Wingate and Around the Corner transportation.
Just got back and had a HORRIBLE experience with Wingate and their port transportation company. The lack of communication was horrendous and really bookended the cruise with less than ideal circumstances. We had a party of 14 including 6 kids ages 3 to 10. 2 people in our party called the hotel on seperate circumstances to ask when the shuttle left to go to port. We were both told 10:30. We planned our check in time on the Fantasy around the time given by the hotel. We arrive at MCO at about 8:30 at night on Friday night. Hungry and ready to get the vacation started. Call the hotel to get picked up and tell them we are at baggage claim. They tell us where to meet. We go out and stand for AT LEAST 30 minutes. Another large party joins us in the wait. We call again..."Oh, yeah. They were there and didn't see you....they are being sent back out". Back out? Why not circle the block and come back? Where do you think a party of 14 vanishes to???? They finally arrive after a while...probably like 45 minutes or more of total wait time. They can't hold all of us though. Another van is right behind them (which was true). We get to the hotel and check in and mention the 10:30 meet time for the drive to the port. They inform us its 11:00 to 11:30. We mention how we were told on 2 seperate occassions that it was 10:30 when we called to ask about it and we planned according to that time. We are 14 people and we are expecting to leave at 10:30. She tells us "oh, no problem. They are taking people to WDW at 8 or 8:30 in the morning and they will be back and available by 10:30 for our trip out."
Next morning we talk to the transportation company that has a counter in the hotel. He says "No, I'll be here at 11:00 and we'll leave then." And REALLY gave us the impression that the hotel knows when they leave and that they basically lied to us. So, we come down at 10:45 for our 11:00 trip to port and get our receipt at the front desk and find out after standing around for 10 minutes that I'm supposed to take that receipt to the transpotation counter to sign up. REALLY? The desk-dude couldn't have told me that???? He wasn't very nice anyways...but come on, give me the information that I need.
We finally load up and are off about 11:10. Well, not off. Our 14 gets on and the other 6 to fill up the bus. They try to put more people on there (after they loaded their luggage into the trailer) and are surprised that the bus is full. They call roll and sure enough they had forms for 20 people for a bus that holds 20...so no more can fit...even if they thought they would. So, they leave their belongings in the trailer and we then have to follow the other bus to the next hotel to pick up more poeple. So, maybe by 11:20 or so we are finally on the road and really irritated that the start of my "magical" cruise has been delayed for an hour b/c of lack of communication or caring on the hotel's part. We get to the port and we have to wait in the LONG Carnival drop off line to let others off before we head to DCL. We get dropped off and are on our way.
We were given a number to call when we get off the boat. When "the whole party is there" they will come get us but will be waiting outside the gate until that time.
We get off the boat. We call the 2 differnet numbers we have for them and get voicemails both times and no call backs. Should have seen it coming! You know, when you have 6 young kids and you've already winded through customs and all that...you really just want to get things going. We see one van come around the corner and bee-line over there. They can fit 2 of us. They end up taking 3 b/c the family of 3 had an earlier flight time. We are told "The other van is right behind me". We wait for at least 30 minutes. No van. Noone answers their phone still. We call our friends that got on the other van and have him ask where the van is. They make it sound like they are at Carnival and will be there soon. Probably 15 or 20 more minutes goes by and my friend calls me and says "the van should be there do you see it? He's "looking for you"." I ask what the van says and he says Danica. Okay, I see it. We go to get in the van and he tells us 2 people from our now party of 11 need to go up in another van so he has enough room. This is confusing as we are a group that booked together and the van only has 1 person in it as of now. So, then he changes it to 3 people. So, we split up our party and 3 people go up to other van and then he says...okay, 2 more people can go up there..he has to fit 4 more people in the van...so 2 more people go up there but we're not sure why. So we have 3 in the earlier van, 5 in another van and 6 of us in this van...and he puts a family of 4 in our van and we have 4 empty seats. And we head to airport. Why make half our party move to other van when there were plenty of seats on ours??? And to do it so rushed and confusing and forcing us to split when we are all traveling with kids...after making us wait for at least 45 minutes when we were told they'd be "waiting outside the gate area and then we were told the other van was "right behind him". It was a complete cluster and irritating...and I don't get irritated very easily. The Danica guys says "not my fault, Around the Corner's van broke down and I'm just helping them out....no big deal." Then why won't Around the Corner answer their phones and EXPLAIN this to me???
Using this package from Wingate saved me alot of money over Disney Transportation and a stay at hotel at MCO for my family of 5. I probably would have still used them even if I knew I wasn't going to leave Orlando until 11:30 and would have to wait 45 minutes after going through customs to get a ride to the airport...but I want to make those decisions with the facts...not sunshine blown up my you-know-what. And I expect someone to ANSWER the PHONE when I call to be picked up so there is SOME communication and I know someone is coming to get me! But, it would be more tempting to me now to budget in Disney transportation for seamless transportation in a nice BIG bus (and go straight to DCL instead of other drop offs at Carnival). Live and learn. Sorry for the lengthy rant and for maybe sounding petty b/c I don't usually let things get me ruffled...but this was an all around irritating experience.
I'm really sorry....I had heard thru the grapevine that the Wyngate service had gone downhill, but that complaint was that they had changed to a noon departure time.
To avoid a "throwing out the baby with the bathwater," we were very pleased with the cruise transportation service from the Hyatt Place NW. This is different than Hyatt MCO.
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