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Old 12-21-2012, 08:24 AM   #1
Momof2Disneyboys
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Just Back From a Split Stay -- Grand Floridian and Polynesian -- My Thoughts on Both!

Hello!

My family and I just got back Sunday from 2 nights at the Grand Floridian Sugarloaf Club Level and 5 nights at the Polynesian, standard room. So I thought I would offer up my thoughts and opinions on both. With lots of pics too!

As far as Disney Deluxe resorts we have stayed at: The Boardwalk Inn and really liked it. The Beach Club and didn't have such a great experience. And the Polynesian Club Level and it was our most absolute favorite ever!!


I will start with the GF since that's where we started out. We arrived on Sunday December 9th. We had an early flight into Orlando and were taking the ME bus to the GF. We walked through an empty ME line and up to the front and stood there for less than about 3 minutes and then were escorted to a waiting bus. It was about half full. A few more people loaded after us and we were on our way in about 10 minutes. The driver then informed us that the bus would be making 4 stops and the GF would be last. This was the start of many long bus rides and resorts sharing the buses for us. I'm not even sure how long the ME bus ride was. The stops at the WL & Poly went quickly, but we were at the CT for what seemed like forever.

When we finally got to the GF it was about 10:30am. We were met by a CM who was then going to escort us to the Sugarloaf building – which is the outer club level building. She also had a Bellman load our luggage onto a cart and was going to store it. She then informed us that our room was not ready. (This seems to be a theme for us with the Deluxe resorts. When we used to stay Moderate our rooms were ready early every single time.) Well, we had arrived from PA and were all in jeans. I informed her that we were going to head to a park since our room wasn't ready and we would need to change first, so I didn't want them to take our luggage away just yet. She looked at me confused. I found it hard to believe that we were the first people to ever need to change clothes if the room wasn't ready. So I asked her where we should go. We were still standing outside the front entrance at this point. She pointed to the right of the main building and said there are changing rooms back there. So I grabbed what we each needed and we headed back. I didn't know that she meant the changing rooms out by the pool! So that took forever, since there was no direct route to them and the way she directed us was out and around the main building and we had to follow the fence and couldn't get across before it ended.

So we got that all taken care of and she then proceeded to take us through the main building, pointing out features along the way. And out the back and over to the Sugarloaf building. She told us to wait at a table in the lounge and she went and got our keys and packet and said that we would get a text later when the room was ready. I told her I had made some room requests and asked if they were noted. They were not. Which is odd since they should have been on my ressie, plus I had talked to IPO via email about them. So she informed the CM at the CL desk of my requests of 3rd floor, daybed, and marina view.

We headed off to AK. I got a text at about 3:30 saying our room was ready! It was room 6315. We were pleased when we got back to find that all our requests were met!! After going back down to get a second set of room keys because the first ones didn't work. They said it was a computer glitch. The room itself was very nice. Bright and clean. The balcony was nice and good sized and the view was beautiful.

Mousekeeping was great. No complaints there. As was turndown service. All the CM's were very friendly.

Club Level was nice, but noisy. The food was about the same as we had experienced at the Poly in 2011, with a few differences. I would say that the Poly puts on a better evening/appetizer service, but the GF wins for desserts/snacks. They had the best sugar cookies and very good chocolate covered strawberries! When you walked out of our room it overlooked down into the lounge. So we got a lot of noise from that. People talking and carrying on and it echoed right up into the room. I could always hear forks banging off of plates. And one night there was a very loud bang in the middle of the night. Still not sure what that was. So I didn't get a lot of sleep there. If we ever returned I would ask for a room down one of the halls and away from the lounge. One evening we saw a very large family all demanding drink after drink from the poor CL CM. She would give them each 2 at a time and they kept her running back and forth. They were very loud and obnoxious. I wonder if there is ever a point where the CM's will shut them off??

Transportation was not the best. The GF always shared buses with the Poly and at least one other resort, either the CT and/or the WL. It is kind of ridiculous that the most expensive resorts have the longest bus rides. The ride to/from DTD was the worst. And AK and DHS weren't far behind. We never did use the boats. The monorail was good for the most part. Other than a few holdups and the night it was closed completely.

Had no real meals there because Gasparilla's was still closed.

The courtyard pool that was supposed to open back up in mid December was still closed and still is now. And is now said to open in the spring. They never once worked on it when we were there. So no construction noise there. The beach pool was open and it is very nice. But not quiet by any means. Between all the DVC construction noise and the noise that now comes from the Alice in Wonderland water play area for the kids, it is quite noisy there.

They had a movie screen set up each night right outside the courtyard pool construction walls. The kids enjoyed it! There was pin trading and mario cart from 6-7 and then a movie at 7.

The lobby was just as beautiful as always. Although much more crowded than usual due to the gingerbread house and the holidays I suppose. They even had a photopass photographer set up by the giant Christmas tree in the center of the lobby. Very nice. All the shops and restaurants were busy all the time.


Overall it was a nice little stay I guess. Would have been much better if the pool and food court were open. And if we had been able to sleep a little better! We have visited the GF several times in the past and even spent a few hours out on the beach there just relaxing one evening on our Aug 2011 trip. I loved the atmosphere then. So peaceful and elegant and tranquil. With there being absolutely no beach access right now and all the construction at the DVC, I didn't feel that the atmosphere was even close to being the same. Plus the new water play structure. I'm sure some of that peaceful atmosphere will be back one day when they are done with all the construction, but I'm not sure it will ever be the same as it was before. I'm glad we got to stay there and give it a try, I'm not sure if we will stay there again in the future though. DH did not love it at all. I liked it a lot more than him. But for us, nothing tops the Poly!


One more thing I will add – When we were getting ready to move to the Poly my DH called down to arrange for Bell Services to come up and help us with our luggage. They asked if we were taking the ME bus or a cab or what. He said we were moving to the Poly, but we didn't want to send our luggage separately, and asked if there was anyway to get us over there with our luggage. She told him no, that WDW could transport our luggage and it would be to the Poly by 1:00 or 2:00. He said that we didn't want to do that, so we would just need help down to the front and we would get a cab. When the Bellman came up he asked us if we needed to go out to the ME bus stop and we said actually we are moving over to the Poly and needed to go down and have someone call us a cab. And he said – well I can just take you over there on my golf cart if you want!! So that very nice man made himself a very generous tip that day!


Guess that's it. Let me know if you have any questions! I have LOTS of pics of the GF to share. And will also be doing my Poly review here too!


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Old 12-21-2012, 08:32 AM   #2
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Can't wait to read your Poly review!
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Old 12-21-2012, 08:45 AM   #3
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Thanks for your review. I'm looking forward to the Poly review. We have stayed in both and also prefer the Poly.

We have had the same experience with the bus service that you had. This is why we now rent a car, every trip. My DH does not like to wait only to ride a bus. We feel that the cost evens out because we are able to save money by going to the grocery store and buying drinks and foods that we want. We also have some offsite restaurants that we like to go to and that is way cheaper than eating on WDW property. We also love to go to the WDW outlet store at Orlando Premium Outlets. It is not far from DTD and sometimes we find some great deals there.

If you stay at GF next time consider using the boats. If you go to the MK, take the monorail to the park and ride the boat back. GF is the first stop on the boat's route and you will get back to the resort faster than the monorail. When you are at the Poly, the MK stop is next, but it isn't as quick as the monorail. It is just a nice ride.
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Old 12-21-2012, 08:58 AM   #4
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Well it is as I remembered it!

I'm so happy that you tried the GF. But I'm not happy with the problems you encountered.
The changing fiasco was dumb. I can't believe she made you go all the way around to the pool area.
I guess there isn't anywhere else really to change. She seemed like she was a little lost standing there looking at you like you were talking a foreign language.

Your room requests------ so glad you told them to check on it. Although you might otherwise have ended up down the hall and it might have been a little quieter for you? IDK. At least you got a marina view and not the construction view.

As far as busses----- ugh. I don't know why the MK deluxe resorts have to share a bus. It's crowded and miserable and makes for some unhappy park go-ers. Time for a rental car!!

The food in the lounge- from what I ate there, which was very little- was good. It was crowded all the dang time this trip. The resort was overflowing with guests which is probably the reason your room wasn't ready.

I saw more rude and obnoxious behavior -- some of it downright filthy-- in the lounge this trip more than before. We saw the aftermath of the drinking people that you had to listen to. The tables were completely full of bottles and glasses. It was nasty the way they acted. Like a free for all. I think there should be some way to limit the number of drinks a person has. Not sure how to do it but it makes the other guests miserable when people treat it like open bar night at the local watering hole in their town.

Construction- it's ugly. It's in your face. There's no way to not see it. The new splash pad is annoying, and absolutely does not fit in with the resort. It is loud all the time, and you can hear the clang of the bell all over the grounds, Not to mention the screams of the kids. It has competely ruined the tranquil peace that used to be part of the GF's charm. If they wanted to put it in, I think it needed to go further out- not right out the back of the main building.

So glad you were able to have that CM drive you over to the Poly!! I have found that the CM's at the GF to be absolutely wonderful. They have always gone above and beyond for my family.

All that said----- glad you went, sorry it was packed b/c it is a wonderful relaxing resort most of the time, and next time you'll just have to wave to me from across the water.

Now-- on with the Poly review!
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Old 12-21-2012, 10:02 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jackemail View Post
Can't wait to read your Poly review!

It's coming up soon! Still trying to load my pics. Photobucket is not being very cooperative this week.

Quote:
Originally Posted by J.C.&ALI'SMOM View Post
Thanks for your review. I'm looking forward to the Poly review. We have stayed in both and also prefer the Poly.

We have had the same experience with the bus service that you had. This is why we now rent a car, every trip. My DH does not like to wait only to ride a bus. We feel that the cost evens out because we are able to save money by going to the grocery store and buying drinks and foods that we want. We also have some offsite restaurants that we like to go to and that is way cheaper than eating on WDW property. We also love to go to the WDW outlet store at Orlando Premium Outlets. It is not far from DTD and sometimes we find some great deals there.

If you stay at GF next time consider using the boats. If you go to the MK, take the monorail to the park and ride the boat back. GF is the first stop on the boat's route and you will get back to the resort faster than the monorail. When you are at the Poly, the MK stop is next, but it isn't as quick as the monorail. It is just a nice ride.

You're welcome! I hope it was helpful.

Yeah, the bus service at the deluxe resorts leaves a lot to be desired. I really think they should only put 2 resorts on the same bus. The GF and the Poly could share. And the CT and the WL could share. That would make more sense. It's the same way over at the Epcot resorts - with 3 to 5 resorts sharing a bus.

Thanks for all the good tips! We might consider renting a car next time. We have never wanted to do that, but I'm thinking it might come to that...
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Old 12-21-2012, 10:06 AM   #6
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I feel the same way about the Sugarloaf. While I really enjoy RPC, I just can't handle Sugarloaf. And I agree with you on the new DVC and water play area. I'm a DVC owner and I really hated to see Disney destroy the peaceful atmosphere at GF.
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Old 12-21-2012, 10:06 AM   #7
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Well it is as I remembered it!

I'm so happy that you tried the GF. But I'm not happy with the problems you encountered.
The changing fiasco was dumb. I can't believe she made you go all the way around to the pool area.
I guess there isn't anywhere else really to change. She seemed like she was a little lost standing there looking at you like you were talking a foreign language.

Your room requests------ so glad you told them to check on it. Although you might otherwise have ended up down the hall and it might have been a little quieter for you? IDK. At least you got a marina view and not the construction view.

As far as busses----- ugh. I don't know why the MK deluxe resorts have to share a bus. It's crowded and miserable and makes for some unhappy park go-ers. Time for a rental car!!

The food in the lounge- from what I ate there, which was very little- was good. It was crowded all the dang time this trip. The resort was overflowing with guests which is probably the reason your room wasn't ready.

I saw more rude and obnoxious behavior -- some of it downright filthy-- in the lounge this trip more than before. We saw the aftermath of the drinking people that you had to listen to. The tables were completely full of bottles and glasses. It was nasty the way they acted. Like a free for all. I think there should be some way to limit the number of drinks a person has. Not sure how to do it but it makes the other guests miserable when people treat it like open bar night at the local watering hole in their town.

Construction- it's ugly. It's in your face. There's no way to not see it. The new splash pad is annoying, and absolutely does not fit in with the resort. It is loud all the time, and you can hear the clang of the bell all over the grounds, Not to mention the screams of the kids. It has competely ruined the tranquil peace that used to be part of the GF's charm. If they wanted to put it in, I think it needed to go further out- not right out the back of the main building.

So glad you were able to have that CM drive you over to the Poly!! I have found that the CM's at the GF to be absolutely wonderful. They have always gone above and beyond for my family.

All that said----- glad you went, sorry it was packed b/c it is a wonderful relaxing resort most of the time, and next time you'll just have to wave to me from across the water.

Now-- on with the Poly review!


Well for your sake I really really hope the relaxing and quiet atmosphere returns to the GF very soon!!

I know, you were standing there when I told that CM that we needed to change. Did she look at my like I had 3 heads or what??! I think it might have been much faster to just walk into the restrooms by 1900 PF and change.

Yes, I'm sure all the glasses and bottles you guys saw that night in the lounge were left by the very loud and drunk family we had the displeasure of sitting by earlier. Crazy!

All in all it was a nice stay. Just not at the top of our list I guess. And that's okay. I love trying new things and I'm glad we got to do it.
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Old 12-21-2012, 10:09 AM   #8
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I feel the same way about the Sugarloaf. While I really enjoy RPC, I just can't handle Sugarloaf. And I agree with you on the new DVC and water play area. I'm a DVC owner and I really hated to see Disney destroy the peaceful atmosphere at GF.

Maybe someday we can try RPC!

It is sad that all the changes are taking place. I have nothing against DVC, I think it's great. I just don't know why they had to put it so close to the GF. And with the rumors of them making the GCH of the Poly DVC I am afraid!
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Old 12-21-2012, 10:11 AM   #9
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Appreciated and enjoyed your review so far. Poly is #1 with our family as well. Had originally booked GF SL for next Summer for a change. Had stayed GF a few years ago and thought we should give CL a try there. My instincts told me to stick with Poly CL so we switiched back. Looking forward to the rest of your report!
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Old 12-21-2012, 10:50 AM   #10
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I guess construction is going to have a negative impact until it's all said and done there! And maybe it will still be negative after, who knows?

I was just thinking - why did she think you needed a pool changing room? I would have gone to the restrooms too.

I have a theory on why all the deluxes share buses - most of them have at least one form of alternate transportation - monorail, boats, walking, so that they must (mistakenly) believe less people would be on the buses, so they share them. I agree with you - two resorts should be the max. Especially during busy times!

Anxious to hear about your Poly experience!

Oh - what is RPC?
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Old 12-21-2012, 11:11 AM   #11
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great review! waiting for pics and poly review now

we stayed at the poly and loved it! we too saw rude behavior from guests however. one left his booze bottles on the poly beach!! i couldn't stand it so after he left i cleaned them up. he also left a mess in the cl as well! i feel bad for the cm's who have to deal with this kind of behavior.
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Old 12-21-2012, 11:59 AM   #12
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Hi Shelly -

Thank you for sharing your review of the GF.

I bet it is safe to say, if the resort has any construction going on, stay away.

Too bad you were hearing all the noise from CL. That is not good at all. How late is that open that you can hear plates clanging in the middle of the night?
That is mind boggling.

Well, I am glad that there were some good things that you liked and enjoyed.

Looking forward to more of your reviews!

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Old 12-21-2012, 12:15 PM   #13
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Quote:
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Well for your sake I really really hope the relaxing and quiet atmosphere returns to the GF very soon!!

I know, you were standing there when I told that CM that we needed to change. Did she look at my like I had 3 heads or what??! I think it might have been much faster to just walk into the restrooms by 1900 PF and change.

Yes, I'm sure all the glasses and bottles you guys saw that night in the lounge were left by the very loud and drunk family we had the displeasure of sitting by earlier. Crazy!

All in all it was a nice stay. Just not at the top of our list I guess. And that's okay. I love trying new things and I'm glad we got to do it.

She did indeed look at you like that request was something she had never heard! I was actually surprised and that's when I said ok, we have to go. I figured us leaving y'all would help you get things sorted out.

As far as RPC--- I've never been up there so IDK, but I'm wondering if the craziness of the lobby echoes up there as well? The night of the wedding we went in and it was mass chaos-- people laughing, screaming, the band playing. About 50 people swing dancing in the middle of the floor in between guests to the orchestra. Which I guess is fun for them, but for the guests actually staying there, I'd imagine it was terrible. Especially if you had a child trying to sleep. Just chaotic.
IDK.

I think it was just the timeframe of the trip.

No more December for us. Not if we can absolutely help it!
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Old 12-21-2012, 12:46 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoBird

She did indeed look at you like that request was something she had never heard! I was actually surprised and that's when I said ok, we have to go. I figured us leaving y'all would help you get things sorted out.

As far as RPC--- I've never been up there so IDK, but I'm wondering if the craziness of the lobby echoes up there as well? The night of the wedding we went in and it was mass chaos-- people laughing, screaming, the band playing. About 50 people swing dancing in the middle of the floor in between guests to the orchestra. Which I guess is fun for them, but for the guests actually staying there, I'd imagine it was terrible. Especially if you had a child trying to sleep. Just chaotic.
IDK.

I think it was just the timeframe of the trip.

No more December for us. Not if we can absolutely help it!
We stayed there last December. Didn't realize when I booked that it was parade weekend. We stayed in Conch Key this time, facing the courtyard. Only building I didn't care for. In the past we've been in Boca Chica and Big Pine lagoon view. This time was ground floor so I felt "exposed" if the drapes weren't closed at all times. I had tried for SL but it was booked solid, duh, parade. The lobby was a madhouse, more so than In our previous holiday stays. I can't imagine it with full blown construction!
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Old 12-21-2012, 01:58 PM   #15
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Quote:
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She did indeed look at you like that request was something she had never heard! I was actually surprised and that's when I said ok, we have to go. I figured us leaving y'all would help you get things sorted out.

As far as RPC--- I've never been up there so IDK, but I'm wondering if the craziness of the lobby echoes up there as well? The night of the wedding we went in and it was mass chaos-- people laughing, screaming, the band playing. About 50 people swing dancing in the middle of the floor in between guests to the orchestra. Which I guess is fun for them, but for the guests actually staying there, I'd imagine it was terrible. Especially if you had a child trying to sleep. Just chaotic.
IDK.

I think it was just the timeframe of the trip.

No more December for us. Not if we can absolutely help it!
I have stayed RPC twice and it's been very quiet up there, even when the lobby is bustling below and the orchestra is playing. The great thing about RPC is that there are tables almost all the way to the other end so you can eat your offerings in complete privacy if you don't mind walking that far from where the food tables are set up. It's nothing like staying at Sugarloaf.
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