Nothing says "dinner with Len Testa" like waking up the next morning in moose boxer shorts.
Last Saturday night, I was fortunate enough to be invited along to dinner at Le Cellier with Len Testa and Mike Scopa of the WDW Today Podcast, Henry and Fred of Touringplans.com, Michelle Scribner-McLean of All Ears, and my good friend Danielle. We were all enjoying the WDW Today Reunion. Le Cellier was fabulous as usual. I had the salt-encrusted prime rib and a mixed greens salad, and can confirm that yes indeed, everything tastes better when Len's buying.
The evening could have taken a less enjoyable turn, though, when our waitress inadvertently dropped a full tray of drinks on my shoulder. A hush fell over the restaurant as clinking glasses and ice cubes hit the ground, by way of my back. I was soaked through from neck to knee, on my right side. This could have been a real joy-killer.
But Disney lived up to its Guest Services standards. Within moments, the Manager was asking for my clothing sizes, so that her staff could bring me clean clothes from the Canadian push-cart, free of charge. I uttered a phrase that I'd like to think had never before been said at Le Cellier: "Could you bring me any undergarments?" They brought me a change of clothes in my size, including a pair of moose boxer shorts. When I let them know that my bag was now unusable, and that I had plans to go out that evening, they brought me a No Strings Attached voucher to use at any Epcot merchandise location to purchase a replacement bag, since the Canadian push-cart was closed (and perhaps didn't carry bags anyway). I left the park that evening wardrobed like a Canadian tourism billboard, with a smile on my face and carrying a bag I'd admired in MouseGears earlier.
Truly, this is the way you wanna do it, to keep the Guests coming back. It would have been easy for me to get frustrated and blame Disney if I'd had to sit in beer-drenched clothing throughout dinner, and skip my evening's plans. Whatever it cost them in merchandise, it earned them several times over in continued customer loyalty.
This isn't the first time that Disney helped me out in a sticky situation. In the summer of 2007, my son left behind a souvenir mug he'd grown rather attached to. It wasn't Disney's fault; these things just happen sometimes. When I arrived at Guest Services with my tearful child asking about where to purchase a replacement mug, a Cast Member not only advised us on how to use the lost-and-found registry, and how to contact WDW Merchandise to try to purchase a replacement, but he took the time to walk with my son to Mickey’s of Hollywood, and let him pick out any mug he’d like. His kindness, care, and patience with my sad little boy were exactly what we both needed. My son and I were talking about this just the other day, and while I couldn't quite remember the Cast Member's name, my son knew right away: Eric. And the mug still sits on a special shelf at home.
Without such great Guest Services last weekend at Le Cellier, I could have gone home cold, wet, and cranky. Instead, I ended the evening over at Port Orleans Riverside, singing along with Yee-Haw Bob, with a great story to tell and a lot of laughs. That's what I call pixie dust.