Friday, December 31, 2010

How Disney Saved Christmas

Lindsey wanted a wristwatch for Christmas this year, and not just any old wristwatch. She wanted one that had Rapunzel on it from Disney's movie Tangled that we had seen Thanksgiving Day. She wanted it to be digital, but her teacher told her she would be "very disappointed" if Santa brought her a digital one, because she needed practice reading the time the old-fashioned way.

I dutifully go to the Disney store website and use their tools to design the watch. I pick the watch face, the color of the band, even personalize it with her name. Each watch is custom-made for each order, depending on color and design selected.

I finish personalizing the watch, including putting Lindsey's name on it, and order it on December 13th. That should be in plenty of time, I've got two weeks until Christmas and I live in the internet age when things get delivered in 24 hours from the click of a mouse. I receive an email confirmation of the order.

By December 21st I haven't seen a shipping notification, so I check on my order. The only message is  "not shipped." So I call the customer service number to find out when they expect to ship it.

Okay, so perhaps I was a bit cynical. It's one thing to call all the staff members working in a Disney park a "cast member," but a service rep on the phone? It seems a bit much.

I finally got a live person and found out that because I had personalized it with her name, I should've ordered it by Dec 9th to guarantee Christmas delivery. Apparently there was a little disclaimer that said that once I landed on that page, but of course I didn't see it. The "cast member" was apologetic but said that it probably wouldn't make it in time, especially since I hadn't paid for express delivery...because I didn't think I needed to.

My fault for being the bad customer, I figure I'll be printing a picture of the watch off their site and putting it in a card for her. The problem is, she truly, deeply believes in Santa Claus, and this was supposed to be her gift from Santa. How do I explain this?

Do I tell her the elves didn't finish it in time? That it fell from Santa's sleigh? Or do I let the cat out of the bag that the gift was from her parents, who ordered it late from an actual company, not from the North Pole?

Then I get an email on December 23rd informing me that my order shipped, and a call from the husband who saw the credit card get charged. It shipped? Is it going to make it? No, I said sadly, I didn't pay for express shipping, it won't make it.

Then, suddenly, the unexpected on Christmas Eve.

And then the incredible:

Yes, Disney express delivered my package to me without telling me they were doing so, to ensure that the gift arrived in time. Talk about underpromise and overdeliver.

I could've hugged the FedEx guy. He looked tired and cold and probably could've used it, but instead I gave him a huge smile and said "Thank you, you have no idea what this will mean to a little girl." I think that helped brighten his day.

When a company already has an exceptional reputation and incredible customer service, how do you improve upon it? By going to infinity and beyond. Disney has redeemed itself in my eyes.

By the way, Lindsey loves her watch.


  1. This is unbelieveable service. Did you send Disney a copy of this post -- or similar words?

  2. They are the epitome of customer service. I love Disney! You should read the article that was in last week's NY Times about all the new technology they've installed at the parks to make the lines even shorter.

  3. I usually love Disney too, but our parks experience in October left me a bit wary. Not that they could make my kids behave, but it seems that everyone else has risen to their level in customer service so now that has become the standard and not the exception. This, however, was the exception.