Hubby is on his way back from the park at 1:20 a.m. Not sure what he worked out with Guest Relations.
This whole situation was handled so poorly. The CMs that were at the viewing area were trying their best, but like BP, it is obvious that there is no contingency plan in place and there were inconsistent messages coming from all directions.
We were in the "green" (if you ask a CM, there is no green area) Preferred Viewing Area, having dined at Ariel's Grotto. The meal was not memorable, but our main reason for getting it was getting into the viewing area. We were at the front of the line for our viewing area.
At 10:00, we were told that CMs were "cleaning up a spill" and our entry to the area would be delayed, but we would get in. They let us in, but not to the circle area as there was a large pool of water there, and more was coming up. They brought in a crew with mops and squeegees to clean it up, and a bunch of suits were standing around watching what was happening.
At 10:20, they announced the show was cancelled. We were asked to leave the area. A group of us said we werent leaving, as we paid for premium viewing. We asked to stay for the 11:15 show and were told that we couldn't stay and besides, "a water main has broken and there is no way that the 11:15 show is happening" (a security guard at the site). A lead came over to us and told us we had to go, there was nothing he could do, we had to talk to Guest Services. We said we didn't want to leave because we had no proof we had been in the Premium Viewing Area - they had taken our passes. We asked to have someone from Guest Relations come over. No, we were told, we had to go there. Finally, they went and got us passes so we had some proof that we should have been there. We went over to Guest Services. The line was easily over 1,000 people long.
While in line by Greetings from California store, some CMs tried to get us to move from the middle of the walkway to the side, closer to the store. We moved, but no one else did. So, people just started jumping in line where we had been and the line never moved over. I walked back into the line and a CM started telling me I had to go back. I said "why, the line is here" she told me "we're moving the line" I told her she wasn't, if she wanted to move the line go to where you want the line to start moving towards the building, move those people, and the rest of the line will follow. She called over a lead, who kept interrupting me and talking over me to tell me that she wanted to listen to me (I kid you not, my 10 year old daughter was blown away). I finally said "please stop talking and listen to me. If you want the line to move, go up there to where it is away from the building and start moving those people, so the whole line knows to move over. You're coming to the middle, we moved and a bunch of people jumped in front of us." She started talking over me again, telling me I needed to move, at which point I lost it and said "I am staying here until you all realize you're doing this ***-backwards and move the line correctly. I listened and am now further back in line than I was. Sorry, not happening again," and turned back to my group.
Luckily, my hubby came up at that point to tell me he had been told that the 11:15 show was 99% likely to go and that we could go back there, get in line again and see it. When we went back, we were told no, we couldn't get in line because we had tickets to the earlier show and not the 11:15. When we said Guest Services told us, they finally let us in. At the area, they took our passes, and when we asked what would happen if the show was cancelled, they said "you'll have to talk to Guest Services". But will you give us our tickets back? "No". UGH!
Another thing that we were told in all of this was that paying $36 per person for over-salted, mediocre food at Ariel's Grotto was that we "paid for the Dining Experience that included a fast pass" and that the "fast pass has no value." In other words, if the show doesn't go on, you're S.O.L., despite how it is sold to customers. Many of those around us were sold on the Dining package as "this is the only available way to see the show today".
The show is amazing, the Imagineers have once again come up with something that surpasses everything out there. I appreciate the fact that the Powers That Be are trying to avoid the crowd factor that happens at Fantasmic and the fireworks, but more work needs to be done on this one. I have never been so disappointed in Disney in my life. They blew it tonight, the right hand didnt know what the left was doing, and there wasnt interest in making customers happy. There was no Disney Difference we could have been at any amusement park in the country by how this was handled.
We wound up standing for over 4 hours, my back is totally tweaked and I have heartburn from all of the spices on the tri-tip from Ariels. I still remain hopeful that the Disney Way will prevail and some changes will be made so that others dont have to experience what we did tonight.
Final share - and this is what someone told me, so I don't know how much of it is true, but someone near us was telling us that the stores near Guest Services were freaking out and preparing for riot conditions as that is how upset the crowd was tonight.