On Wednesday Disney Cruise Line released prices and dates for their 2008 Panama Canal and Mexican Riviera cruises. With thousands of people wanting reservations on these cruises, Disney’s call center was sure to be overwhelmed when they opened that morning.
We had a good number of requests from our clients who wanted a reservation on one of these cruises. We had a plan. Days before I had prepared a cheat sheet for each client – what sailing and type of stateroom they wanted, their past Disney cruise history (if any), their information that Disney would need to make the booking (birthdates, home address, phone #’s, etc). That’s us above holding piles of “cheat sheets” and folders for our clients – come 6 a.m. our time Wednesday morning we had our headsets on and we were ready!
But things don’t always go exactly to plan. We woke up at 5:15 a.m. on Wednesday to 7 degree weather and lots of snow still outside from the rough winter we have had. It was ironic that we’d be reserving many tropical cruises for clients on a day that was so cold in Denver! We divided our reservations into two and each starting hitting our speed dial buttons to the Disney Call Center shortly before 6 a.m. – we wanted to be the first to make reservations. After several busy signals we finally were put on hold – we each were told the wait would be 49 minutes.
Andrew and Josh had to be driven to school at 7:30 a.m. Anne knew she couldn’t possibly be through with Disney by that time, so she had one of our sons call a friend at 7 a.m. asking for a ride to school. The friend’s mom was happy to do it. Whew! First hurdle cleared.
I finally got through to Disney at 7:10 a.m. On the first reservation I booked I asked a question and the Disney agent said, “Let me put you on hold and find out the answer.” I said, “No!! Don’t put me on hold!! I don’t want to get dropped!!” The agent said, “don’t worry, I won’t drop you”
You can guess what is coming next. The agent put me on hold before I got a chance to say “forget it”, and sure enough I was dropped from the call. I tried to call back but it was hopelessly busy by that time.
Fortunately we had a backup plan. Starting at 6 a.m., while on hold with Disney, both Anne and I were feverously making as many reservations as we could over the internet. We held a number of staterooms for clients this way. But for some reservations we had to talk to a Disney agent (such as for clients moving their cruise dates from 2007 sailings). By having us call on separate phone lines, we each had a backup should one of us have difficulty getting in. Anne finally got through to Disney on her phone line after waiting over three hours! (9:15 a.m.). Anne made a few reservations on the phone, and then I took over and was on the phone with Disney for another hour and a half.
In the end we did get all the reservations that we wanted to for our clients, but not without some anxious moments! There was a huge demand for the cruises – by the next day one of the Panama Canal cruises was completely sold out!
This weekend the Super Bowl will be played in Miami. Wednesday was the Super Bowl for travel agents – we had alot of people counting on us and rooting us on to get the reservations they so coveted on these cruises. Was it worth it? Yes! And we went out to dinner that night to celebrate!