To print or not to print? That is the question!

Last weekend, my husband and I went to Disney and Universal Studio in Orlando. While I typically have many complaints about theme parks (perhaps a separate post is needed), this post is solely on the topic of check-in process at the parks.

We all have smart phones today and it is not uncommon that we use our smart phones to pull up our membership cards, airline tickets, and etc. Growing up in this mix generation, from the analog to the digital, my husband and I still print out ticket confirmations whenever we can…just in case if technology fails (aka bad reception or low battery).

For our first day in Orlando, we visited Universal Studio. As we were excitedly waiting in line to have our tickets scanned, we were told that printed tickets will not be accepted, only tickets on the phones will be. Although we have our phones handy but it wasn’t an easy task to pull up ticket confirmation with limited reception at the park. We eventually were able to locate the ticket confirmation email in our phones but we certainly wasted many people’s time as we were blocking the line. After we entered the park, I re-read the fine print on the email but could not find any line that states printed tickets will not be accepted. Had we known that was the case, we will make sure we take screenshots of the ticket on our phone!

So the next day we went to Disney, we wanted to avoid the “mistake” we made yesterday, we took screenshots of our tickets just in case if we encounter poor cellphone reception at the park. Now we’ve got both printed and digital version of our tickets, we should be good? Not really. This time, we were asked to show the credit card we used to purchase for the tickets!? It is not an unreasonable request HOWEVER…Whenever I travel, I always make sure I downsize my wallet to one ID and one Credit Card to avoid hassles in the event of misplacing my wallet (or getting stolen). So when we were asked to show the credit card we used to make the purchase of the ticket, I was unable to provide the card right at the spot. We were then told to go to customer service instead of using the normal check-in lines. Eventually, we did make it into the park but can you guess if this policy is stated in the fine print? The answer is NO.

Although I 100% agreed on why they need to double check our tickets and credentials, I strongly believe that they need to better communicate this at their fine print and/or upon booking. Working in a 50,000+ people organization today, I know the solution here is simply service design! I know the email team, the check-in team, and perhaps the security team just simply did not communicate with each other as they work in silos. I hope companies will begin seeing the importance of service design, so as customers, we can enjoy an end-to-end magical experience at the park next time!

To print or not to print (the confirmation)? To screenshot or not to screenshot (the email)? And to bring or not to bring (that one extra credit card)? I think there are too many questions need to be answered here!

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