Monday, 4 April 2011

The Award For Worst Service At A Theme Park In Florida Goes To Islands Of Adventure


IOA, better known as Universal Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Florida, draws in the kiddies with the Harry Potter ride and overpriced butterbeer, a mix of rootbeer and cream soda. People with weak stomachs beware and watch the kids, this fizzy concoction can make an over-hyper kid go nuts!

So, why the worst theme park award? Well, as a Floridian myself and a former restaurant owner, I expect service and I'm ticked when I don't get. From the moment I entered the gate, the lady taking the ticket was splendid, asking for a smile in exchange for my ticket. Ok, not a bad greeting, I was excited. I proceeded to the Harry Potter ride. Mind you I haven't seen one of the movies, I'm a bit too old for them, but I loved Lord of Rings, so I figured what the heck, it's almost the same thing. The inside of the ride was like a museum and the architecture was incredible. So not that bad right?

After I rode the ride, I was so nauseous I almost fell down. That will be my first and last time on this ride. If you have motion sickness don't ride this! I'm the kind of person that can ride just about every ride imaginable. The bigger and faster the roller coaster the better, but this ride was eek!

I figured I would grab a sprite to settle my stomach and preceded to the nearest drink line that had 4 people in front of me. Ten minutes......Fifteen minutes.......Twenty minutes.....OMG, you have got to be kidding me! Three people in a booth and not one knows how to hand a kid a churro and a drink.

Half the time, the other two attendants were standing and when I got up to the counter, the counter person "Daniel" (April 3, 2011, 5:15) said in about the slowest voice possible, Cannnnnnnnnnnn IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Helllllllllp Yoooooou. It was that slow. No, he was not disabled, he just had zero urgency whatsoever.

After I finally got my drink, that's all I wanted, my fiance found the turkey leg booth situated right next to the Hulk roller coaster. He was about twentieth in line, but all they were selling was turkey legs, chips, and drinks. He got up to the counter and the lady immediately turned her back to him, something you never do to a customer in the hospitality industry. She proceeded to yak, yak, yak away with the young worker (male), shouldn't say worker because all he did was lean on the counter and distract the counter lady (April 3, 2011, 7:30).

So it seems all we were doing was hitting food booths right? Well, those are the best rides at IOU because you can't ever get on the two roller coasters in the park. If they were to combine Universal Studios and IOU, it may be a bit better and worth the price, but that's another story.

Ok, so on to the cotton candy booth, another experiment. Twenty people in line and no end in site. Why is it that every booth serving churros or pretzels was like slowmotion, only worse!

I finally got up to the counter and the manager looked at me, after I was standing there for thirty freakin minutes. She said, "just one minute I have to clean the counter". Still cleaning...still cleaning.....a little talking...counting money...forgot about me. The counterworker finally said, as he tried to lean over the manager with her drawer completely open to everyone in line, "what can I get you?"

I told him, "cotton candy and a pretzel". The manager, still in his way, never totaled me out. She just stood there, with her drawer open still. Are you kidding me? When she finally cashed me out, she held my $.95 cents for ransom for at least 3 minutes.

To make a long story short, I can honestly say, not a dime of my money will ever finds it ways to Universal again. As a hospitality person, a restaurants owner featured in Orlando Sentinel as the youngest in Mount Dora, a college student-that's right IOU, sometimes college students do care about service because we are all not all 18 and right out of high school, this place is a joke!

Now, the only thing I'll say about the workers in the park is that they are a reflection of the people that manage them and that starts from the top. I can't even imagine the quality of workers in your food and beverage department, and to be quite truthful, I would start investigating the kind of service you're providing, and to whom you're providing it to. Why? Not all of us visiting Islands of Adventure are tourists. We pay taxes and we often frequent these parks, at least I frequent Busch Gardens because it's the best theme park in Florida, so we deserve a bit more than you're providing as far as service goes.

So here's what you're going to do. Get out of the office and suits, your chiropractic chairs and heels, and start looking into who's providing service and how it stacks up to the other theme parks in Florida. I fail to see, that without the Harry Potter area, you would have any business, but someone still loves crappy service, but it's just not Florida residents, so SHAPE UP!



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