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View Full Version : Mixed feelings on DME


kpk89
05-14-2005, 03:14 PM
Just got back, 5-6 thru 5/13. Never had the tags, but didn't really need them. Had to stand in a long line to "check in" for the service, which I think took longer at this time because people without tags on their bags had to describe each piece of luggage to make sure they got the right one. The line was loooooong but there were tons of friendly CM's and it moved pretty quickly, and we got right onto a bus, and straight to the resort. We landed at 10:45, and we were in our villa by 12:45. Not super speedy, but not terrible considering we had 3 little kids with us who of course needed bathroom breaks, diaper changes, etc.

We had been advised by the DME on the phone prior to trip to make sure to have changes of clothes in our carryon, as bags might not arrive for a few hours. We went to Downtown Disney, returned in about 2.5 hours and our bags were just arriving. That worked out OK.

Our departing flight was for 8:10 PM, and on the day before we received a note on our door instructing us that our DME bus would pick us up at 3:40, and we needed to be there 15-20 minutes early. Well, we had planned on checking out at 11 and having plenty of time to store our luggage and go to a park for the afternoon, since we anticipated a pickup around 5. So we scrapped that plan, not feeling like we'd have enough time to get to a park, enjoy it, and return in time for the DME. So we ended up having lunch and just killing time in the lobby until 3:20.

Here's the bad part -- at about 4 pm, when the bus had not arrived, I inquired with Bell Services who called DME and was told they had us down for a 5:10 pM pickup. What?!? We could have gone to a park, or a least DTD, and enjoyed our last day instead of slumping around the resort.

After we got that news, my dh took dd4 and ds6 for a walk while I remained with our bags at the curb and tried to get dd2 to go to sleep. Well, at 4:10 pm Mears shuttle arrives to take us, saying DME called them to come get us.
Nobody told us they were coming, or I wouldn't have sent my family wandering off.

My next question was about car seats on this shuttle van. We didn't bring any, because they aren't allowed on the motor coaches or Disney transport -- but I felt like we should have them for this van, as it did have seatbelts. The driver merely said "it's up to you" (i.e., you can take this ride with no seats, or wait for the big bus.) So, against my better judgment we rode to the airport (does anybody know the law on carseats in these vans?? I know I didn't feel comfortable about it and probably shouldn't have gone, but it's done and I'm curious about the actual law.) And the whole way we're staring at the placard on the dash with the guy's name and "gratuities are appreciated." So now our complimentary DME has cost us a $20 tip to this driver, as that's all the cash we had on us.

Phew -- at any rate, we're home. We had an absolutely wonderful trip, and I'm just sad that we lost our final day (that we had planned on enjoying at a park, thanks to our evening flight.)

Feel free to share your experiences or ask questions about any details I've left out.

sk!mom
05-14-2005, 11:02 PM
Wow! Thanks for sharing and I'm sorry that the pick-up confusion caused you to have an awful last day. Use a car service next time. The experience of your last day alone would have made the cost worth it.

kpk89
05-15-2005, 09:55 AM
Yes ... we already decided to try and budget for a car service. I'll keep my eye on these boards, though -- I'm hoping that DME will radically improve as time goes on. I might be naive, but I have faith that Disney come through in the end.

:goodvibes

DisneyDreamer2
05-15-2005, 12:01 PM
We just got back 5/14 and used DME too. We had a 536 flight and a 215 pick up, but our bus didnt get there until 250! I really liked how the notice said to be ther 15 minuted early, and they were 35 minutes late.

seashoreCM
05-15-2005, 08:32 PM
Please help me. Yes, me!

Write to Disney asking for re-imbursement of the 20.00 tip. Pleaase report back wieh the results.

I would like to re-report to everyone else whether (1) Disney indeed will incude the tip with the emergency trip back to the airport on a Mears van, or (2) tips are really not expected o the emergency trip back on a Mears van as evidenced by Disney's refusal, and a tip is included in Mears' billback to Disney.

l say they ought to reimburse.

jesus this disney quest keyboards is terrible'

Disey hints:
http://members.aol.com/ajaynejr/disney.htm

(6/27 Back home, finally got to fix the typos)

seashoreCM
05-15-2005, 08:34 PM
deleted

LisaS
05-15-2005, 10:18 PM
I would also be interested in hearing what Disney has to say if you do ask about reimbursement of the $20 tip. We just got back last night. We got a letter from DME a day before departure, listing our return flight info, but asking us to call DME to schedule our airport trip because they said they did not know our flight's departure time despite having our airline and flight number. I called them (a long distance call by the way, not an 800 number) and told them our flight left at 6:25 pm. The woman I spoke with said they already had us scheduled to leave Yacht Club at 3:30 and to be out front by 3:15. We were there right at 3:15. At 3:40 pm when no bus had arrived, one of the Bell Services staff members became concerned and picked up the phone to call Mears for us. Just at that moment, a cab driver got out of his cab holding up a sign with my name on it. He had just been contacted by Mears to take us to the airport.

Since we were expecting to be riding the free DME coach, we weren't expecting to be tipping a taxi driver and did not have much in the way of small bills with us. However, here we were being driven straight to the airport with no other passengers in the van and no other stops along the way which was very nice, and being dropped off directly in front of our airline, so we felt that we ought to give the driver something. So we did tip our driver, though I don't know exactly how much my husband gave him -- we were scrambling to pull together whatever he could between the two of us as we exited the van.

I was grateful for the taxi ride and grateful that DME had not made us wait more than 10 minutes past our scheduled departure time before dispatching a taxi for us, but it did put us in an uncomfortable position where we weren't sure how the driver was being compensated and weren't prepared ourselves with the right sort of bills to take care of things properly.

kpk89
05-15-2005, 10:56 PM
I'm mailing a letter tomorrow -- I'll let you know what response I get!

I also looked up the car seat law -- children under 3 must be in a safety seat in a passenger vehicle. We had heard that you can't use carseats on the DME coaches or on Disney Transport buses, so didn't bring any. I'm feeling pretty badly that I trusted the Mears driver and not my instinct -- if anything had happened to my kids on that trip I would never forgive myself. Even though it's the driver's responsibility (he was breaking the law by driving us without the kids being properly restrained) the bottom line is that as the parent, I have the final say. So the guy got a $20 tip for either being ignorant of the law, or for deliberately breaking it.

VickiVM
05-16-2005, 09:06 AM
Kim, I hope you include what you just found out about child car seats in yor letter to Disney. That just isn't acceptable and they need to be kept aware as these issues come up. The only way they'll know what needs to be corrected is if these things are bubbled up to them.

If they continue to use other means of transp. other than bus service for emergencies, then they need to be equipped for all the variables - small children/babies, handicapped, etc.

I'm confident that all these kinks will be worked out. But it's the poor guinea pigs that are taking the brunt of all the start-up kinks in the system.

We leave in 9 days...crossing my fingers.

kpk89
06-27-2005, 09:31 PM
Well, after mailing a letter out on May 15 (2 days after we returned from our trip) I finally got a response today. Actually I received a letter on the 11th, which just said the typical "we appreciate your comments ..." bla bla bla. But included a phone number of someone in the Executive Offices. After trying to get a hold of someone at that number for 2 weeks, and leaving multiple messages, he FINALLY called back today.

They will not refund the $20 for the tip. He stated very clearly that Mears drivers are NOT supposed to have their "we want a tip" signs visible when driving for DME. He also stated that gratuities are optional anyway, and that while he understood how we may have felt uncomfortable, we didn't have to tip the guy. He went on to say that the because the money was not paid to Disney, Disney had no way to refund it. And, they had no way of knowing if I actually paid the guy $20 or not. That last part really offended me, especially after the whole shpiel about "we value our DVC members, we value all of our guest and want them to have a good experience ..." All I could say was of course tipping is optional, but the sign was out, it wasn't the driver's fault he had to come over and rescue us because DME screwed up, and we are nice people -- not accustomed to stiffing somebody out of a tip.

Whatever -- I guess because I'm a DVC member and a passholder, they figure there's no incentive to try and make sure I'll come back. They've already got my money!

Oh, and he claims that car seats are not required in Mears vans -- this conflicts with all the info I found about the subject.

Again, we had a wonderful, magical trip. It's too bad that it ended on such a sour note.

seashoreCM
06-27-2005, 10:46 PM
Since we were expecting to be riding the free DME coach, we weren't expecting to be tipping a taxi driver and did not have much in the way of small bills with us. However, here we were being driven straight to the airport with no other passengers in the van and no other stops along the way which was very nice, and being dropped off directly in front of our airline, so we felt that we ought to give the driver something. So we did tip our driver, though I don't know exactly how much my husband gave him -- we were scrambling to pull together whatever he could between the two of us as we exited the van.

I was grateful for the taxi ride and grateful that DME had not made us wait more than 10 minutes past our scheduled departure time before dispatching a taxi for us, but it did put us in an uncomfortable position where we weren't sure how the driver was being compensated and weren't prepared ourselves with the right sort of bills to take care of things properly.
Slightly off topic:

* ME drivers are not forbidden to accept tips.

* Checker Cabs and Yellow Cabs in Orlando are owned by Mears.

* Disney to Airport is a "nice long ride" to a taxi driver contrasted with the "dreaded short ride" such as Typhoon Lagoon to Downtown Disney or All Star Sports to All Star Movies that drivers are sometimes faced with and then have to go to the end of the taxi queue and wait for the next fare. So even if you tip the taxi driver a Mears Shuttle Tip as opposed to a Taxi Tip he really should not feel bad deep down inside.
Our departing flight was for 8:10 PM, and on the day before we received a note on our door instructing us that our DME bus would pick us up at 3:40, and we needed to be there 15-20 minutes early. Well, we had planned on checking out at 11 and having plenty of time to store our luggage and go to a park for the afternoon, since we anticipated a pickup around 5. So we scrapped that plan, not feeling like we'd have enough time to get to a park, enjoy it, and return in time for the DME.
Here is one case where you might request a later pickup, although not less than 3 hours before flight time. But it is possible that all the later buses could be booked full.

Mears_Driver
06-28-2005, 02:24 PM
They will not refund the $20 for the tip. He stated very clearly that Mears drivers are NOT supposed to have their "we want a tip" signs visible when driving for DME. He also stated that gratuities are optional anyway, and that while he understood how we may have felt uncomfortable, we didn't have to tip the guy.

I drive a bus for DME and first I would like to say that I am sorry about the problems you had. Second, let me address the tip sign. Mears Transportation is the company that runs the service and we are allowed to display a tip sign on every DME run that we make. Disney Transport drivers are not allowed to display any kind of tip sign, but we work for a private company.

Third, for anyone else coming, if you ask the driver to change a large bill in order to give them a tip, they will gladly do it. It's the better option than not getting tipped.

Keokagal
06-28-2005, 02:33 PM
After all the neg comments (many more than pos) on DME, I cancelled it yest and booked a rental car. Don't want to chance being aggravated. It's easy to aggravate me. :confused3

cocowum
06-28-2005, 02:55 PM
After reading all the return trip problems, I too decided drive myself back to the airport. I already had a car reserved for pickup and drop off at the CCC. So I called and changed my drop off location to MCO and it ended up being cheaper. :flower:

mrsdisneyfan
06-28-2005, 03:00 PM
I believe that although the Mears van is a passenger vehicle it is considered public transportaion and does not require a carseat for children under 3. Please correct me if I am wrong regarding the public transportation not needing car seats.

Thanks

kpk89
06-28-2005, 03:52 PM
I drive a bus for DME and first I would like to say that I am sorry about the problems you had. Second, let me address the tip sign. Mears Transportation is the company that runs the service and we are allowed to display a tip sign on every DME run that we make. Disney Transport drivers are not allowed to display any kind of tip sign, but we work for a private company.

Third, for anyone else coming, if you ask the driver to change a large bill in order to give them a tip, they will gladly do it. It's the better option than not getting tipped.


Thanks for the input -- please understand that I certainly don't mind tipping, it's just that we hadn't planned for it since DME is "free." I also wouldn't dream of asking for change back (well, ok maybe if all I had on me was a Ben Franklin ... ok never mind that never happens!) on a tip. It was really more the whole mixup over the times that bothered me more than the 20 bucks -- but that was one more thing to pile onto my state of disgruntled-ness. :smile:

Interesting that the guy in the Disney exec offices said their policy is that there shouldn't be visible signs for tips when they are doing DME runs (in the vans, that is.) It totally sounded like a line to me ... it doesn't surprise me to hear from a driver that this actually isn't the policy.

goofy4tink
06-28-2005, 06:39 PM
We just got back Sunday evening. We used DME both ways...in fact it was actually 3 times since my dh left 4 days before we did. Our experience was...
We got our luggage tags about 5 days before we left...everything was correct on them.
We landed at about 11:50, we finally found the correct desk (I took a wrong turn!) and waited about 45 seconds before checking in. Then over to the bus line...about a 2 minute wait. Onto the bus..about 5 minute wait.
Off we went at 12:15 (I checked)....no video. There was a 'gratuity accepted' sign on board up front. We stopped at CBR, YC, and then BC. Then the bus went over to BW. WE got off at BC. We checked in and were sitting by the pool at 1:15. Very happy at this point. Our bags arrived at about 3:30. We had been in our room about an hour when they came.

Dh was scheduled to leave BCV around 8:30. He never got the 'under the door' notification telling him what time. When he went down to leave, he was told he needed a voucher....that he should have gotten it under his door. Nope, he said. THe driver gave him a bit of a hard time, but dh told him he was getting on that bus in any event. Made several stops and was at the airport about 2 1/2 hrs. before flight time.

Dd and I left from POR. We were at the DME desk at about 9 a.m. All was fine. They told me that I should come back at around noon. I could take either that bus or the 12:30 bus. Of course we never got anything under the door either. And where was my DME packet that had the stuff in it?? On it's way in the checked luggage to MCO!! So, after speaking to dh that morning and his having told me the 'voucher' story, I asked someone at POR where I should go to get one. He directed me to Bell Services. Althought they were serverly overworked at this point, they were very nice about writing me up the needed voucher. Seems I was leaving with about 900 Pampered Chef people!!!

I got into the DME line for the noon bus, having had about all that I could stand of the check-out madhouse. THey called for all those traveling without luggage to come to the front of the line. That's us!!! There were some pretty peeved people there, having to wait to board since they had luggage to check that had to be put underneath. But, it only took about 15 minutes to get it all done. Off to the airport we went, with the 'good-by' video playing. When we got to the airport we all had to stay on the bus until that poor driver had all the bags out from underneath the bus. That took about 15 minutes.

All told, we were quite happy with DME. I'll be using it again in Nov.

BibbidyBobbidyBoo
06-29-2005, 01:48 AM
Interesting that we had the same situation with DME telling us our bus would leave at 3:20pm but to be there 15min early... which we did. But they didn't come pick us (and others) up until 4:10pm. So we were there over an hour waiting for them to pick us up! That part annoyed me. But we still got to the airport with plenty of time to spare- our luggage was already taken and we were checked in BUT didn't have boarding passes as AA had overbooked and didn't have our seating assignments anymore. they told us we could get the boarding passes when we checked in at the airport. Wrong- we checked in and still no seat assignments (which we had before even leaving on this trip weeks before!) and they said we'd get seat assignments when we signed in at the gate- wrong... no seat assignments there either. IN fact they called for people to volunteer to take later flights with $300 flight vouchers and then called my name for our seating assignments which were nothing like we originally had. we were the last name called and got the last row seats! ugh

But I digress... LOL

Our experience with DME is about what we expected- for free. LOL The wait for a bus wasn't long but only because they threw us on another bus that we weren't supposed to be on. I don't know why.. I asked them if it would be awhile we'd sit outside instead of standing in that line (with no one in front of us) and they said it would be awhile so we went to sit on the benches outside. Few seconds later they said we could get on that bus... I asked if that was our bus and they said it is now. LOL (but not funny... we were on the bus that did a lot of other stops like Yacht & Beach club, etc. before going to our resort ASMo.
(Sidenote: check in wasn't pretty either... at first they tried to tell me that they were overbooked and had us in a room at ASSp because of it. I admit I got teary eyed because we'd already stayed at ASSp before and and this was my youngest's birthday and we wanted to stay there- we hadn't stayed there before! Low and behold after a few minutes in the back they had a room for us- in a preferred building. Funny how that room just materialized when they had NO ROOMS -or so they said)

Our luggage arrived within an hour or so of being in our room (a total of 3hrs after arriving at MCO) and I had asked they call me before bringing it to the room to see if I was still awake. They just knocked on the door- never called. Fortunately I was still awake and so were my children!

We got the papers on the doorknob on the outside (so anyone could mess with it if they wanted? I have had people mess with my "do not disturb" ticket in the door before at WDW resorts) for a pick up time of 3:20 the day before we were to leave. If I had received one saying 5hrs before my flight I would have called the front desk (or gone to guest services) to get that straightened out... no way would I be cool with a 5hr prior to flight pickup!

Checking in luggage when we left went fine although I was a little worried at first because they (AA) said they messed up my luggage tags and were removing them and reprinting them. I was already worried about my luggage disappearing and that didn't help the anxiety level! We had ALL our luggage with them because we were spending our last day at GF (pirate cruise, Park Fare breakfast, Wonderland tea party) and didn't want to lug around much at all (minimal carryon stuff only). Ofcourse as I said before couldn't get boarding passes due to them overbooking but that's not disney's fault.

And then ofcourse we wait for pick up at 3:05pm as instructed to do and weren't picked up until 4:10pm.

Oh on the flight to resort- no video at all. My kids were whining and complaining that the tv's were on (ie: light and they couldn't go to sleep because of it) yet nothing was showing on them at all. On the way back to the airport we saw the goodbye video. In both cases they had "gratitude accepted" signs up front- but we only tipped on the way to the resort because we had bigger carryons that they had to put underneath the bus. On the return we only had light carryon backpacks which we took to our seats with us.... so the driver did nothing for us but drive and that's supposed to be "free" with DME. :)

kathylovesdisneyworl
06-29-2005, 04:57 AM
They will not refund the $20 for the tip. He stated very clearly that Mears drivers are NOT supposed to have their "we want a tip" signs visible when driving for DME. He also stated that gratuities are optional anyway, and that while he understood how we may have felt uncomfortable, we didn't have to tip the guy. .

It is really a shame that Disney doens't train there customer service people better. The driver who was taking you back to the airport was entitled to a tip if he was the one handling your bags. That is whether you are on a DME bus or if they send a van or taxi. It is not included in DME and I wish Disney would figure out a way to let there guests know this. Agree gratuities are optional but if a guest is under the impression Disney is covering the cost and they are not, it sure puts the driver and guest in an ackward postition.