View Full Version : Just Checked into Vistana on Saturday

07-24-2005, 11:16 PM
When we arrived at 3 pm on Saturday, it was a total madhouse. I had fortunately done diamond lane check in, but even the diamond lane was backed up. Management was having significant problems with people having tantrums because they wanted in Cascades. 4 families tied up a total of 5 people behind the desk for almost an hour, which was how long it took me to get through just 6 people ahead of me. The non diamond express line had about 100 people in it, and was taking really forever.

I kept saying to my DH: "sheraton needs to get corporate in here, which needs to come in a baseball cap and a margaritaville t-shirt and stand in the general schmuck line."

I really thought it was an organizational disaster. DH said it was like trying to get through immigration.

We had requested, and received the Springs. Fourth time we've stayed in that section, which we pick because it's the newest of the "older" sections; they're bigger, with a palace of a bathroom. We always request a unit around the pond as opposed to hte pool, where the landscaping is more mature, and have never been disappointed. What was ironic is the person DH called "Mr. Prozac Moment" --who had a major and very loud meltdown, declaring he wasnt' going to leave the lobby till they gave him what he was promised, had been assigned to Springs--right next to what we had requested.

It was a really relief to leave the madhouse and get in to our unit. The carpet and spreads have been updated, and the unit was impeccably clean. Just pillows in cases on top of the comforters, with no shams, which I thought makes it look a bit unfortunately cheesy.

But the experience once in the unit is much nicer than the check in process would lead one to believe. You feel like you're perhaps getting into the sleaziest timeshare deal in history. More pressure this time to attend the "owner's breakfast"--(we're "guests" of an owner--read that as rented the week from someone on the TUG board)--even after I clearly stated 3 times that we would not be attending a breakfast this time.

He finally snippily asked , "May I inquire why?" After having given graceful disclaimers several times I finally said, "Because we don't WANT to, and that's what this vacation is all about. Not doing anything I don't want to do."

That finally silenced him.

My best advice, if you've not done a Vistana Checkin, and you've got a Saturday, is get there as early as you can; do Diamond Express ahead of time (that line opens at 11 am), decide some other unit than Cascades will be just fine, and don't let the gals circling with jello shots, the popcorn your kids have to pay for, and the timeshare pitch turn you off till you've seen the accommodations.

07-25-2005, 05:24 AM
We tend to get there late because we drive down. Usually things are pretty quiet around 10PM as well on Saturday checkins.


07-25-2005, 09:45 AM
I agree stayed in Springs myself and I LOVED it!!!

no it was not brand new. but it has alot going for it!!!

Mom of Sleepy, Bashful and BabyDoc
07-25-2005, 10:09 AM
Very good review and a realistic one, I might add.

When we stayed there we had won an auction that said "sleep 8" which I think would still work with the Springs section, right? I think I would have been happy there unless I would have gotten a second or third floor because I need an elevator after being at the parks all day. lol

but in the end we received a first floor (didn't even ask for one) in the Lakes section. We thought the unit was HUGE......but I hear the older sections are even bigger........I can't even comprehend that.

Ofcourse, we were coming with a mindset of how the WDW resort rooms are, so that might have been it. lol ;)

07-25-2005, 10:15 AM
Springs is alot bigger (my opinion) than the pictures I have seem of others.

07-25-2005, 04:52 PM
Are you serious about the jello shots?

07-25-2005, 06:02 PM
I am totally serious about the jello shots. The room was filled with people standing and standing and standing in line. The Diamond Lane people, more in the "know", were getting really frustrated and upset. The people in the really big line were just standing and standing and standing.

At one point 4 separate "Cascades" tantrums were going on. For reasons I don't think even the staff could explain, they kept running and checking printouts of inventory, rather than checking on their screens.

Kids were running everywhere, and some young woman were gamely signing the kids up for the kids club and making balloon animals....which meant that balloons were breaking and kids were howling all over the room.

The "vacation specialists" were all standing with their thumbs in their um, mouths, behind the desk across from the registration desk, doing nothing and waiting for someone to come over and innocently ask to pick up a welcome packet, at which point they moved in for the kill. Again, if I'd been Sheraton corporate, I would have told about 6 of them to get their rears over to the registration side and help out.

There was a popcorn/snocone machine going--parents kept sending their kids out to get popcorn, and then discovered they were charging for little bags of it. Hello? Sheraton?? There was a lounge singer guy and babe, with faded tans, in faded Hawaiian shirts, with faded lines on their faces singing faded Golden Oldies and looking like they could not see or hear the chaos around them.

And in the middle of it, were 2 Vistana chicks circulating with trays of jello shots, green with no alcohol, and red with alcohol. They were in tiny paper cups--the kind hospitals use to give out pills or tiny drinks of water.

The only thing missing in the escapade (besides efficiency) was Wayne Newton and Elvis. For all I know, they were there too. I'm absolutely convinced that if we'd not been here before, my fairly straightlaced hubby would have taken one look at the bedlam and said, "We're going someplace else."

The capping irony is that on the Vistana Marquee it says "Will exceed your expectations." And there's a feedback sheet when you come in to your unit asking you to rate the check-in process, like this was an experience that any number could size up.

07-25-2005, 06:17 PM
Why are the lines so long to check in??!! We have stayed at the Vistana twice in the past and I don't remember it being like that. Right now we are trying to decide if we should do 7 nights at the Vistana for our October trip, or 2 nights at the Nickelodeon Hotel, then 5 nights at Vistana. We are arriving on a Saturday. What do you think?
I can't say I can ever remember staying anywhere that had a check in line with 100 people!! Has anyone contacted Sheraton about this?

07-25-2005, 06:23 PM
Wow erinch ! :scared1: I'm scared ! LOL
I can honestly say I've NEVER experienced anything even remotely similar to what you just described---though I'm not doubting it did actually happen. Just wondering what's going on with this ? Jello shots during check-in ???? Sheesh :rolleyes1
I think with the internet offering so much more in the way of information and specific details about resorts, and sections and rooms......alot of people are "on" to what they really want and feel they can demand it. Before Sheraton took over, this would never had happened. Back in the good 'ole days when it was just "Vistana Resort", I think people's expectations were lower. Now pretty much everyone knows the Cascades are the newest and to most, the "best" section. I can't argue for the most part. For those paying rack rates, one family can get Cascades for $150/night, while another family may get the Spas for this same cost. Doesn't really seem fair when you put the two side by side.
But I've only heard good things about the Springs and it's the only section where I have not toured a room. There were no vacancies in that section the year I toured with someone from management.

Again, thoroughly enjoyed your entertaining report about the madcap antics going on at Vistana :crazy: I'll be there next week (friday)!

07-25-2005, 06:33 PM
My dh just walked in the door from work and I read him both of your posts. We're hysterically laughing here. My dh is saying it sounds very cheesy as far as the check-in process ! We'll be looking for Elvis and Wayne Newton on Aug 5 ! Thanks again for the chuckles ! Sorry you all had to endure that :crazy:

07-25-2005, 08:21 PM
We're checking in a thursday for the first time and I figure it will be pretty quite. This being my family's first time, I hope it goes rather easy. :flower:

07-25-2005, 09:23 PM
Disfanshan: (did I get that right?):

I rented a week from a member of the Timeshare Users Group, so got the Vistana for $130/night, all fees included, which I think is a very good price. It's probably possible to get it a bit cheaper, but I went with someone here in the states who was responsive and had references.

We've driven by the Nickelodeon Hotel a couple of times. We've not been insdie, but from the outside, it looks to me like it's doing an excellent imitation of any holiday inn type place you've ever stayed, with some Nick theming. My DD tells me about the giant water park every time we drive by, so she's seen all the commercials. It is directly on the highway, and I'd be concerned about traffic noise.

Once you get through check-in, the Vistana is a lovely resort. I would think almost any time but Saturday at 3 would be far more sane.

I am going to write Sheraton, and give them my astute observations, and urge them not to take my word for it, but to come incognito and experience it for themselves.

07-25-2005, 09:48 PM
I am going to write Sheraton, and give them my astute observations, and urge them not to take my word for it, but to come incognito and experience it for themselves.
I think this is a very good idea erinch. And if I experience this next week I'll be doing the same......sounds like some crazy kind of circus there but they need to keep the lines and waits more manageable. What you experienced sounded just insane.

Princess Di
07-25-2005, 10:18 PM
I'm reading all this and getting a little nervous! We check in on Friday night and I hope the mad rush is over...and that Vistana has its act together--I've read some good things about this resort too and I hope we won't be disappointed--I'll let you know next week....

Also we recently bought into the Starwood timeshares in Arizona because we thought they were great and managed terrifically--I certainly hope this won't be any indication of things to expect in the future...

Just like someone else said, Sheraton should be made aware of this---sometimes things need to brought to the attention of the higher ups to get the problem fixed!!!Princess Di :flower:

07-25-2005, 11:59 PM
One thing to note is that when you go in the main door, if it's crowded, and you did Diamond Lane on the internet several days before you got there, is go all the way past the "big, long line" all the way to the end of the room. The Diamond Lane line will be the last line on the right. That's the one you want. Every other experience I've had here went quickly in the Diamond Lane.

07-26-2005, 08:28 AM
What exactly is diamond lane? Does it offer any other benefits besides a separate check in? (although it sounds like it would be worth it just for the check in!!!!!) is there a fee? And how and when should I sign up? (leaving Oct. 1)

07-26-2005, 11:22 AM
Diamond Lane is free and more convenient. It's also a good way to make Vistana aware of any requests you might have. Years ago, it was reserved for just owners (which personally I miss). But in this age of the internet, everyone seems to take advantage of it. Here's the info from the Vistana web page :
Get into the fast lane with our Diamond Lane check-in form, and use Express Check Out for a quick, convenient way to check out of your villa. For more information on these services or if you need to change your reservation, please call Sheraton Vacation Ownership toll-free at (888) SV-OWNER (786-9637).

We're arriving on Aug 5 and I sent my DL form about 2 weeks ago. Hope this helps :flower:

07-26-2005, 12:27 PM
Would it be this crazy checking in on a Tuesday?

07-26-2005, 02:16 PM
Most likely not cruiserkaren. Friday, Sat & Sun are the BIG check-in days because these are the only days Vistana owners and exchangers can come in on. I try and arrive early----around noon-2 pm for check-in. I've never experienced what enrinch has in my 10 years of staying at Vistana. Maybe because we do normally arrive early ? Not sure. But considering their recent report, we're making sure we get ourselves there by noon on Aug 5 !

07-27-2005, 11:47 AM
We are arriving on a Friday, how long before we go should we sign up for Diamond Lane Check In? Also everyone says arrive early, they say check in is not until 4:00. Shall I assume they will let you check in earlier than that? Or atleast keep your bags until something would become ready? Help?

07-27-2005, 11:53 AM
fill out the diamond lane request NOW - it might already be too late for it.

if you are checking in this friday.

You can check in early then go to the parks, explore the resort- believe me this is a big resort with lots of stuff to do and see - if your room is not ready.

if you arrive late please sure to call the resort so they know you are still coming - otherwise your room can be given to someone else (most of the time the resort thinks of 'no shows' than guests arriving late). So anytime I arrive after 8PM I definitely call - but check with the resort - some want you to call if you arrive after 6 pm.

07-27-2005, 12:05 PM
Also everyone says arrive early, they say check in is not until 4:00. Shall I assume they will let you check in earlier than that? Or atleast keep your bags until something would become ready? Help?
Yes, you can check in earlier. We've arrived as early as 11 am. Vistana can store your luggage as well as any perishables you might have. They have a refrigeration storage room.
The earliest we've ever been able to get into our room was 2 pm. But this was during slower season (late Nov). The latest we've ever gotten into our room was 6:30 pm. I waited patiently from 4-6 pm but by 6:30 pm we were still being told the room wasn't ready and I asked to speak to a manager.
We were a little ticked because we had my mil with us who was going through chemo treatments and we had just come off a Disney cruise. She was fatigued. I finally told them I wanted to be upgraded because waiting for our Fountains room was taking an unacceptable amount of time. They immediately put us in a Lakes villa. Apparently, the story I got from the manager I spoke with, was that someone caused a considerable mess on the rugs in our assigned Fountains unit and they were shampooing the carpets. But by 6:30 pm I wasn't willing to wait any longer. But on average, 4 pm is about the expected time to get into your villa.

08-05-2005, 06:10 PM
I just used the link to get the Diamond Lane info. I submitted our form and requests, but noticed that it said the Diamond Lane is only available Fri-Sun. We check in on a Tuesday afternoon. Hope it all goes well, we have a PS on Disney property for 7:30pm. Keeping my fingers crossed that it all goes smoothly. :wave: