, where if I did it face to face I’d probably crack up and run away. Quickly.

There have been several requests to publish such complaints, and they are coming in a soon to be published book, which will also feature the diaries and blogs from the very first holidays in the 90’s, where Kevin Moss (friend on a Golfing trip back in 1996) smashed his way through an entire bone china tea set, Sion Williams (again Golfing friend), needing a toilet in the middle of nowhere decided to go at the edge of a full children’s playground, and of course the infamous Russell Williams Jeans story.

Below is a letter I’ve just concocted to the customer service branch of Universal Studios. This will pretty much go word for word onto Trip Advisor, and will also be sent to my MP, the Mayor of Kissimeee and Alan Partridge.

Dear Kyle. (Customer service representative)

Following on from our friendly conversation earlier this year, regarding my request for assistance in attending your parks, I have just returned from Islands of Adventure, Orlando, and have had quite a mixed day. I’m not sure if you are the person to speak to about it, but maybe you can pass it on to the relevant persons if you’re not. Thanks.

We arrived at 8.30am, to try and beat the lines, and following advice from previous visitors, as well as drawing on our own previous experience. It is now $17 to park. Can I please ask what I am getting for my $17? Usually a cost is negated by a service, but I’m confused as to what I’m getting for my $17, apart from a few grumpy attendants pushing me into a line of cars, whilst I wait for 20 minutes to arrive at a parking space. Surely this can’t be a price for research and development, as I parked in King Kong, as I did back in 1992 and 1989. (when back then King Kong was actually semi modern, at only 60 years old)

So off to the Will Call kiosk to collect my tickets. I had printed off a document that told me I needed my credit card, used to buy the tickets, and my booking reference. I arrived at Will Call, and duly put in my details. Now, bearing in mind that I’ve rushed here early to get to the front of the queue, or at least as close to it as I can get, for some reason my reference was unable to be printed off, and I’m delayed. All those people I overtook to gain advantage have now passed me.

So, onto the attendant, who, after trying herself to enter my details, asked me for ID. Four times. According to your literature, printed off after buying four adult tickets, I don’t need ID. I just need a booking reference and the credit card I purchased the tickets with. As a Police Officer, I then found myself being interrogated as I have done many times.

“You could have found this paper, and could be trying to gain the tickets that aren’t yours”

But I have the emails, and the booking reference, and my drivers licence with my picture on, and the credit card.

“Yes, but you could have found all that as well”

I have a series of emails between myself and Kyle if you’d like to read them.

“I’ll get a supervisor, they have more authority than I do”.

The supervisor arrived, and again I had to go through a series of self verifying questions. Name, address, phone number, credit card. I wouldn’t mind, but I’m trying to get into a theme park, not bring down the CIA.

Eventually in the park, we headed to Harry Potter, Jurassic Park and Spider-Man. All great as usual, but can’t see where the R+D money has gone. A dinosaur didn’t work, the sound failed on Spider-Man at the end, and the spotlights leading into Potter were so dim we were unable to see anything of the sorting hat, the moving pictures or the Gryffindor common room. Cat in the Hat was fine (for the children) however, Hulk needs a paint job, and Ripsaw falls closed on us mid way through queuing due to a thunder storm. No ones fault, not even the Romans, but there was no announcement from staff, we just stood there waiting.

Now, $106 plus to get a ticket, and there was four of us. $17 to park my car at your park, that I’ve already spent over $400 to get into anyway. Then I’ve bought a drink, with refills. $12.99 each, and there’s four of us. Now, as its summer and the park is busy, I’m required to get fast passes to guarantee being able to ride the rides, as if I stood in line for over 80 minutes a ride, there are not enough hours in the day for me to see it all, and experience all your rides. So, fast passes, times four, at $34.99. Let’s not count the food…in fact, lets. A hot dog and fries combo, which is exactly that, so no need for the word combo, is $9.99 plus tax from a vendor, a low budget meal….a packet of small chips, or crisps as we say, is $2.99 plus tax. Now I didn’t see any weapon, but that is robbery. Daylight robbery. Just have a quick glance at the figures and see how much cash I parted with today, and tell me that the costs are justified. Parking, entrance to your park that doesn’t guarantee me getting on any rides. Overpriced food and drinks, and rides that close with no notice or explanation.So, I figure I’ve spent over $650 today, and that doesn’t count the air fare to get to Florida.

Due to my day being completely spoilt from the very start, I’d like you to consider issuing me with a refund please. You didn’t, and could never have, given me access to all your attractions in one day, and provided me with value for money. I go to a mall, my security patrolled parking is free, why are you charging $17? And surely my paid access to your park is enough for me to get on your rides without the need to buy a further express pass.
Thank you

We’ll see.
I’m not holding out much hope for anything from Universal.

Oh, and squirrels don’t hibernate. In fact there are only three British mammals that do. The Bat, the hedgehog and the Dormouse.

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