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Some Ask if the Disney Magic Is Slipping - New York Times, 7/31/05


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  • Some Ask if the Disney Magic Is Slipping - New York Times, 7/31/05

    MAYBE it was the rollaway bed that didn't materialize because it was suddenly deemed a fire hazard.

    Or maybe it was the air mattress that surfaced in its place with a pile of bedding that included 20 - yes, 20 - pillowcases and one sheet.

    Or maybe it was the manager who called and apologized for the mistakes - at nearly 1 a.m.

    But as tipping points go, it was hard to top the bill with a $750 error - in the resort's favor. Such a mistake was proof positive that something was terribly amiss, leaving my wife and me to ask, "What kind of a Mickey Mouse operation is this?"

    It was a question meant in the most literal sense. We weren't staying at some budget motel off the Interstate. We were spending more than $300 a night for a one-bedroom "turn-of-the-century style vacation villa" at Walt Disney World's one-year-old Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa. But we were experiencing little of the celebrated Disney "magic," that bend-over-backward brand of service. Instead, our family vacation was turning into a part-nightmarish, part-comical adventure that I quickly took to describing as Disney meets "Fawlty Towers" meets the "Twilight Zone."

    And apparently, we weren't the only ones on this ride. To hear some other guests tell similar stories of inept service at Disney World theme parks and resorts is to realize the Mouse may no longer be as mighty.

    The issue seems to resonate with Disney guests. On such Web sites as and, they debate matters ranging from the company's attention to ride safety (in the wake of recent scares connected to such attractions as Mission: Space at the Epcot park and the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney-MGM Studios, including the death of a 4-year-old boy after riding Mission: Space) to the wait times for Disney buses. There appears to be a growing view that the Mouse no longer delivers at the same magical level.
    Check out my Theme Park Photos at

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