Disney-loving families around the world are losing out on their Disney vacations because of a “scam artist” travel agency that shut down without warning.
A travel firm called Go West With Mickey, under MDG Travel Services, was known for selling Disneyland Paris vacations through Facebook and their own website. Go West With Mickey claimed to be a small company offering personalized services.
The firm’s Facebook page, which has since been removed, boasted praise from alleged fans who claimed they had taken wonderful vacations for fantastic deals because of Go West With Mickey. Many vacationers who booked with Go West With Mickey ended up going on their vacations, although they didn’t always go off without a hitch.
The Sun reports that many Go West With Mickey customers claimed that they were subjected to emotional blackmail and threats by the owners of the travel agency. One family, in particular, became very vocal about her experience with the firm and spread her story online.
Jaide Ellery-Martin booked her four-night Disneyland Paris vacation through Facebook for around £3,000 for herself, her husband, and her son. The reservation should have included accommodation at the Disneyland Hotel — the most expensive and well-known hotel on Disneyland Paris property — as well as half-board premium meal plan with character breakfasts, and five-day Disney park tickets with PhotoPass.
However, on the morning of their trip, the family received an email from Go West With Mickey alleging that Disney had made a mistake and they would have to stay in another hotel on the first night of the four-night vacation. Upon arriving at the Disneyland Hotel on the first day of the trip, Jaide was told that there was no reservation in her name. In addition to the hotel reservation mishap, the family had many other issues with their vacation, including missing character dining reservations and meal plans.
Jaide reached out to the travel firm in an attempt to resolve the issue, but she says she never got through to them. Her mother, Sandra, said to The Sun, “She phoned 40-50 times and wasn’t getting any response; she tried emailing them, sending messages, still getting no response.”
Sandra shared her daughter’s experience on Facebook and attempted to get in touch with Go West With Mickey, but after the social media post went live, she received numerous threats from Elspeth, the owner of the travel firm, and she was offered a full refund and a second vacation to make up for the mistake. Only £800 was refunded to Jaide when she had paid thousands for the vacation.
After Jaide’s experience went viral on Facebook — and the travel firm posted a response that was later taken down once the firm’s Facebook page was deleted — a Go West with Mickey victims group was founded.
The group has over 4,000 members who collectively claim they have lost over £300,000 because of Go West With Mickey. In the Facebook group, members share their experiences gone awry because of the travel agency, with issues ranging from last-minute hotel bookings at the fault of the agency, incorrect hotel reservations, missing meal plans and even guests being completely left out of group reservations. Many say that they were promised free gifts and upgrades if they paid for their vacations via bank transfer, although these incentives never came to be.
By the looks of it, Go West With Mickey no longer exists, with the website, phone lines, email, and Facebook page no longer operating. But that also means those who have already paid for their vacations through Go West With Mickey have to contact their banks and credit card providers to obtain refunds.
Disney even came out with an official statement regarding the travel firm: “Go West With Mickey is not an official commercial partner of Disneyland Paris and the organization does not meet our strict requirements to become an official travel provider. They are an unauthorized re-seller. [We work with partners that meet our comprehensive standards and brand values.]”
Disney is currently investigating the issue and encourages any concerned customers or victims of Go West With Mickey to get in touch.
As Disney fans and frequent Disney vacationers, Inside the Magic recommends booking your Disney vacation with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner in order to guarantee transparency, great communication, and excellent customer service from agents who are trained and authorized by Disney. Booking your vacation directly through Disney or working with an official Authorized Disney Vacation Planner will ensure that you get to go on the vacation you pay for.
Source: The Sun