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Sue Kruse
Pirates follow-up

Dear Readers:

Sue is on her way to the Tony awards in New York so due to some recent developments, so I had to fill in a bit for her in her column today.

It turns out just as she had submitted the column below about her feelings on the Pirates event - we got more e-mail here at the site complaining about even further snafus with the whole thing.  

We'll present those two e-mails first here so you can see what is still going on - then Sue's column as she had planned it.


E-mail one from Rob:

I received (much to my shock - FedEx!!) the letter from Cynthia and was pleased they were refunding everyone's money, though I'll have to say I didn't have all that much trouble at the event. I arrived late, assembled my list of purchases, and went to enjoy the panel discussion and "special" ride through Pirates. 

I liked the free gifts they included as bonuses (though I wish I had known they were extending a 10% discount to event attendees on non-event merchandise) and got my merchandise in what I considered to be a reasonable time - considering I arrived SO late in the day. 

I would rather have waited less time and experienced more than the one attraction time between line / event / line activities allowed in the 10 operating hours I spent at the park, but I still came away happy - until now.

Instead of charging my credit card back the $170 for 2 tickets to the Pirates event, the park took another $170 payment authorization on Thursday morning at 9am. When trying to use my card over the weekend I was declined - twice. I wondered why, but upon contacting my bank today I found that, not only has the money for the event not been refunded... now I have paid for it TWICE and was in fact declined for insufficient funds available on my card! 

To top it off, now I'm reading that they have double charged people for merchandise (as well as charging people for items they didn't order or get, and all the other various combinations of this that have been going on) and apparently many have yet to see their merchandise arrive on their doorstep.

Over a week after the event, after refunding the admission money, after offering free shipping... the park is still managing to keep that black eye nice and fresh. I had walked away from the event feeling good, but NOW I'm bent over the problems with my credit card. 

Sorry for ranting, but as others cool down about the problems they had, I just wanted to let you know there are others JUST now getting heated up.

Email two from Alex [who writes for this site]:

Hi Al, as you requested here is a quick recounting of PotC, Day 11

Up until this point I had been in the camp of people saying "yeah, it was messed up but I managed to miss most of it." I'm pretty lazy, so every time I got into line to pick up my merchandise I quickly decided I'd come back later when they got it all straightened out. At the end of the night, when the CM, told me I could come back in the morning and pick up my stuff I was more than happy to take them up on the offer. I probably only spent a grand total of 30 minutes waiting for my merchandise.

Sunday morning was the first time I really became annoyed with the process. When I finally rousted myself and meandered into Disneyana I enjoyed this conversation:

CM: Do you have your pink copy?

ME: Here you go.

CM: [promptly] Ok, here is your credit card receipt for you to sign.

ME: [I sign with a happy flourish, pleased that things are going so smoothly]

CM: Have a nice day!

ME: Um... where's my stuff?

CM: It will be shipped to you free of charge.

ME: Not to that address it won't.

CM: Oh, you can change the shipping address.

ME: If I can change the shipping, then you still have the package. Can I just have that?

CM: It will be shipped to you.

You see, my apartment is a postal vortex, if an item doesn't fit in the mailbox it is likely experience a mysterious disappearance. Disney has already shown a strange reluctance to produce my merchandise and I didn't need them using klepto neighbors as an excuse. So, finally convinced that they weren't going to let me have my stuff I filled out one of their shipping forms so that my package would be sent to me at work. Lani did the same for her package.

So what happens to today? Lani receives all of her merchandise as work, as expected. I didn't. I come home to find colorful (and surprisingly intricate) stickers on the our buildings front door - this is the first piece of luck as I don't always come in that door. Fed Ex has tried, twice, to deliver to me a package. They'll try again tomorrow between 12:00 and 3:00. 

Unfortunately I have this strange habit of going to work almost every single day of the week. But it is actually another piece of luck that Disney used Fed Ex (for some reason UPS was used on Lani's box) as they are actually open late enough for me to get to their pick-up location after work.

Alright. This doesn't sound like a big deal, right? I'm only a little inconvenienced, a half-hour of driving and a few minutes in line isn't too much to ask so that I can finally have my stuff. The tribulations just make the prize all the more valuable. That's what I was telling myself, anyway.

So I finally got home and tore into the box with Christmas-like glee. Ok, I tore into the box with an knife but I like to see Lani giggling trying to imagine me experiencing "Christmas-like glee". What was the first thing I saw?

"Dead Men Tell No Tales" Sculpture by Dave Smith, Part A

What is the second?

"Dead Men Tell No Tales" Sculpture by Dave Smith, Part B

The third and fourth things?

CD Pirates of the Caribbean, Part A

CD Pirates of the Caribbean, Part B

Yep. Of the four things in the box they managed to break two of them. The other two items were a t-shirt and buttons. I'm sure they did their best to break the t-shirt as well. I don't hold their failure against them.

I have to admit, the sculpture is poorly designed for shipping. It is comprised of two pieces held together by a single spot of glue. It would not take make force to break the skull from the base. However, whoever packed this box did their part. The box was only filled about 80% full with packing peanuts, allowing everything to shift at will. Further, at some point in transit, the sculpture actually came out of its protective bubble-wrap. 

I can easily move the CD and liners to a new jewel case, but I shouldn't have had to go to the trouble. At the moment I am thinking of selling the CD on eBay as the only PotC CD produced by Warner Bros. (the WB logo is on the new jewel case).

I must point out that this box is labeled as "fragile" and shows no sign that it was roughed up by Fed Ex.

Somewhere out there is a CM who showed no interest in my particular package and allowed it to go out the door in a condition guaranteeing damage. That person get some of the blame. 

I have to give the majority of the blame, however, to the general environment of incompetence that lead to insufficient (I am sure) staff having to process and ship hundreds of package in only a couple of days.

At this point I am just hoping I can consign the whole event to some dim recess of my mind.


As you can see folks, it's only seeming to get worse.  Let's hope Disneyland doesn't lose their whole profit this year to this one event - they sure seem to be aiming for a record it seems...

And now, back to Sue's regularly scheduled column:

As a follow up to my report on the Pirates of the Caribbean Event, I want to share a letter from a reader and throw in my two doubloons about the letter from Cynthia Harriss.

By now, you have all heard about Ms. Harriss FedExing an apology for the merchandizing fiasco and refunding the admission price for the event for all participants, (If not, check the Fabulous oneís column for a verbatim copy of said letter). 

Last weekend, walking away from the event, I felt as though Disneyland was full of arrogance for all Disney fans. To paraphrase that line from "A Field of Dreams", If itís Disney, they will buy it. It seemed to me, that was the mantra of the folks who put the Pirates event together. The way the event was handled, I was convinced that they thought they could toss any old thing out and it would be appreciated just because it was Disney. Not so. Sometimes, customers are discerning. They want to be treated fairly. What a concept.

Then I received that letter from FedEx.

Now, I feel a little less cynical.

It was a good thing for Disneyland to apologize and accept responsibility for what went wrong. Itís not always easy to admit wrongdoing, especially for something that should never have happened. I doubt a certain former leader of Disneyland would have taken the step Ms. Harriss did. Perhaps I am wrong in that thought, but I doubt it. The fact that she took action right away to try and make amends gives me a ray of hope for Disneyland. Maybe itís not completely about greed and arrogance.

As disappointed as I was with the event, I would never have asked for my admission price back because I got my moneyís worth with the panel discussion. It was nice to have it refunded anyway and I appreciate the effort that the letter made in trying to make things right for the event participants. Itís a shame the event was handled in the manner it was because I hate to think how much money Disneyland has lost over this. Iíd rather that the lost revenue have gone to something worthy in the park, like say, refurbishing a ride or budgeting for the subs to come back, or even, dare I say it, another event. I want to think there will be another event, because when they do them right, they are magical evenings, full of fun, and completely unforgettable.

Itís sad Disneyland didnít understand their audience a little better. Maybe if they had, weíd all be happy campers right now and that money wasted could be put to better use.

And now, to switch gears a little

In regard to the prices of the merchandise offered at the Pirates of the Caribbean Event, Chris from Northern California writes,

I am interested in comparing the price paid with the prices listed on e-bay. I am a big Disneyland fan in northern California and would like to buy a few of the items if they are not grossly marked up. Many of the prices on e-bay seem very high - even for limited edition items. If you could list the items and prices, the true fans who could not be at the event can shop with some confidence. Keep up the great work. I really enjoy your stories.

Thanks for the compliment Chris! Here, because you asked so nicely, is the entire list (with original prices) of what was for sale at the Pirates of the Caribbean event:

Leather Jacket Limited to 200 - $395

T-shirt-Black "A Pirates Life for Me" Limited to 500 - $25

T-shirt-White Pirates Event "Logo" Exclusive to the event - $35

Watch Limited Edition Artisan (Exclusive) Limited to day of sale - $200

Watch Pirates Event "Logo" Limited to 500 - $90

CD Pirates of the Caribbean Limited to 2500 total (1300 available to event participants - $34.95

Collectible Doubloons in box Limited to 1000 - $25

Button Pirates of the Caribbean "Logo" Limited to 2500 - $2.50

Pin Pirates of the Caribbean "Logo" (Exclusive) Limited to 1967 - $18

Pin Skeleton at Shipís Wheel Limited to 2600 - $12

Lenticular Cards:

"Well Scene" Limited to 2500 - $12

"Singing Pirates" Limited to 2500 - $12

"Skeleton at Wheel" Limited to 2500 - $12

"Burning City" Limited to 2500 - $12

"Wicked Wench" Pirate Ship-Framed Only Limited to 500 - $325

"Dead Men Tell No Tales" Sculpture by Dave Smith Limited to 750 - $75

Postcard-Set of 4 Images Limited to 2500 - $10

"Skeleton in Bed" Sculpture-Reproduction Limited to 10 - $1500

"Jail Scene with Dog" Sculpture-Reproduction Limited to 10 - $1800

Bronze-Pirate on the Cannon by Darrin Roberts Limited to 50 - $2300

Oversized Attraction Poster-Pirates of the Caribbean-Open edition - $45

Treasure Chest Tribute to Marc Davis Limited to 100 - $375

Framed pirates of the Caribbean Postcards (Exclusive)

"Skeleton Scenes" Limited to day of sale - $80

"Auction Scenes" Limited to day of sale - $85

"Exit Scenes" Limited to day of sale - $85

Framed Photographic Reproduction of Walt with Pirates of the Caribbean Maquettes-Black and White Limited to 500 - $65

Poster Pirates of the Caribbean Interior Pirates Map by Sam McKim Open edition - $25

Lithograph Pirates of the Caribbean Attraction by Eric Robison Limited to 200 - $125

Original Painting "Skeleton in Bed" by Eric Robison - $9000

Original Painting "The Auctioneer" by Eric Robison - $6500

Lithograph "Pirates After dark" by Joe Rhode Limited to 150 - $95

Original Painting "Pirates After Dark" by Joe Rhode - $6500

Attraction Map Shadowbox by Dave Avanzino Limited to 4 - $850

I hope that will be of some help to all you eBay bidders out there!



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