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General Discussions Discuss Airport to boot Disney greeters in the Community Center forums; Airport to boot Disney greeters Taxis, other drivers said deal was unfair Beth Kassab | Sentinel Staff Writer Posted September 22, 2005 Disney's Magical Express, the free service that shuttles ...
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    Kellie19891992's Avatar
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    Airport to boot Disney greeters

    Airport to boot Disney greeters

    Taxis, other drivers said deal was unfair

    Beth Kassab | Sentinel Staff Writer
    Posted September 22, 2005


    Disney's Magical Express, the free service that shuttles Disney tourists and their baggage to and from Orlando International Airport, will no longer be able to lure in travelers with greeters on the airport's third level.

    The employees, who wear oversized Mickey Mouse gloves, meet passengers as they enter the main airport terminal. Their location has been a source of friction for taxi, luxury car and rental-car services, which say Disney's exclusive access to the third level has significantly cut into their businesses.

    "We don't let anybody else have greeters there," said airport board Chairman Jeffry Fuqua. "Everybody needs to have a fair opportunity and equal playing field."

    The change came about Wednesday after the airport's attorney sent a letter to Disney's attorney informing him that the greeters need to be removed by Oct. 31. The letter also clarified that Walt Disney World guests who had not pre-arranged a ride on Magical Express would not be able to access the service once they arrived at the airport.

    Disney spokesman Jacob DiPietre said Disney plans to discuss the changes with airport officials, but he would not comment on when the greeters would be moved or what effect that might have on the service.

    "We evaluate and adjust our operations on an ongoing basis," DiPietre said.

    Since Disney began Magical Express as a pilot project in May, other providers of transportation at the airport have cried foul, saying the service and Disney's special access have dramatically hurt their businesses.

    Disney has said about 5,000 people ride Magical Express every day -- a number far above what the airport expected when it agreed to the 18-month trial run last year.

    "The response is considerably greater than we anticipated," Fuqua said.

    Earlier this month an attorney for the Greater Orlando Livery Association, a group of about 200 bus, van and luxury-car drivers, sent a letter to OIA Executive Director Bill Jennings demanding that the airport terminate Disney's contract for the program.

    Larry Colleton, the attorney for the association, said Disney's greeters were soliciting passengers who had not already signed up for Magical Express, which is against the airport's solicitation rules.

    Jennings had not responded to Colleton's letter and did not alert him about the changes for greeters.

    "It's kind of like too little, too late," Colleton said. "We still stand by our position that this contract should be terminated. How is Disney being held accountable for its material breach of the contract?"

    Disney has said it never violated any terms of its agreement with the airport.

    Airport officials said they want to schedule a series of meetings with Disney over the next 60 days to lay out a framework for how Magical Express and any similar services that might be offered by other companies in the future will operate.

    Of major concern is whether the pilot program is causing the airport to lose money because its other concessionaires may no longer pay as much in airport fees. Disney has spent $21 million on the program since May, about $2 million of that going to the airport through fees or improvements, according to documents from a private presentation Disney made to airport officials last month.

    Fuqua said one option might be to require Magical Express to operate out of both the A and B sides of the terminal like most concessionaires such as rental-car companies and other shuttle services.

    Currently Magical Express only operates out of the A terminal, and a change would significantly decrease the program's efficiency and result in an estimated increase of $15 million a year in Disney's operating costs, according to documents prepared by the company.

    But Fuqua said other providers of transportation are required to operate on both sides of the airport despite the increased expenses and decreased efficiency.

    "It costs more money for Hertz and the others to operate that way," Fuqua said. "We can't set our airport up to operate to Disney's pleasure."

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    SecondStar's Avatar
    SecondStar is offline Why is the rum gone?!?!
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    pfffft. why in the world would I pay someone to take me from the airport to WDW when Disney will do it for free and are less creepy than taxi drivers?
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    Kellie19891992's Avatar
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    so true SecondStar. Rather deal with people who enjoy their job

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    SnwhtNdwrfs is offline Dancing with the dwarfs!
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    What ever happened to forking over too much money for a car rental and getting lost by yourself? Oh, the good ole days!


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    disneydame2004's Avatar
    disneydame2004 is offline Celebrate Everyday!
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    Quote Originally Posted by devkxl
    Rather deal with people who enjoy their job

    Unfortunately, what keeps getting lost in this issue is that the drivers and buses are actually run by Mears, Disney just contracts with them. So some of the drivers crying 'foul' work for the company that is getting the money. And there have been many reports that the Magical Express drivers don't all have that Disney attitude.

    When we were there a few weeks ago, we couldn't find any greeters on the 3rd floor anyway. My parents found 1 who was hardly working at getting anyone to the right place, let alone getting new passengers to sign on.
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    Kellie19891992's Avatar
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    thats a bummer

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    MandaBella's Avatar
    MandaBella is offline "She who must be loved."
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    Quote Originally Posted by SecondStar
    pfffft. why in the world would I pay someone to take me from the airport to WDW when Disney will do it for free and are less creepy than taxi drivers?

    I can think of a few reasons to take a towncar service:

    1. You have a full kitchen or kitchenette in your room and want to pick up a bunch of groceries

    2. You don't enjoying losing hour(s) of your vacation due to the non-direct transportation from MCO to your resort and 3 others.

    3. You really dislike Mears and have had bad experiences with them.

    4. The price of a rental car isn't cheap enough.
    Amanda
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    shadesofgreen's Avatar
    shadesofgreen is offline I can write whatever I want up here now? Cool!
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    If the taxi and limo companies want to compete with Disney then they need to lower their prices and increase their guest service skills greatly.

    I think that if the companies push hard enough, Disney can just not allow them on their property without a contract. Like at Shades of Green. Only 2 transportation companies come to SOG: MEARS and Fleetwood/Bethany. Imagine if Disney went to a contract-only system.

    Don't think it can't happen. Earlier this year Disney proclaimed that absolutely no outside deliveries of food could be made on their property. Shades of Green is on Disney property even though it is not a Disney resort, so our guests are now stuck with our lousy pizza unless they want to drive to Lake Buena Vista and pick it up themselves. What kind of cut do you think that made in local business?
    These transport companies really need to be thankful for what they've got.
    What I say 100 times each day:
    "It's not a Disney Resort even though it's on Disney property!"

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    I know that Orlando International is getting a big hunk of money from Mickey to allow their people to work in the Airport. What all those other people are saying is a bunch of hogwash, there are just mean spiteful people out there who have nothing better to do then stir the pot of trouble......they need a little shot of disney magic.........about a weeks worth!!!!

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