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Old 04-17-2013, 02:46 PM   #1
Masonmj84
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Disney Deluxe versus the Four Seasons

Over the past 6 months, we've stayed at two Disney deluxe properties (Poly and BC) and the Four Seasons in Vegas.

Believe it or not, I actually enjoyed the Disney properties more.

The Four Seasons definately had more attentive and professional service. For example, when you go to the pool, a pool attendant greets you and attends to your every need (gets your towels, drinks, etc.). But not being used to this, we found it somewhat unsettling (plus, it seemed like I was needing to tip every 5 minutes).

The room quality was also better in the Four Seasons. Completely immaculate, more upscale touches, almost no signs of wear and tear, bed was more comfortable, and the bathroom blows Disney deluxe resort bathrooms out of the water. That being said, Disney deluxe rooms have been at least on par with most Hiltons I've stayed at, which is perfectly adequate for our family.

Theming-wise, I liked the Disney properties better, especially Poly (AKL and WL also have way cooler theming). Granted, the Vegas Four Seasons is situated within Manalay Bay, which sort of limits how far they can go with it, but it was just too stuffy for us (think a more stuffy and adult-oriented version of the Grand Floridian).

Food wise, we ate at their on-site restaurant (Verandah) and, while it was very good, I thought the food at most Disney signatures is better for about the same price range (service is a closer call). Their breakfast buffet looked much more upscale than most Disney buffets but we ordered a-la-carte instead. While the food quality was definately higher than say, CRT, I don't know that I liked it as much as, say, Kona (service was better than either - like having signature restaurant level service for breakfast).

Their on-site steakhouse (Charlie Palmer) might have been better than a Disney signature (or even Shula's) but it was super expensive (think Ruth's Chris on steroids).

Granted it's hard to make an apples-to-apples comparision, especially since we're much more Disney people than Vegas people, have young children, and aren't used to staying in super high-end properties.

Anyway, it made me feel a little better about paying Disney's ridiculous deluxe resort prices (although, I wouldn't recommend staying in a Disney resort immediately after staying in a Four Seasons).
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Old 04-17-2013, 02:59 PM   #2
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We stayed at the Trump hotel in Vegas a couple years back, to attend a wedding. The room was amazing and extremely reasonable and well appointed: great view, quiet, in-room living area, extraordinary and very lage bathroom etc. This hotel had no casino attached but a large portion of the hotel had been sold as condos. It was somewhat away from the strip as well. But it was in Vegas, and I really, really don't like Vegas. I can never shake the feeling that the whole place is driven by greed, lust, and avarice. I'll take the manicured Disney environment over the gilded, smarmy Vegas environment every day. I'd rather pay more for my hotel and my costs up front than be under the constant exploitation of gambling. You may get cheap buffet food and free or cheap drinks in a casino, but it's just a loss leader.
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Old 04-17-2013, 03:11 PM   #3
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Thanks for your review! I will be staying at the FS Vegas this summer. I'm used to staying at luxury hotels, FS, Ritz Carltons, Fairmonts, so the whole extra attentiveness thing is something I expect when I stay at a resort, although you're right, it does involve a lot of tipping lol! I'm not crazy about Vegas, but my travel companions wanted to go, so that's why I chose the themeless, classier Four Seasons over the casino hotels.

That being said, I definitely think these luxury brands have a leg-up on the Disney Deluxe properties. At Disney, we're paying for the whole Disney experience. I think if you took any of the Deluxe hotels out of WDW, they wouldn't be nearly on the same level as the aforementioned hotel brands.
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Old 04-17-2013, 03:34 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by aVASTGrl View Post
that's why I chose the themeless, classier Four Seasons over the casino hotels.

That being said, I definitely think these luxury brands have a leg-up on the Disney Deluxe properties. At Disney, we're paying for the whole Disney experience. I think if you took any of the Deluxe hotels out of WDW, they wouldn't be nearly on the same level as the aforementioned hotel brands.
Yep, while at the Four Seasons, I poked my head into the Manalay Bay for a few minutes. The difference in "classiness" was pretty astounding.

Disney deluxe hotels are what they are. Heavily (and I think, generally attractively) themed Hiltons on Disney property. But as everyone says, they're not in the same league as the Four Seasons and Ritz Carltons of the world for room quality and overall service.
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Old 04-17-2013, 03:42 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Masonmj84

Yep, while at the Four Seasons, I poked my head into the Manalay Bay for a few minutes. The difference in "classiness" was pretty astounding.

Disney deluxe hotels are what they are. Heavily (and I think, generally attractively) themed Hiltons on Disney property. But as everyone says, they're not in the same league as the Four Seasons and Ritz Carltons of the world for room quality and overall service.
100% agree. For me it really depends on the type of vacation I want. If I plan a lot of down timeand want the luxury I stay at the Orlando Ritz. I don't expect the same level of service from Disney. They are not in the hotel business, they are entertainment with accomodations nearby.
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Old 04-17-2013, 04:48 PM   #6
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I think you can not compare any of the luxury hotel in Vegas to anywhere else in the U.S. it us an entirely different category.

The Four Seasons, Disney will be a category unto its own and will appeal to an entirely different demographic than any WDW resort including the deluxes (and that includes the GF).
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Old 04-17-2013, 05:07 PM   #7
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I've have stayed at several Four Seasons and Ritz Carltons in and out of the US and I don't see any way to compare them to Disney resorts, particularly staying concierge level.

I enjoy my stays on Disney property but I don't confuse them with a luxury resort stay.
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Old 04-17-2013, 10:30 PM   #8
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Agreed. As has been said elsewhere, Disney Deluxe resorts are 3-4 star resorts charging 5 star prices. There is no comparison in services/quality to a Four Seasons/Ritz Carlton type hotel (which outside of major cities typically cost less). They are the only hotels on property that aren't glorified, well-themed, and magical motels, so Disney can charge through the nose for them.

ETA: I still want to stay at them because they are a significant part of the WDW experience and they are worth the money for the experience, but I recognize the reality of the situation...

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Old 04-17-2013, 10:39 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Pakey View Post

I enjoy my stays on Disney property but I don't confuse them with a luxury resort stay.
This is how I look at it, too.

I would never stay at a Mod-type, outside door access motel anywhere else except at WDW. Somehow they make it seem alright! When I think about the Ritz Carlton @ Battery Park where I stay when I'm in NYC being cheaper than most of the Deluxes, I get a little green lol! But we suck it up because we're at Disney!
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Old 04-17-2013, 11:33 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by aVASTGrl View Post
This is how I look at it, too.

I would never stay at a Mod-type, outside door access motel anywhere else except at WDW. Somehow they make it seem alright! When I think about the Ritz Carlton @ Battery Park where I stay when I'm in NYC being cheaper than most of the Deluxes, I get a little green lol! But we suck it up because we're at Disney!
I know. I enjoy my Disney hotel stays as much as any luxury hotel stay. I travel for pleasure about 8 times a year and we almost always stay in a hotel from the 4S chain, St. Regis (we just stayed at the St. Regis in Abu Dhabi and it was awesome), Jumeirah, or the Leading Hotels of the World. I prefer, however, boutique hotels with local flair, but those are hard to "get right" sometimes.

Our last Disney stay was BWI, Sonora Suite with club. It to me was just as nice (and larger!) as a lot of the other rooms I've stayed in. Well, my side was and the living space was; I had a princess bed and a huge marble bathroom. The kids' room, which connected through a door in the living area, was just a standard double queen room with standard bath. They sure didn't mind. And it's IN DISNEY. That's what you pay for, to be on Disney property in the middle of the magic--not for "luxury."

I'm not in the hotel all the much in Disney. I'm in the parks! When I'm on a beach holiday, or even a city break, the hotel is often the main focus of the stay. So I expect a lot more luxury upgrades on those trips. At Disney, I don't need a butler service or anything like that (I hardly use the butler anyway, especially to pack and unpack! How would I ever find my stuff if I let the butler do it? Or do I have to stand and watch, doing nothing and feeling stupid?) I do wish, however, there was some service at the pool area and decent beach towels! Even if it was like at the Universal hotels--some servers, nice towels, free sunscreen, a little treat like frozen grapes here and there. But again, since the Disney pools are always so crowded and hectic, I don't think I could relax there anyway. And my kids are constantly yelling for me to watch them go down the slide! But to me, it's all part of the experience. And it's an experience I love. And yes, I even love the hotels. To me they are special and the "luxury" is being able to look out your window and see the castle, or to walk to Epcot, or to stand in the hallway outside your door and see the iconic monorail zoom in and out. That's also a luxury, it's just a different kind.

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Old 04-18-2013, 08:47 AM   #11
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I know. I enjoy my Disney hotel stays as much as any luxury hotel stay. I travel for pleasure about 8 times a year and we almost always stay in a hotel from the 4S chain, St. Regis (we just stayed at the St. Regis in Abu Dhabi and it was awesome), Jumeirah, or the Leading Hotels of the World. I prefer, however, boutique hotels with local flair, but those are hard to "get right" sometimes.

Our last Disney stay was BWI, Sonora Suite with club. It to me was just as nice (and larger!) as a lot of the other rooms I've stayed in. Well, my side was and the living space was; I had a princess bed and a huge marble bathroom. The kids' room, which connected through a door in the living area, was just a standard double queen room with standard bath. They sure didn't mind. And it's IN DISNEY. That's what you pay for, to be on Disney property in the middle of the magic--not for "luxury."

I'm not in the hotel all the much in Disney. I'm in the parks! When I'm on a beach holiday, or even a city break, the hotel is often the main focus of the stay. So I expect a lot more luxury upgrades on those trips. At Disney, I don't need a butler service or anything like that (I hardly use the butler anyway, especially to pack and unpack! How would I ever find my stuff if I let the butler do it? Or do I have to stand and watch, doing nothing and feeling stupid?) I do wish, however, there was some service at the pool area and decent beach towels! Even if it was like at the Universal hotels--some servers, nice towels, free sunscreen, a little
treat like frozen grapes here and there. But again, since the Disney pools are always so crowded and hectic, I don't think I could relax there anyway. And my kids are constantly yelling for me to watch them go down the slide! But to me, it's all part of the experience. And it's an experience I love. And yes, I even love the hotels. To me they are special and the "luxury" is being able to look out your window and see the castle, or to walk to Epcot, or to stand in the hallway outside your door and see the iconic monorail zoom in and out. That's also a luxury, it's just a different kind.
...or a


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Old 04-18-2013, 12:46 PM   #12
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...Disney Deluxe resorts are 3-4 star resorts charging 5 star prices.
Absolutely correct, although I'd suggest more three star than four star at the deluxe level.

That said, the Disney resort ace-in-the-hole is location and, for us, configuration. I'm not a DVC member but booking a 1 or 2 bedroom at BLT is simply a no-brainer. The room configuration is perfect, with the full kitchen, laundry, and extra bathroom, and being able to simply walk to and from the Magic Kingdom is unbeatable.

That said, it's still somewhat of a shame that they don't offer a true four or five star experience at these resorts.
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Old 04-18-2013, 02:38 PM   #13
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That said, it's still somewhat of a shame that they don't offer a true four or five star experience at these resorts.
Agree.

While I don't need someone bringing me towels and drinks at the pool (partly because I don't always want to have to carry cash around for tips) and I don't like taking kids to places that are too adult-oriented and stuffy, there are two areas I think Disney deluxe resorts could improve to provide something closer to a 5 star experience:

1. Room quality. For the prices charged at the deluxe resorts, it would be nice to have top quality bedding, higher end bathroom fixtures, and fewer signs of wear and tear (which, in essence, means more frequent and higher quality refurbishments).

2. Service quality. While I've yet to experience truly bad service at a Disney deluxe resort, I've experienced at lot of relatively indifferent service. For the prices charged, CMs (e.g., management, desk, and bell) should be treating every guest like a VIP.

I realize that a ton of what you're paying for is location and theming and, as long as the market will bear it, Disney will do no more than maintain the status quo. But I'd love to see the deluxe resorts improve in those two areas.
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Old 04-18-2013, 03:24 PM   #14
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Agree.

While I don't need someone bringing me towels and drinks at the pool (partly because I don't always want to have to carry cash around for tips) and I don't like taking kids to places that are too adult-oriented and stuffy, there are two areas I think Disney deluxe resorts could improve to provide something closer to a 5 star experience:

1. Room quality. For the prices charged at the deluxe resorts, it would be nice to have top quality bedding, higher end bathroom fixtures, and fewer signs of wear and tear (which, in essence, means more frequent and higher quality refurbishments).

2. Service quality. While I've yet to experience truly bad service at a Disney deluxe resort, I've experienced at lot of relatively indifferent service. For the prices charged, CMs (e.g., management, desk, and bell) should be treating every guest like a VIP.

I realize that a ton of what you're paying for is location and theming and, as long as the market will bear it, Disney will do no more than maintain the status quo. But I'd love to see the deluxe resorts improve in those two areas.
+1

I mean I understand that Disney hotels are catering to a different market than typical 5 star resorts, but given that rack rates at Deluxes start around the $300 level (and although there are discounts, on average people pay a lot closer to rack rate @ WDW hotels than they do at normal hotels) one would think you could get better than 250 thread count sheets, etc. They basically don't do it because they don't have to, and they have determined that its not cost-effective. Given that it's been demonstrated that people will basically pay whatever they charge at WDW for deluxes, they
could raise the rates slightly and totally cover the costs. I know I would be willing to pay a little more (or maybe not get as premium of a view/CL) for better room quality.

As far as the service goes, I think they do a pretty good job. Once again, the over-the-top service found at 5 star hotels would be somewhat out of place at a Disney Deluxe, but I think they could do a better job making the it a bit less mechanized. That said, I think the issues many find with the service at the Disney Deluxes probably have more to do with the number of rooms at each of them. With the exception of BWI, the Disney Deluxes have 500-1000+ rooms each. Typical 5 star resorts (with the exception of those in Vegas, which also suffer in comparison to 5 star resorts elsewhere on the service front) are typically in the 200-400 room range.
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