Don’s Disney Year – Contempo Cafe

Good morning, campers.

Going to be a quick and dirty, abbreviated post, as I was up late and then again up early for the Destination D conference, You’ll hear more on that at a future post… except for this.

During one of the presentations the presenter, Paul Anderson, a historian with the Disney Family Museum in San Francisco, noted that Welch’s (yes, the jelly people) had been an early sponsor of the Magic Kingdom and had put out a Magic Kingdom-themed cookbook where the main ingredient in every recipe was Welch’s grape jelly. To illustrate that point, at that moment Mr. Anderson brought out a jar of the product.

Throughout the rest of the day, that jar of Welch’s grape jelly kept reappearing during different presentations, enough so that I decided that jar now had an intrinsic value. As such, I made it known that I would like to possess it. So when the open Q & A portion of the program came up, I made this known and asked. Twice.

Once they realized I was serious, I was rejected with a few sideways glances, although one of the members of the panel suggested that if I bring in my own jar of Welch’s grape jelly, Mr. Anderson would gladly sign it. The fact that a panel of archivists miss the point of a perceived value of an original item versus a copy or restoration is something I do find humorous. At this point, I’ve tabled the matter for future consideration.

But onto today’s experience. During the dinner break, I went up from the convention floor to the Contempo Cafe, located on the Monorail Lobby level of the Contemporary Resort. If you’ve ever been here, you’ll know it’s loud.

I’M SORRY, I MEANT IT’S LOUD.

L. O. U. D.

Especially during a dinner rush, when 300 of your close personal friends are all trying to get fed and get back in line for good places to sit for the next Destination D session.

To get your food, you order from a touchscreen menu (at surprisingly reasonable prices), then pay for it at the end of a line and wait at a very busy, very small pickup window.

I did a quick scan through the list and chose a Marinated Beef Flatbread. I looked at how crowded the restaurant was and ordered it to go, figuring I could find a place to sit downstairs. Once I paid, I went and stood by the window. A group of football player-types (call them Tom, Dick, and Larry), came through the line right after me. We stood around, chatting as we waited about all sorts of things – mostly about the importance of stitch selection during knitting. I’d never really considered how vital that was before to garment construction.

But I digress. Just as it was starting to get good about weft and weave, my new companions’ orders came up in the window. As they bid me farewell, there was still no sign of mine. I glanced at my watch. Five minutes. Well, maybe flatbreads take a while longer than sandwiches.

At the nine-minute mark, the number on my receipt gets called. Finally! I walk up to the window where they attempt to hand me a piping hot… meatball sub.

“Um-mm. Excuse me. That’s not what I ordered.”

The gentleman holding the tray looked at me.

“That’s not what I ordered.” I showed him my receipt.

He looked at my receipt. He looked down at the order slip. At the receipt again. At the order slip again. Then, with a shrug, he walked back into the kitchen area with the tray.  “I NEED A MARINATED BEEF FLATBREAD!” The sub slid off the tray into the trash.

I look at my watch. Twelve minutes. The flood of people from D23 has started to ebb. The tide has begun to roll out instead. I stand there, one hand tapping against my thigh.

Fifteen minutes.

Eighteen minutes.

Twenty-two minutes.

At the twenty-four minute point, a gentleman in civilian clothes and a Disney nametag walks out from the kitchen area. Still without food, I believe it is time to escalate. I get his attention. “Excuse me, sir. Are you the manager?”

He looks up with a frown. “Yes.”

“Well, I’d like a refund. I haven’t gotten my-“

“Done. Jose, take care of him.” He waved over one of the castmembers from a register, turned and walked away.

Well, that sure didn’t turn out the way I’d envisioned. In all my years of coming to Walt Disney World, I have never, in any sort of customer service situation,  had a manager cut me off, not inquire about the details or work to try to find a mutually satisfactory resolution. I was taught from outside, both from anecdote and whem studying business management, that was literally The Disney Way.

This was so unique, I just had to describe it and make it the Day 2 entry.

There is a happy ending, too. I did get dinner. After I received my refund, I stopped by the coffee cart in the lobby so I at least had something. I decided to jot down a quick note for the hotel manager, describing what happened. I did note I would be placing it in the blog.

While I was in the D23 event that evening, a staff member came to me and said someone was there to see me. It was the hotel manager. He apologized for what happened, and I should be able to write it up, but I shouldn’t have had to miss my dinner.

So that’s how I got a Marinated Beef Flatbread personally delivered to me by the manager of the manager of the Contemporary Resort in the middle of Destination D. Not a bad second day.

P.S.  The Marinated Beef Flatbread is AWESOME!