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Old 02-08-2013, 05:44 AM   #91
jekjones1558
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Originally Posted by donaldbuzz&minnie View Post
I have stayed in a HA studio at BCV and agree with the poster who said that the main problem was not the HA features that needed to be installed, but rather the way in which the needs of anyone staying in the room were disregarded. Based on the indifferent, makeshift design of the room, I could only conclude that Disney's attitude toward their disabled guests is that a disability = no need for any counter space whatsoever in the bathroom or the kitchenette, or any closet space. So if you're disabled, that makes it ok to have to pull a plastic table from the balcony into the bathroom to have some place to put your toiletries? This really made me angry.

Apparently Disney considers disabled guests to be second class citizens. There is no other reason I can think of as to why these rooms can't be functional and attractive - I easily mentally redesigned the room I was in and I'm no architect.

Disabled guests are spending good money too, and have every right to expect a comfortable, attractive room. I would have no problem whatsoever staying in a well-designed room for someone who is physically challenged. No bathtub? Grab bars? Higher toilet? Counters lower than "normal"? No problem. Complete lack of counter and closet space? No one should have to put up with that. And there's got to be a way to manage a roll-in shower that doesn't involve risking life and limb on slippery floors. (Shouldn't that be a prime concern in a room for people who, by definition, may not be steady on their feet?)

IMO Disney could solve most of their problem in this area by simply caring enough about their less able-bodied guests re-design their HA rooms so that the rooms function properly. I don't buy the argument that "someone" has to get the loser rooms, and we should all just grin and bear it when our turn comes up. That argument suggests that "loser" rooms are inevitable and, by extension, disabled guests aren't entitled to rooms that function well. I may only have to put up with a poorly designed room once in awhile. Why should Disney expect disabled guests to put up with one on every single visit?

I would consider myself to be too much of a princess (and not in a good way) if I weren't willing to take my turn in a well-designed HA room once in awhile. But no one should have to meekly accept HA rooms as they are currently designed.
Wow! From one who stays in HA rooms, thank you!
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Old 02-08-2013, 07:26 AM   #92
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Originally Posted by donaldbuzz&minnie View Post
I have stayed in a HA studio at BCV and agree with the poster who said that the main problem was not the HA features that needed to be installed, but rather the way in which the needs of anyone staying in the room were disregarded. Based on the indifferent, makeshift design of the room, I could only conclude that Disney's attitude toward their disabled guests is that a disability = no need for any counter space whatsoever in the bathroom or the kitchenette, or any closet space. So if you're disabled, that makes it ok to have to pull a plastic table from the balcony into the bathroom to have some place to put your toiletries? This really made me angry.

Apparently Disney considers disabled guests to be second class citizens. There is no other reason I can think of as to why these rooms can't be functional and attractive - I easily mentally redesigned the room I was in and I'm no architect.

Disabled guests are spending good money too, and have every right to expect a comfortable, attractive room. I would have no problem whatsoever staying in a well-designed room for someone who is physically challenged. No bathtub? Grab bars? Higher toilet? Counters lower than "normal"? No problem. Complete lack of counter and closet space? No one should have to put up with that. And there's got to be a way to manage a roll-in shower that doesn't involve risking life and limb on slippery floors. (Shouldn't that be a prime concern in a room for people who, by definition, may not be steady on their feet?)

IMO Disney could solve most of their problem in this area by simply caring enough about their less able-bodied guests re-design their HA rooms so that the rooms function properly. I don't buy the argument that "someone" has to get the loser rooms, and we should all just grin and bear it when our turn comes up. That argument suggests that "loser" rooms are inevitable and, by extension, disabled guests aren't entitled to rooms that function well. I may only have to put up with a poorly designed room once in awhile. Why should Disney expect disabled guests to put up with one on every single visit?

I would consider myself to be too much of a princess (and not in a good way) if I weren't willing to take my turn in a well-designed HA room once in awhile. But no one should have to meekly accept HA rooms as they are currently designed.
The problem is that HA units are designed to meet the most common denominators of handicap needs. Law specifies the minimum required turning radius needed for those in standard wheelchairs, so nothing can be on the floor, no shelves or storage can protrude into that radius. The solution would be for the HA units to have a larger footprint...larger bathrooms to allow roll in showers, turning radius and some counter or shelf space. The same with the kitchens/kitchenettes and sleeping area. Now, does anyone think DVC should reduce the number of overall units in a planned resort to accommodate larger HA rooms when compared to regular room? And, would that make it more difficult for those that need HA rooms to book them because non-disabled people want the larger rooms? I mean, look at how many people snag the HA restroom stall, even when other stalls are open, regardless if someone in a wheelchair or scooter is also waiting in line. And look at the number of people that want a GAC for perceived front of the line access, even if they have no actual issues. It was not uncommon to see people actually trying to sell a GAC on Ebay.
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Old 02-08-2013, 08:32 AM   #93
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Originally Posted by donaldbuzz&minnie
I have stayed in a HA studio at BCV and agree with the poster who said that the main problem was not the HA features that needed to be installed, but rather the way in which the needs of anyone staying in the room were disregarded. Based on the indifferent, makeshift design of the room, I could only conclude that Disney's attitude toward their disabled guests is that a disability = no need for any counter space whatsoever in the bathroom or the kitchenette, or any closet space. So if you're disabled, that makes it ok to have to pull a plastic table from the balcony into the bathroom to have some place to put your toiletries? This really made me angry.

Apparently Disney considers disabled guests to be second class citizens. There is no other reason I can think of as to why these rooms can't be functional and attractive - I easily mentally redesigned the room I was in and I'm no architect.

Disabled guests are spending good money too, and have every right to expect a comfortable, attractive room. I would have no problem whatsoever staying in a well-designed room for someone who is physically challenged. No bathtub? Grab bars? Higher toilet? Counters lower than "normal"? No problem. Complete lack of counter and closet space? No one should have to put up with that. And there's got to be a way to manage a roll-in shower that doesn't involve risking life and limb on slippery floors. (Shouldn't that be a prime concern in a room for people who, by definition, may not be steady on their feet?)

IMO Disney could solve most of their problem in this area by simply caring enough about their less able-bodied guests re-design their HA rooms so that the rooms function properly. I don't buy the argument that "someone" has to get the loser rooms, and we should all just grin and bear it when our turn comes up. That argument suggests that "loser" rooms are inevitable and, by extension, disabled guests aren't entitled to rooms that function well. I may only have to put up with a poorly designed room once in awhile. Why should Disney expect disabled guests to put up with one on every single visit?

I would consider myself to be too much of a princess (and not in a good way) if I weren't willing to take my turn in a well-designed HA room once in awhile. But no one should have to meekly accept HA rooms as they are currently designed.
Thank you for that post.
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Old 02-08-2013, 09:43 AM   #94
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We own at Sunrise Ridge Resort in Tennessee which is a member of Amber Vacation Club. It has five resorts that you can trade into internally. It is also a points system with studios, one, two, and three bedrooms. You know when you book the unit if it is a handicapped unit.

If Amber Vacation Club can handle its inventory marking handicapped, looks like Disney could do it as well. At one time Disney had to keep track of smoking and nonsmoking rooms which must have been more involved.
I'm sure they could and to a degree they already do, they just don't tell you or link the reservation. What they do now, as I understand the legal changes, is they hold the HC units until last unless they are required/requested by someone who needs one. That way you don't get into a situation where a HC units is not available but a regular room is. However, once all non HC units are reserved, they then release the HC reservation (just a numbers game right now) for anyone. One of the issues is that laws change over time and that the requirements are pretty general so they have no choice but do make certain one size fits all decisions. Whether these could be done better, I don't have enough info or awareness of the laws to know specifics that drive these decisions. In general their trying to meet the requirements and minimize the space taken so they can have more units total.

Since units are assigned at the resorts, the HC units not formally reserved, are thus assigned. I think the resorts that are larger and having minimal booking categories like OKW and SSR would not be a big deal for direct bookings, for resorts like BCV or VWL or GF it would be far more difficult. For some resorts, making this a formal booking category will have some effect on availability both now and later. Realities are that even if a units is available, the chance of a given category being available for an entire trip are slightly less. You're likely to lose 1-2 villas per day per smaller resort to this issue. Put another way, that means there are maybe 5 or 6 people any given day or week that will not get a reservation they would otherwise have gotten. Those members and their points will likely look at other times further affecting availability throughout the year. Yes I do think it'd have that much effect. It's also very likely you'd lose something in the area of other booking categories. For example, you might lose the l/o vs dedicated booking category and that drop down to simply a request. Can you imagine that thread as it pertains to BCV?

The reality is it really isn't necessary. The simple fix is that DVC puts more effort into unit assignments, something they've never done well and have gotten formally worse on in the last few years. I travel a fair amount in timeshares (maybe 10 units, 4-5 resorts per year) and I think it's very easy to say that EVERYONE puts a larger effort into unit assignments than does DVC. The reality is that even if it's a booking category and they put effort into this issue, things happen. They MUST reserve the ability to change things on you if issues arise. That means that BW view or BCV 2Q unit is never a complete guarantee even though I'm sure some don't want to hear that reality.

Let me give you a real world example from this past week. We were in Aruba for 11 nights at the Marriott Surf Club. A week exchange and a 4 nights Marriott points reservations (Timeshare points not FF miles). The views were different on the reservation and the exchange was for a 2 BR while the reservation a 1 BR (again, different views). Our requests were simple on the surface but fairly complicated in reality. That is BEST view possible, same unit the entire time if possible with the expressed preference that a significantly better view for the 4 night reservation was the HIGHEST priority even though it'd likely mean we'd have to move. The exchange was the first part of the stay. They originally gave us a 2 BR L/O with the idea of just closing it off for the last 4 nights. We wouldn't have to move but the view was relatively poor. No big deal, it was a reasonable approach. In affect we were minimally upgraded on the 2 BR view from the lowest of 4 cat to a unit that was near the bottom of the 3rd of 4 cat and we were minimally downgraded for the direct reservation because we were given a poor view in that cat. Again reasonable big picture and no big deal. I questioned, didn't complain, the parameters simply as a side bar to a larger issue, that the hot water heater wasn't working correctly. I simply restated that my requests had been as I noted and we'd prefer to move for the last 4 days to get a better view and left it at that. I thought that was the end of it but one of the desk managers took it upon herself to call me that afternoon and offer to move us for the last 4 days. It'd meant we'd have to pack and move but we said OK. She offered us a specific floor and building side. When we went to check in again we were originally assigned an far worse room even than we had. Apparently the people in the unit they had promised us had had medical issues and the lady was in the hospital so they were extended. Then when I said we'd just stay where we were if they didn't have a much better unit (of course by then we'd already packed). So they offered us a different unit with the idea that we'd go check it and see if we though it was worth moving. Then we got the word that unit had to have a major cleaning because someone had smoked in it. We're both allergic to smoke. They found us another nice unit comparable to the other 2. One thing Marriott does is they let you stay in one unit until the next is ready even for different resorts in the same area. In Aruba they have that process down for them to move your things even if you're not there. I declined this since I don't want people messing with my things but it was nice to have the option.
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Old 02-08-2013, 12:02 PM   #95
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The problem is that HA units are designed to meet the most common denominators of handicap needs. Law specifies the minimum required turning radius needed for those in standard wheelchairs, so nothing can be on the floor, no shelves or storage can protrude into that radius. The solution would be for the HA units to have a larger footprint...larger bathrooms to allow roll in showers, turning radius and some counter or shelf space. The same with the kitchens/kitchenettes and sleeping area. Now, does anyone think DVC should reduce the number of overall units in a planned resort to accommodate larger HA rooms when compared to regular room? And, would that make it more difficult for those that need HA rooms to book them because non-disabled people want the larger rooms? I mean, look at how many people snag the HA restroom stall, even when other stalls are open, regardless if someone in a wheelchair or scooter is also waiting in line. And look at the number of people that want a GAC for perceived front of the line access, even if they have no actual issues. It was not uncommon to see people actually trying to sell a GAC on Ebay.
Although it's been awhile since I stayed in a HA room, I remember spending a fair amount of time mentally redesigning the room to meet the above considerations in the space alotted. I doubt that it would be necessary to make the room larger. For example, just plunking the microwave down on a kitchette counter designed for a "regular" room and calling that HA doesn't work. Spending some time thoughtfully redesigning that same kitchenette space for the specific needs of someone in a wheelchair would.

The fact that the bathroom looked like it could have been imported directly from the nearest hospital doesn't help either. Surely a sink could be designed to provide clearance for a wheelchair, while still being attractive. I can't imagine that well-off people who need accommodations in their own homes all settle for cheap, depressing looking bathrooms. Why should anyone staying in a supposedly deluxe facility expect less? While I can completely understand that DVC might not be able to redesign square footage per room, there has obviously been no thought given whatsoever to design within the existing space. I can't imagine that DVC couldn't possibly fit that redesign into the budget over time.

For me, the perfect solution would be to make the HA rooms so attractive that people needing them would feel pampered instead of grudgingly accommodated, and most able-bodied guests would be fine with the occasional assignment. How great would it be if people fought over wanting them instead of dreading staying in one!?!
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Old 02-08-2013, 12:10 PM   #96
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Surely a sink could be designed to provide clearance for a wheelchair, while still being attractive. I can't imagine that well-off people who need accommodations in their own homes all settle for cheap, depressing looking bathrooms. Why should anyone staying in a supposedly deluxe facility expect less? !
I've always thought that the Kidani master bath was spectacular both in decor and size, I wonder what the HA master bath at Kidani looks like in comparison? Perhaps to date it's just the case of retrofitting old resorts to be HA compliant rather than designing new resort with HA in mind?
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Old 02-08-2013, 01:32 PM   #97
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Although it's been awhile since I stayed in a HA room, I remember spending a fair amount of time mentally redesigning the room to meet the above considerations in the space alotted. I doubt that it would be necessary to make the room larger. For example, just plunking the microwave down on a kitchette counter designed for a "regular" room and calling that HA doesn't work. Spending some time thoughtfully redesigning that same kitchenette space for the specific needs of someone in a wheelchair would.

The fact that the bathroom looked like it could have been imported directly from the nearest hospital doesn't help either. Surely a sink could be designed to provide clearance for a wheelchair, while still being attractive. I can't imagine that well-off people who need accommodations in their own homes all settle for cheap, depressing looking bathrooms. Why should anyone staying in a supposedly deluxe facility expect less? While I can completely understand that DVC might not be able to redesign square footage per room, there has obviously been no thought given whatsoever to design within the existing space. I can't imagine that DVC couldn't possibly fit that redesign into the budget over time.

For me, the perfect solution would be to make the HA rooms so attractive that people needing them would feel pampered instead of grudgingly accommodated, and most able-bodied guests would be fine with the occasional assignment. How great would it be if people fought over wanting them instead of dreading staying in one!?!
But then there's that money thing. The truth is that they could design the resorts where all rooms have some accommodations with out much issue. More space, wider doors and hand rails could be standard. There's cost there as well but it's negligible if they could make the units the same overall size. The truth is that unit size is one of the legitimate criticisms of DVC outside of OKW anyway.
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Old 02-08-2013, 05:19 PM   #98
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It is unfortunate that DVC did not try to fix some of the HA unit problems during recent rehabs. A simple example: no place to set soap, shampoo, etc in the HA 1 bedroom OKW shower.

Here is a photo of the shower:



I had to turn a Kleenex holder upside down to hold the stuff and allow the water to drain out the bottom:



When OKW was recently refurbished it would have been a relatively inexpensive fix to install some kind of place to hold this stuff. There aren't that many HA units to cause the cost to be prohibitive. Maybe those of us who use the HA units have been too timid in expressing our problems with the way the units are set up???
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Old 02-08-2013, 06:18 PM   #99
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They maybe don't think it is a problem, since there is a soap dish next to the control faucet. But I really like your idea of using the Kleenex cover. It really wouldn't cost much if they got a plastic doohicky to hang from the grab bar.

I really haven't had the problem of water on the floor, that so many others report. I just turn the shower head so it sprays more toward the wall instead of the shower curtain and the water stays in pretty well.
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Old 02-08-2013, 08:45 PM   #100
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They maybe don't think it is a problem, since there is a soap dish next to the control faucet. But I really like your idea of using the Kleenex cover. It really wouldn't cost much if they got a plastic doohicky to hang from the grab bar.

I really haven't had the problem of water on the floor, that so many others report. I just turn the shower head so it sprays more toward the wall instead of the shower curtain and the water stays in pretty well.
I wonder if they are a fall hazard.
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Old 02-08-2013, 09:07 PM   #101
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I agree. We had an HA studio at BWV. There was no place to leave anything in the bathroom even though there was plenty of room for storage shelves at an accessible height.

Instead of a closet there was a small armoire that was already full since it was also used to store the ironing board, vacuum cleaner and pack'n'play. I had to drag those heavy items out of the armoire so we could hang up some shirts. Want to put your valuables in a safe place while you head for the parks? Too bad, there was no safe in the room.
I haven't really seen anyone else comment on what you said about the armoire filled with stuff and the lack of a safe, but those factors have bothered me more than the roll-in shower when I've stayed in a HA studio a few times. The lack of a wall safe seems more like an oversight than a necessity in a HA room. Am I missing something there?

The first time I had a HA room with no safe, I called the front desk and expressed my surprise and concern about it. I thought that maybe the safe was just very well hidden and that I hadn't found it yet. Well, the very nice CM offered to send up a small portable safety box with a key lock. When I said, "But couldn't a thief just pick up the box and walk away with it?" there was this silence on the other end of the phone. Then she said, "Well, I don't think you really need to be concerned about thieves." Hmmm, really? Then why do any rooms have safes?
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Old 02-08-2013, 09:12 PM   #102
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I haven't really seen anyone else comment on what you said about the armoire filled with stuff and the lack of a safe, but those factors have bothered me more than the roll-in shower when I've stayed in a HA studio a few times. The lack of a wall safe seems more like an oversight than a necessity in a HA room. Am I missing something there?

The first time I had a HA room with no safe, I called the front desk and expressed my surprise and concern about it. I thought that maybe the safe was just very well hidden and that I hadn't found it yet. Well, the very nice CM offered to send up a small portable safety box with a key lock. When I said, "But couldn't a thief just pick up the box and walk away with it?" there was this silence on the other end of the phone. Then she said, "Well, I don't think you really need to be concerned about thieves." Hmmm, really? Then why do any rooms have safes?
Since they put the safe in the closet, no closet apparently no safe. They'd need a different type of safe maybe similar to what you find on many cruise ships.
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Old 02-09-2013, 09:59 AM   #103
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we've had a couple rooms that I'm sure wouldn't have pleased some of the picky people on this forum, but we've only had one really bad assignment.

It was a "lake view" at BLT where you could barely see the lake -- second floor inside the "C" view blocked by palms. They moved us the next day to a very nice lake view. That was the only time I ever complained about a room and it was worth the hassle to fuss.
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Old 02-09-2013, 04:21 PM   #104
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Since they put the safe in the closet, no closet apparently no safe. They'd need a different type of safe maybe similar to what you find on many cruise ships.
The studios in Jambo House do not have closets either so they put the safes in the wall near the kitchenette. They appear to be exactly the same kind of wall cavity safe as you find in the other DVC rooms though I did not measure them. They could have done the same thing in the HA studio at BWV unless the wall cavity in the room's exterior walls is not as deep as the cavity in the closet wall.

It isn't pretty to look at but I would rather have one out in the open like in the Jambo studios than to not have one at all.
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Old 02-09-2013, 05:38 PM   #105
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The studios in Jambo House do not have closets either so they put the safes in the wall near the kitchenette. They appear to be exactly the same kind of wall cavity safe as you find in the other DVC rooms though I did not measure them. They could have done the same thing in the HA studio at BWV unless the wall cavity in the room's exterior walls is not as deep as the cavity in the closet wall.

It isn't pretty to look at but I would rather have one out in the open like in the Jambo studios than to not have one at all.
That's the point, they made a decision not to put them at one time and to do so at another. Functional vs attractive seemed to be their choice. I'm sure there could have been other options that might have worked better. I think it's unrealistic to think their going to go out of their way to try to make the HC units perfect. What they'll likely do is the minimum that meets the ADA requirements and try to fit them into the basic scheme for the rest of a given resort otherwise. We can argue what they should or should not do and all the ramifications but that's what they are likely to do, the minimum they have to that's different than the rest of the construction.
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