Many see Disneyland as having better customer service than Disney World, but I think there are at least three things Disneyland could learn from Disney World. While Disneyland is more of a “locals” park, it does attract a lot of out of town vacationers. They even have three on-property hotels and those of us who pay to stay in them shouldn’t be an after thought. This crowd is the group Disney World serves better with these three ideas stolen from its east coast sibling.
1. Consolidating Cards
Entering Disneyland park for early entry goes a little like this: dig out your room key to show you are staying on site, then dig out your park pass, another card, and pass both to the attendant. Okay two cards, not that bad. Then try to stop and buy something. You need a credit card or cash. Or you can charge it to your room with your room key, you have to pull out your ID to prove who you are. Three cards. Next, walk a few feet and decide to stop for a PhotoPass picture, here you get at least one more. You might end up with more than one if you forget to give yours over to the photographer right away. A few minutes later, stop to get a FastPass, you have to fish out the right plastic card with Mickey’s face on it. You have at least three now, perhaps you are carrying more if you aren’t there alone. Plus you have to carry the paper FastPasses. At Disney World, all these cards and FastPasses are covered by the magic band. I get that there is a lot of resistance to MagicBands and FastPass+ on the west coast but they should find a way to let hotel guests consolidate their needed cards into one, like the old Key to the World card. (They get bonus points if they incorporate the Disney Visa in there too!)
2. Memory Maker
At Disney World you can buy a length-of-stay Memory Maker. You get digital copies of all the photos you can link to your MagicBand throughout the week. And attraction photos get automatically uploaded. No scanning cards into the app or putting in their numbers online. No searching screens when you get off a ride for a number to put into your account. Those are the struggles in Disneyland, especially keeping track of that or those PhotoPass cards. And last time we were at Disneyland they only sold a one day unlimited PhotoPass for $39, you couldn’t buy a pass for the entire length of your stay unless you were willing to multiply your days by $39; for us it would have been $196 for five days. That was more than we spent on Memory Maker for Disney World for ten days. Now, Disneyland’s PhotoPass+ finally offers a week long pass as well, which is an improvement, but I think a full shift to Memory Maker and an FID chip to link the photos right to your room key would be much superior to PhotoPass+.
3. Dining Plan
It might not be ideal for every situation, but Disney World offers three pretty solid choices of dining plans. There are quick-service, standard, and deluxe options with varying combinations of meals and snacks. These plans are very popular for lots of reasons. I think they are great for pre-budgeting and for increasing the carefreeness feeling when you are on vacation. Not having to think about the cost of each item on the menu really reduces the sense of feeling nickel and dimed. And the meal plan is easily accessible in the MagicBand. You can also charge tips right to your hotel room as well through the band. Disneyland could really benefit from at least offering such a plan. Disneyland’s current dining plan is limited to character meal vouchers that seem like more work than they are worth and they definitely become another thing to lug around.