DisneyWorld Where Dreams Come at a Cost...
I have been a big fan of Disney over the course of the last 30 years. And I’ve always put them on pedestal of customer service that I didn’t think anyone else could reach. But this last week I stayed at a value resort for the first time. And as it turns out, Disney does not have great customer service if you aren’t paying for the higher end hotels.
We arrived at the Art of Animation resort on Friday night at 1:30 AM. Our first surprise was the size of the rooms. The pictures online do not give a good representation of the rooms. I assumed at over $200 a night the rooms would at least be average sized hotel rooms, but no they are considerably smaller. The room has two double beds that are about a foot apart while the other side of the bed nearly hits the door when opened. The same with the bathroom. In order to get into the bathroom, you must open the door squeeze to the side of the toilet then close the door since it nearly hits the commode in the process.
We had ordered some groceries, so I called down to the front desk to have them delivered. They told us they would send the next available runner out but couldn’t tell us when that would be. So, we unpacked and planned for the next day. Thirty minutes later I called back asking when it would arrive to our rooms and they said that it was “in hand” and shouldn’t be long. Thirty minutes later I called back attempting to cancel the delivery, we’d stop by the desk in the morning. They said no problem it is cancelled. Thirty minutes later… 3 AM they knocked on our door with our delivery.
The next morning, sweating from the AC not working, we woke up and realized that our towels for showering were small, thin and rough unlike the large fluffy towels we had on previous trips in Disney moderate resorts. The toilet paper was single ply unlike the fancy stuff we saw in the Polynesian when we had breakfast there. There was no complimentary lotion while the shampoo and body wash were locked in a dispenser attached to the wall of the shower. And the nightstand with the convenient chargers built in was never plugged in so our phones were dead as well.
We started to realize that the value resort was not full of the wonderful Disney magic we were accustomed to. But we were there to relax and have a good time. So, I stepped out of the room to enjoy our view of the lake, but below me in the courtyard were dozens of large maids cabinets. They were on wheels and I figured were only there while the maids were working on the rooms, but I was wrong, they stayed there the entire trip, morning, noon, and night.
Looking down the hall there was a sign that blocked off some rooms nearby that said the building was under construction. A little bit of backstory, I originally booked us to stay at the Pop Century resort but was sent an email explaining that it was going to have construction during our stay, so I changed to the Art of Animation. I never received anything stating that there would be construction there. Not only was there construction at the property, not only was it in the building I was staying in, but on the same floor my room was on. Instead of Disney characters theming our nights, we had workers in hard hats, elevators with padding on the walls and random closure signs blocking our way.
After about 24 hours we decided to complain. Because in our history with Disney they always bend over backwards to make sure you have a magical time. When we complained they seemed uninterested in most of our complaints, were even told that we should have expected the delivery to take a long time. They let us know that they didn’t have any lotion, but had we stayed at Saratoga Springs they had some. We also asked for some q-tips and a razor because we forgot them and were pointed over to the gift shop. The one thing they said they would do for us was have an ac guy come look at our unit and give us some extra blankets.
The blankets never came, had to ask again. But the AC guy did come fix the AC. It was working but a damper had been closed behind the vents. The small problems continued over the course of the week. Tried to talk to the chef about an allergy but took forever so we just gave up. The smores cookout they had which got our kids excited cost $6 a person, technically for a kit with graham crackers and a stick to roast marshmallows on. We were scolded by a bartender for filling up cups with soda from the soda machine because the cups were for water only, but had no signage stating this. Internet was shoddy in our building. We only had one day with a towel animal. One day we were given a towel that wasn’t clean, had a big green stain on it.
Near the end of the vacation we woke up early to get to a park at open and there was no water pressure in the shower. Couldn’t get the shower to start there was such little water. When we called the front, they told us they knew of the problem and it was isolated to our building. We told them
we needed to shower and be at a park by open. We suggested allowing us to access another room where we could shower. We were told there were no unoccupied rooms, which was not true, but we were welcome to take our clothes down to the pool and shower in the locker room.
There were other things we didn’t like about the value resort, but expected them, no workout facilities, no casual dining location, cookie cutter layout, less theming, no waterslide, more crowded transportation, worse location…
All in all, it was an eye-opening experience. I thought Disney knew how to treat a guest, but I was wrong Disney knows who pays them money and who doesn’t. I thought this would be the difference between first class and coach, but it is more like the difference between Spirit airlines and a private jet. Suffice to say I will never stay at a value resort again, I would much prefer staying at the Hilton or Best Western that is still on site in Disney World. They are generally comparable in price and would have had none of those issues.
Less crowded transportation
Better toilet paper
And most importantly an actual apology for what they did get wrong…