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View Full Version : Travel Hack: How to get Disney Resort Perks while staying at the Waldorf Astoria


fairy8i8
02-24-2012, 12:50 AM
Warning: This post is more for those with expendable income who want the luxury of staying at the Waldorf but miss the on-property perks.

*It's cheaper to stay at the Waldorf and get a Value Resort for the same time frame than to stay at most Deluxe Resorts on property.*

So I was drooling over the elegance and luxury of the Waldorf Astoria and was shocked to find out that their rates were so much more reasonable than premium Disney properties. When I saw the location, right across from the Pop Century Resort, it's not like other properties that are miles from Disney. I practically consider it being on property (no going through traffic on the major thoroughfares to get to the parks). You are definitely closer than The Animal Kingdom Lodge. So, from my point of view the only downside to the property was not having Disney Resort perks.

And then my brain got churning...

Why not make your own "resort" fee with all the Disney perks by getting a value hotel room at a Disney resort, but stay at the Waldorf?

Example: July 13-20, 2012 (Friday to Friday, peak season)

Expedia's Cost for the Waldorf Astoria Deluxe Room w/ 2 Queen Beds: $169.15/night! Total including taxes (not resort and valet parking fees) is $1335.04

All Star Music or Movie Resort: $1196 including taxes (yes, that's right, folks, your Disney Motel 8 is just $139 less for a 7 night stay).

TOTAL: $2531.04

That's $361.58/night in PEAK season for a true 5 star hotel experience with Disney Resort perks:
*EXTRA MAGIC HOURS!
*Free Parking at all theme parks
*Charge everything to your Disney room key and settle the bill when you check out.
*Tee time preference over non-resort guests
*Preferred admission on the busiest days

Resort perks you probably won't use:
*Refillable resort mug (you will only be going there to check in or out)
*Babysitting (but you can get that at the Waldorf)
*Disney Transportation to and from the hotel (I assume you have a car, but if not, the Waldorf does have a shuttle)
*Magic Express

For peak season, the price is less than most of the Deluxe Disney Resorts, and you get a TRUE 5 star experience. (I couldn't compare prices because Disney's system is now down for updating).

I would definitely suggest working with a Disney obsessed travel agent who can make sure you get any discounts or promotions for your travel package. Things like Free Dining, etc. could sweeten the perks a lot. In fact, if you want a dining package, have at it, and order your tickets as well, so it's all on one card!

How to: Check in to your Disney Value Resort- get room keys. Walk to assigned room and put a "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door so housekeeping isn't confused, enjoy your luxury stay at the Waldorf! At the end of your trip, settle your account at the value resort desk and be on your way! Yes, it requires the effort of checking in and out, but if the Disney Resort Perks are worth it to you, it's a very good option. Non-peak season can get you even better deals.

vicki_c
02-24-2012, 07:32 AM
Seems like a waste of time and just the general scamminess of it bugs me - no way would that be worth $1200 extra to me. I would be a nervous wreck that I would be getting kicked out of my Disney room (which definitely can happen if they realize no one is in there - if you leave the DND sign on your door for too many days, the housekeeping staff might be calling the front desk to check - worried that something is wrong with you). Extra hassles with checking in and out, if you don't have a car, it could be a real PITA.

And you don't get a refillable mug that is mentioned with a room reservation unless you buy a dining plan.

To each their own. I'd rather pay the $361 and stay at a Disney resort. You could get a room at AKL or WL for not much more than that (but yes, it would be more, even at those cheaper deluxes). Or rent a DVC reservation.

Edited: Actually a standard view room at AKL during those particular dates you listed runs $275-360 depending on which dates and whether it's a weekday or weekend. For comparison, during some of your dates, you can even get a Beach Club room for $360/night. Those are rack rates, no discounts.

OP - are you the Disney obsessed TA? :)

persimmondeb
02-24-2012, 08:50 AM
It's not really a scam, since you are not receiving anything you did not pay for. Rather, you are paying for things you are not receiving. However, it seems overly complicated to me, and I think you would need to give the desk an edited version of the truth, not just hang the DND sign on the door.

vicki_c
02-24-2012, 08:59 AM
It's not really a scam, since you are not receiving anything you did not pay for. Rather, you are paying for things you are not receiving. However, it seems overly complicated to me, and I think you would need to give the desk an edited version of the truth, not just hang the DND sign on the door.

By the letter of the law, yes that is true. It just feels that way to me - just call me Jiminy Cricket. Plus, at a peak time, I would feel like you were taking a room from a potential value guest that might really need that room.

And as you said - overly complicated. Those on-site perks are not valuable to me, although we always stay on site.
EMH - never use them, we pick a non-EMH park always
Preferred entry thing - assume that means if the park is closed, as a resort guest, you could still get in. Well, any park that is in a capacity closure state is one I don't want to be in anyway. And since all 4 parks have never closed to capacity at the same time that I know of, and they only promise you entry to "a" park when it's at the highest closure level - doesn't seem worth much to me.
Free parking - well, you could pay for parking and still come out ahead vs. this plan.
Package delivery - you can still get packages delivered to the front of the park and pick them up later. Doesn't seem like a big deal.
Tee times - can't speak to the importance of that one.

fairy8i8
02-24-2012, 09:59 AM
Why would they kick you out if you are paying for it? Not likely. Disney is not going to turn you away if you have a reservation and have already paid. If they did, then they would be in BIG trouble with the Federal Trade Commission if they refused services that you paid for.

Sorry, I didn't mean you need to not tell them or lie. Be straight forward! (The Do Not Dusturb was more a courtesy to the maid service who wouldn't be told what was going on, most likely. Disney hotels are so large, it's doubtful a manager would bother to say anything). This is meant for people who want to stay at a true 5 star hotel because they like that experience and Disney doesn't currently have a property that offers it. The Grand Floridian, while beautiful and nice, is not the experience offered by your upper class 5 star hotels (Four Seasons, etc.). Maybe, like I have seen on Tripadvisor posts, it will motivate Disney to offer this kind of experience at one of their hotels.

It's meant to be easy-- you have a travel agent plan it, you stop by to pick up your cards, almost like you would pick up your tickets at will call, and then you don't have to worry about carrying cash, etc. in the parks because everything is on your Disney room key. I think it would make things a little easier overall.

It's not for everyone, not even me (I love the theming of the Animal Kingdom Lodge and the experience, and will stay there, even though it is a less convenient hotel to the parks because having my son see the animals every morning from our balcony will be priceless to me).

I have just read complaints about people who aren't enthralled with the service, etc. at the Disney hotels because they ARE used to 5 star hotels. This is more for them. Money usually isn't an issue (I based the prices on the most basic room, but these people would probably get a suite with a Disney view).

swilshire
02-24-2012, 12:05 PM
And since all 4 parks have never closed to capacity at the same time that I know of, and they only promise you entry to "a" park when it's at the highest closure level - doesn't seem worth much to me.


On New Years Eve, they seem to start closing one by one pretty early until all are closed by early afternoon (except maybe the Animal Kingdom, which isn't open very late anyway).

Sheila

kvnchapman
02-24-2012, 01:13 PM
I would be interested in this strategy if it included free dining, but would apply it towards a different resort to actually stay in. And indea if the campgrounds paticipate in free dining?:confused3

Kay1
02-24-2012, 01:26 PM
I would just stay at the Waldorf. We did and it was very nice, and the buses - oh my. They were so much nicer than Disney buses, with their cushioned and reclining seats - not to mention the Disney movies they showed.

Have fun, either way.

:)

vicki_c
02-24-2012, 01:58 PM
I would be interested in this strategy if it included free dining, but would apply it towards a different resort to actually stay in. And indea if the campgrounds paticipate in free dining?:confused3

Campsites are not eligible for free dining - people were booking throw away campsite reservations for cheap and not using them, so they could get free dining.

KristinU
02-24-2012, 02:04 PM
I would be interested in this strategy if it included free dining, but would apply it towards a different resort to actually stay in. And indea if the campgrounds paticipate in free dining?:confused3

Nope, Fort Wilderness sites don't have free dining because the max number of guests is higher than in a hotel room (not sure of the exact count since we're a family of three), the Cabins at Fort Wilderness do offer free dining, though. Campsites aren't always cheaper than the values anyway.

Not a bad thought, OP, but people come by the Camping board every now and again posing a similar scenario, but often in order to save $$ rather than to get better accomodations. And it often ends in people arguing the same thing about whether or not it is "fair" to use a reservation that someone else could be using. But after much business travel, I agree that the deluxe Disney resorts aren't 5 star...special, yes, but 5 star, no. SO you do offer an interesting twist to this idea.

Personally, I feel like if you want to pay for it, knock yourself out...but it seems like too much work to me for perks that we don't really use: we avoid EMH, we don't really eat Disney food anymore due to health interests, we don't golf...the parking is good, but as a PP pointed out, it would be cheaper to just pay parking, and is carrying an extra credit/debit/gift card really that big of a deal? I just don't think it would be worth it for many folks.

spiceycat
02-24-2012, 04:45 PM
this happened to me.

Now my family was staying offsite. I was staying at OKW (with my niece and her boy friend on my room key). So to get free dinning got a room at Pop. (with by brother, his wife and my niece on the room key).

well OKW and Pop w/o asking my permission decided to cancel my Pop and just put the free dinning on OKW keys.

I had paid in full for the Pop room. So when I found out make them change it back and it took hours. First of all they lied to their superiors and say I asked for it. Then at Pop they tried to say that I had checked out - w/o taken my clothes and the refrigerator that I have brought into the room.

Never got all my credits back for the free dinning.

So don't even attempt to do these things - because Disney (or at least their CM) might surprise you.

they actually had send my clothes to OKW w/o my permission. but the refrigerator they put in their storage.

it took from 11am when I found this was done to almost 9pm that night to straight it back out.

the cm actually told me they were being helpfully!:rotfl:

JimMIA
02-24-2012, 06:14 PM
Warning: This post is more for those with expendable income who want the luxury of staying at the Waldorf but miss the on-property perks.Okay, I have plenty of disposable income, so I'll play.All Star Music or Movie Resort: $1196 including taxes (yes, that's right, folks, your Disney Motel 8 is just $139 less for a 7 night stay).

TOTAL: $2531.04

That's $361.58/night in PEAK season for a true 5 star hotel experience with Disney Resort perks:
*EXTRA MAGIC HOURS!
*Free Parking at all theme parks
*Charge everything to your Disney room key and settle the bill when you check out.
*Tee time preference over non-resort guests
*Preferred admission on the busiest days
No offense, but that strikes me as $1,200 wasted for nothing of value.

*Extra Magic Hours? Who cares? Seriously...who cares?

*Free Parking? Actually, you're paying $170 per night for "free" parking. If you just paid for parking, you'd pay $14 per day.

*Charge everything to your Disney room key and settle the bill when you check out? This one strikes me as really silly. Settle how, exactly? By putting it on your credit card? Why not just save $1,200, cut to the chase, and put everything on your credit card to begin with? "Settle" when you get the bill from your credit card company.
*Tee time preference over non-resort guests?I'm sorry -- laughing so hard I had to wipe the tears from my eyes! :rotfl2: First of all, why not just play the Waldorf's beautiful course? Duh... And secondly, you can't get a tee time?:rolleyes:

*Preferred admission on the busiest days -- Yep, the ONE place where I really want to be on THE busiest days is among the sweating masses in the theme parks!

fairy8i8
02-24-2012, 07:44 PM
Ha! Ha! Yeah, it looks like I was a little delusional after midnight last night! I just was reading all these posts and articles about how much better it is to stay on property, not just for the theming, but for the perks. I was looking at on property resorts but happened over here and checked out the review of the Waldorf. I thought it was an amazing price for a 5 star anywhere and it's so close so as to be practically on property that it seemed like a really good option, especially in peak season (it's room pricing and availability is more closely tied to conventions than to the parks, I think). I figured if you found a way to get onsite perks as well, it would be a no brainer.

spiceycat: So Sorry! THAT is totally not worth it! With your experience, I think it pretty much proves this might not be a good idea, though I don't know why they would do all that with your stuff in the room. They probably thought they were doing you a favor by just transferring everything together because they figured you were doing it for the dining. It probably never occurred to them that different people were in different rooms.

Brian Noble
02-24-2012, 08:22 PM
the general scamminess
What's wrong with it? You paid for a set of services---a room, EMH access, etc. etc. etc. You use some, but not all. So what? What about the people who stay in the room, but don't use EMH, rather than the other way around?

Granted, I think this is just plain silly. But, if someone else wants EMH etc. badly enough to pay for a throwaway value room, why not? As long as you check in for the room, you'll have it until checkout. Mousekeeping can barely keep the rooms clean; the chances that one of them will "alert the management" to an empty room is epsilon.