|Any guest can meet characters|
One of the many things we appreciate about Disney is that it is a great equalizer—all people regardless of ethnicity, age, ability, or financial status get equal opportunities throughout the Walt Disney World Resort—well anything Disney for that matter.
Ethnicity—Disney does its best to offer information in various languages. Take park maps for example. There is an entire display of park maps offered in languages from around the world. My sense is that this is one of the reasons we have heard too many languages to mention while touring the parks and why Walt Disney World is the number one vacation destination worldwide.
Age—other than height restrictions for safety purposes, a person’s age has no bearing on what they can or cannot experience at Walt Disney World (alcoholic beverage purchases aside). For us, we are all kids at heart!
Ability—with Disney’s Guest Assistance Card guests of all abilities can access rides, attractions, transportation systems, shows, etc. Even the water parks have special entrances into the creeks for guests who need assistance.
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Financial Status—yes, you can go to Disney and spend lots of money staying at deluxe resort, have premium or platinum packages that include tours, experiences, and fine dining. But paying a premium for your stay does not get you better access to what others get access to without paying the premium. An exception might be the Concierge level guests can get Advanced Dining Reservations that may be difficult for other guests.
Let’s take Fastpass for example. Everyone who has park ticket media or very soon, MagicBands, has access to Fastpass or soon to be Fastpass +. The service is FREE and accessible. Other parks require extra payment for a similar service or only offer it to on property guests.
Dining reservations are another example. Anyone can make an Advanced Dining Reservation. Yes, some do require a credit card to hold the reservation and are subject to a “no show” fee. Some experiences, such as dinner shows, require payment up front but it is the same for all (though we did see some people paying for the Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show upon arrival—click here to read more)
When we checked in for our 7:45 pm ADR for Rose & Crown, I watched the people in front of me at the check-in counter attempt to get special privileges. They appeared to be sisters traveling with their significant others and one sister appeared to be the mom of two young boys in a stroller. They were well dressed, bejeweled, and I must admit, I was envious of their “we aren’t sweating” appearance. When the Cast Member told them they would have to wait as they did not have a dining reservation, the debate was on. Eyes fluttered, smiles flashed, jewelry was waived. These gals were used to getting what they wanted when they wanted it. I admired the stance of the Cast Member, politely unwavering. The ladies walked away. I don’t know if they stayed around or not, but I do know that they did not get seated before us and when I went to the bathroom mid-meal, they were no where to be found in the restaurant.
As I approached the check-in counter, next of course, I told the Cast Member that she handled that well; then proceeded to give our information for our dining reservation. I also politely inquired about the possibility of sitting on the patio. I was told that since it had rained earlier that the patio had been closed, but our request would be noted. I thanked her and went off with the buzzer that would notify me when we could be seated. Well, my polity inquiry must have worked, as we were seated on the patio. Lagoon side seating for Illuminations! What a treat!
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Through all of this, I just kept thinking about how Disney was the great equalizer. While I wasn’t dressed to the hilt or bejeweled, our family got seated as we had made dining reservation, just as anyone else could. Neither my financial status nor the ladies in front of me had any bearing on who got seated and who didn’t. I did feel bad for the young boys in the stroller as it was already after 7:00 pm, so they may have had to wait for their dinner. We had a snack late in the afternoon as it is hard for us to wait until that late to have dinner.
Our table on the patio was right next to a "Make A Wish" family who did receive some extra magic and pixie dust that evening as the child was given a magic wand, got to waive it to "start" Illuminations, and was given a special certificate to commemorate the event. Yes, Disney is the great equalizer!