Concierge - Why the variations in quality?


Earning My Ears
Jun 7, 2002
Boy, the boards seem to be teeming lately with complaints about poor concierge service around Disney, especially at the GF. On the other hand, some can't say enough good things about the concierge service at other resorts.

Does anyone have any ideas why the Grand Floridian, the flagship resort at Disney World, is having so many problems on their concierge level? Isn't this resort supposed to be the benchmark?

Aren't all the "property" hotels ultimately responsible to the same person, or is each a complete stand alone entity? Consistency in customer service used to be a Disney strong point. Corporations used to study the Disney way of doing business. Why does it now appear that their customer focus is slipping?
I agree, the boards have been piling up with poor concierge comments essp. at the GF. I wish something would be done and fast!!! We are leaving in 12 days and don't want the same experiences. Disney is pure magic, that's why we all keep going back. It's the one guaranteed place, (starting to doubt this, though) that everyone is friendly, warm and happy. You can't wait to wake up early and you hate to go to sleep, eventhough your'e exhausted!!!!!! I hope things improve and soon!
I have stayed at several different resorts and tend to get chatty with the castmembers. My understanding is that Each Resort is run the way that "That" manager feels it should be run. Yes, they have to account to a bigger Resort Manager; but if the complaints never make it to them how do they know there is a problem. Let's face it, it's impossible to get in touch with anyone with authority. It's always an assistant, a secretary or someone to try and handle the "Situation" without going any further. Then you have the 2% of people who might figure out who to write to and get there complaint heard. At that point, spread the 2% across the board over ALL the resorts and the actual "Complaint" or "Problem" precentage is VERY SMALL. So they look at it as it was both the castmember and the guests fault and write it off. There is such a small percentage of managers that Actually care. I am glad to say that I have talked to a few without there having to be a problem. Many companies do look at Disney for tips on how to do things, but with MONEY being a big issue right now for Disney it seems that they need to "GET BACK TO BASICS" and go back to doing what brought us there in the first place. One bad experience will turn a first timer from coming back. Vetrans tend to overlook and give another chance. I have a friend that had a bad experience on there first trip and they could care less if they ever went back again. If they did they swear that they will stay offsite, but it will be 5-10 YEARS before they would even think about going. :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( How sad. I can't stay away that long. I wish someone would wake up the castmembers and managers and tell them that there are a ton of people, myself included that would absolutely LOVE to work for DISNEY. They should be glad that they have a job that so many would like. You would think that doing a little something and having all those people happy everytime you see them would beat not doing anything and have them look at you and treat you bad. Go figure.
Just my 2 cents....................
I?m beginning to wonder whether we?re too easily pleased. We just returned from a six-and-a-half-day stay at the Grand Floridian Resort (Sugar Loaf Concierge level), where we had a truly marvelous experience. The concierge staff treated us with the utmost respect and concern, and I know that our stay would have been a much less enjoyable one had we not been able to avail ourselves of their services.
First of all, the staff assisted me in dealing with several health problems that might have turned my Disney stay into a less-than-delightful experience. I am an insulin-dependent diabetic, and my medication would not have held up well during long, 90-plus degree days in the parks; therefore, I carried my insulin pen in a fanny pack equipped with an ice pack. When I discovered that the room refrigerators at the Grand Floridian are not equipped with freezer compartments, I asked the concierge staff if they could freeze the ice packs for me. At first they seemed nonplussed by the request, but within a half hour I heard a knock at the door, and there stood a smiling cast member with a small refrigerator complete with freezer compartment. Problem solved.
Secondly, I recently had foot surgery that compelled me to navigate the parks in a cumbersome knee-high cast boot that makes moving about a considerable challenge. The Sugar Loaf concierge staff put us in a room just inside the main entrance on the ground floor, with immediate access to the lobby, to make my getting around as easy as possible.
Thirdly, as a diabetic, I am on a fairly strict diet that not only restricts my food choices but also requires that I eat at certain times. When one of the wait staff learned of my problem, he made certain that there were always foods available in the lobby that I could eat and went out of his way to tell me how items were prepared so that I could make informed choices, even though I had not asked him. In addition to his concern about my dietary needs, this waiter never failed to inquire how I was managing and to offer whatever services he could. Having the food available throughout the course of the day in the lobby made my stay much more convenient and enjoyable. Particularly on the hotter days we made a point of returning to the hotel after a morning in the parks for a respite in the invitingly cool recesses of the lobby and a selection of foods that included items more nutritious than typical park fare?fresh fruits and vegetables, cheeses, small sandwiches, unsweetened ice tea, Perrier, bottled water, etc. More often than not, we ate our breakfasts and often our lunches right there, although my nineteen-year-old son usually found it necessary to supplement the lunchtime offerings with a sandwich from the Gasparilla Grill. Usually there was plenty of food available, although the selection sometimes became a bit sparse when the staff was in the midst of changing from one spread to another. So far as I could discern, there are four different spreads throughout the course of the day: a substantial ?continental? breakfast from 6:30 to approximately 11:00 a.m.; a luncheon spread from about noon to 3:00 p.m.; an afternoon tea from about 3:00 to 5:00; and pre-dinner hors d?oeuvres from about 5:00 p.m. on. Drinks (both hot and cold) are available throughout most of the day until 10:00 p.m., and such items as cookies and brownies are usually offered throughout the course of the evening.
Below I list some of the items available on the Sugar Loaf Concierge tables throughout the day. This list is by no means inclusive, and, with the exception of breakfast, the selection varies from day to day.

Fresh fruit: honeydew, watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple, grapefruit, oranges, grapes, pears
Yogurt: strawberry, blueberry, plain
Cold cereal: Frosted Flakes, Cheerios, cornflakes, Froot Loops, Rice Krispies, etc.
Assorted bagels and breads (toasters available)
Assorted pastries: apple danish, cheese danish, blueberry muffins, bran muffins
Jams, jellies, honey, cream cheese (regular and lite), margarine
Coffee, tea (a large selection of Twining?s tea bags), milk, orange juice, apple juice

Finger sandwiches (ham, turkey, roast beef, corned beef, all with cheese)
Cheese assortment and crackers
Crudités with dips
Cookies (chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, sugar)
Vegetable chips
Coffee, tea, lemonade (pink and regular), Perrier, bottled water, iced tea (unsweetened)

Afternoon Tea
Warm scones
Cookies (chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, sugar)
Strawberry jam tarts
Brownies (very chocolaty and extremely popular with my son!)
Fresh fruit
Chocolate and vanilla mousse
Individual sponge cakes
English trifle
Cheese assortment and crackers
Coffee, tea, lemonade (pink and regular), Perrier, bottled water, iced tea (unsweetened)

Dinner Hors D?oeuvres
Shrimp rolls in wonton wrappers
Chicken breast pinwheels stuffed with a red pepper mixture or pesto
Crudités with dip
Grilled vegetables
Pear slices with basil
Honeydew with prosciutto
Mussels (I can?t tell you how these were prepared; I?m not a mussels aficionado)
Fresh fruit
Cheese assortment with crackers
Coffee, tea, lemonade (pink and regular), Perrier, bottled water, iced tea (unsweetened)

Lest you think that all my family does is eat, let me stray from the food for a moment (although not too far, considering that I?m about to discuss restaurant reservations!). The other main service that the concierge provided for us was making reservations. It seems that the concierge has the ability to get guests into events and restaurants that might be unavailable from the outside. For example, for several years we have been longing to try the Chef?s Table at the Grand Floridian?s Victoria and Albert?s restaurant. When we called for reservations from home, we learned that this much coveted booking must be made six months in advance, and we settled on a reservation in the main dining room (?Settled? is really the wrong word; one does not have to ?settle? on anything when dining at V & A?s! It?s our favorite restaurant, bar none, and I think we say that with some authority in that we?ve dined in a number of the most prestigious establishments in the country.) When we mentioned our disappointment in missing out on the Chef?s Table to the concierge, she went to work and told us that the reservation would be ours if a cancellation occurred. Sure enough, two days later we learned that we were booked for the next evening. Even though by that time we had already enjoyed a meal at V & A?s, we couldn?t resist the opportunity, and we had the dining experience of our lives from our front-row seats on a crowded but very efficient group of nine first-class chefs, all working feverishly on an extremely busy night. I?ll have to write another posting about V & A?s to do justice to that memorable evening. During the course of our stay, the concierge also made reservations for us at the California Grill, Chefs de France, Ackershus, Marrakesh, the Grand Floridian Café, and 1900 Park Fare (although we don?t recommend the last of these unless you have little ones of seven or eight years old and a high tolerance for noise!).
Of course, the concierge also performed the usual duties of checking us in and out, going over our bill and correcting a minor discrepancy, answering questions, providing us with maps and advice, etc. Throughout all these routine duties, the staff always treated us as though we were their number one concern, and we have no complaints whatsoever. It?s true that we didn?t request towel animals or chocolate-covered strawberries (maybe these aren?t offered at all at the lower level of concierge service), but all our other needs were met with promptness, alacrity, and enthusiasm.
So, for our part, vive le concierge!

I have to agree that it is probably a management issue, and managers at different resorts may let things go. I have heard generally great reports about the general GF staff, and now Jacqui raves about the Sugar Loaf concierge staff, so it seems that the problem is mainly confined to the RPC staff, and basically, whoever supervises them is not dealing with the problem.
I'm glad you had a good experience in Sugar Loaf. We had great service from CM's at the GF that did not work in the RPC, so it might not be wide spread. We've also had wonderful service at AKL, WL and CR.

The lack of response today, one week later, still shows the poor service. Several calls to Ms Sussan have been unreturned. I did find out who she reports to and that person has not called back either.
Don't know why there is a difference. A good bet its due to the resort manager's methods.

BUT why do concierge guests at the BWI have to wait in line in the lobby to check in? That is the one and only negative we had with the BWI concierge.

All 3 times that we checked in Concierge we checked in at the Front Lobby. We never got "Special check-in". We have Stayed at GF, Poly & YC. I have no complaints about checking in at the front desk, but; there was never a "personal" check-in.

Our trips to the GF must have been pretty close together. We were at the RPC from 7/27-8/3 and had an incredibly magical vacation also. I did notice some cut backs from our previous stays, such as no children's bathrobes and turn down service on the first night used to include chocolate covered strawberries. That was okay though, we enjoyed them each evening in the concierge lounge. I was pleasantly surprised to get a visit from mousekeeping management the day after we arrived. She wanted to make sure that we were receiving good service and if there was anything else that we required. Perhaps prior complaints are starting to be addressed.

For the past two visits, we were personally checked in by Mejay. It was wonderful to see her again and as before, she was very helpful in setting up anything that we'd forgetten to do with the pre-planners.

Welovedisney, don't give up on those phone calls. It doesn't surprise me that Ms. Sussan isn't returning them. Hope you are trying to reach Al Weiss also. He is a big cheese there.:earseek:

Wendi, your luck is terrible :( or things are changing. :(

The three times I stayed at the Poly concierge (however, last time was in 2000) they took us in a cart to the concierge building.

The YC sent us a key (in 2001) to use in the elevator to access the 5th floor. However, I have read on these boards that they don't do that anymore.:(

I have never stayed at the GF, but jacqui2 mentioned in her report in this thread that they checked in at concerige.

As I have mentioned on other posts, money talks. You need to tip the staff. That is, if you know you are running late and miss the goodies, slip the concierge $10.00 or more and remind him that you are comming late. Need PS, slip the concierge $10.00 and insist that you get the seating. If they cant deliver, they will let you know. Remember, no one has ever said that by staying on a concierge floor that you are entitled to FULL staff attention. You are paying for the opportunity. Dont get me wrong, there is no excuse for rudeness or poor service in general. Concierge really means tipping is mandatory for that above and beyond service. Sorry folks, this is how it works all over the world. Just remember, when I tip the staff and you don't, I'll bet that I get what I want first and you will be wondering. Thats just the way it is.:smooth:
We have stayed at concierge level at the WL, Poly and Boardwalk and we were always met in the lobby or taken to the Hawaii building by golf cart with the stay at the Poly. I never had to slip anyone $ for any service we recieved. We have always had very good luck with PS and any requests we made. I can tell you that if I felt mistreated I would never stay concierge again, but so far it has been fantastic. In fact I just made reservations for the Poly for July 2003, concierge level.
Originally posted by ZowmanmeetsMouse
As I have mentioned on other posts, money talks. You need to tip the staff. That is, if you know you are running late and miss the goodies, slip the concierge $10.00 or more and remind him that you are comming late. Need PS, slip the concierge $10.00 and insist that you get the seating. If they cant deliver, they will let you know. Remember, no one has ever said that by staying on a concierge floor that you are entitled to FULL staff attention. You are paying for the opportunity. Dont get me wrong, there is no excuse for rudeness or poor service in general. Concierge really means tipping is mandatory for that above and beyond service. Sorry folks, this is how it works all over the world. Just remember, when I tip the staff and you don't, I'll bet that I get what I want first and you will be wondering. Thats just the way it is.:smooth:
This is a little upsetting to me. I know I don't expect too much for my family, but I am hoping this trip is a little bit magical for us. And it will be, cause we're going to make the magic.
Originally posted by Kimkimba
This is a little upsetting to me. I know I don't expect too much for my family, but I am hoping this trip is a little bit magical for us. And it will be, cause we're going to make the magic.

I see you are staying at Polynesian concierge. We were there for 9 nights in May and didn't have any complaints. When food/wine/cordials ran out, they brought more out. They made all of our PS arrangements before we got there and gave us a printout at check-in. Bottled water and soda is left out all the time on ice.

You don't have to slip the concierge staff $$. They would not take it if you tried.
Wendy -- when you arrive at the Guard House at the resort and the guard asks for your name and I.D. - make sure you tell them you are staying in Concierge. After you drive away, the Guard phones Valet and describes your vehicle so they know you are going directly to the Concierge Floor. A valet CM will then take you up to Concierge with his key.

I think it is a combination of many things.

I think Disney has changed and I definitely think due to Internet Forums guest demands have changed. Five years ago I bet no one checked into a Disney resort and expected towel animals. I am sorry, but I really do not see the big deal about towels. Now clean towels and as many as I need I do expect as the same with blankets. As to children being disappointed. They are only disappointed by what their parents tell them.

As to the food on the concierge lounge. I think it should be available during the time period stated. If a speciality item such as tuxedo strawberries is only going to be available during the first 30 mins. the guests should be made aware of this. I also know I have read and seen guests taking more than what I consider a concierge portion. At what point does Disney control this? Do they limit the guest who makes a meal out of concierge or do they raise prices to cover the cost of serving 3 meals a day. Concierge was never intended to take the place of a regular meal. However I have seen many people post to that effect. About how much money you can save by having your meals at the lounge.

I think more and more guests are making requests that Disney just can not full fill. I also think that guests staying at Disney resorts expect more than if they were staying somewhere else. I think with 50,000 employees you are going to experience some that don't fit the standard of yesteryears at Disney.

I also think that a certain percentage of guest go to Disney with the intention of getting more than they pay for. I have seen these people brag about how they get around the rules, how they take advantage of Disney's good nature to exploit them. When a person does this, everyone else suffers. The next guest that has a legitimate reason for wanting some type of special treatment gets nothing because of the person before them that took advantage of the situation.

I think everyone should be entitled to what they actually pay for and courtesy. If you are not treated with courtesy at any point in your stay you have a legitimate complaint. If you are expecting more than you are really paying for (regardless of the amount), then you do not have a complaint. At times I think some guests actually do not have realistic expectations of what they should be entitled to with their room rate.

Just as many people will feel differently, these are just my opinions as asked for by the person posting this thread.
Sammie brings up an interesting issue. Is it possible that the availability of all of this information damages expectations? In other words, when a person posts in an internet forum that they stayed at Disney and received a birthday cake or a special gift and then another person reads this and expects the same, are expectations taken to too high a plateau? I don't think this excuses rude or unhelpful behavior on the part of a CM, but it is an interesting thought.

Here is an example. When we went on our honeymoon to Disney several years ago, the internet was not a resource for us. So all I knew to do was book a certain level room at the GF based on their literature. It wasn't until a couple of years later that I learned that the GF actually bumped us up to another level room because it was our honeymoon. They never said anything about it and I just assumed I was getting what I asked for. But my opinion of the GF, and my desire to stay there again, was significantly impacted by this knowledge. I was impressed. These days, however, many of us know the exact square footage, color, number of faucets, location of the towels, and exact view angle of the room we want before we ever arrive. Does that place an unfair burden on the resort?
WDW4US2: We did tell the guard at the Guard House, actually he commented to us first and we just confirmed by saying "Yes".
We got up to the bellman station and everything was "normal". I guess it is the luck of the draw. It's weird, but they all kept telling us we were concierge, but we did everything a non-concierge guest would.

ZowmanmeetsMouse: I can see where you are coming from, but any castmember I have offered a tip to refused and yet they got me the PS that I needed. Go figure.

Sammie: You make a lot of good points except for the fact about what Concierge is all about at Disney. Yes, we all know what to expect, so most expect that. Face it, to you the money you pay to go to disney might be no big deal. To my family it is everything. We don't go Expecting anything except polite and curtious people. When staying Concierge we would appreciate some help with little things. I found this definition of Concierge:

"A staff member of a hotel or apartment complex who assists guests or residents, as by handling the storage of luggage, taking and delivering messages, and making reservations for tours." Disney and many other hotels have now created there own style of Concierge.

Now, when you call Disney and ask about Concierge they tell you all about the fact that someone will contact you shortly before your trip, they will give you a personal itinerary, help with any priority seatings you need, help arrange a special moment, and anything you can think of they can probably do. As well as having food offerings throughout the day for your family. When people are told what to expect and NOT ONE thing happens, for the extra money you feel taken. The Original Poster had a real beef with them. I have seen them make a BIG tadoo over a little girl loosing her stuffed animal, and yet they wouldn't help arrange a special moment for her mother who just survived cancer. What's wrong with that. SOME people might expect too much I agree, but; I think that the average person would just like what they are told they will receive. It seems as if they ignored the OP's request for items and just down right treated them bad. For 4 rooms at the least $2000 a night for them, I would be a little upset to. I watched a girl at the YC Concierge deal with this guy who was a TOTAL demands and treating them like they were his personal assistant. He want NOT a Star of any type, just on vacation and they were as nice to him as the next person. She did do what he wanted but, they were upset. I had said in one of my posts that I tend to get chatty with the staff and they told me that people like him are few. The average person doesn't ask for much other than PS's. She said she has even had to go purchase underwear for a gentleman who refused to go purchase them himself. That's above the call of duty. Disney gives them a range of limits, but it all comes down to the Original Posters beef and I feel that they would have been better off in a Lagoon View Room with out conceirge and ate where they wanted to. They would have saved a Ton of money. But, that's not what they wanted and they wanted to get the pampering. I feel so sorry for them that a hand full of castmember were rude enough to not get them extra blankets, or the other simple requests. Just my 2 cents...................
Originally posted by ZowmanmeetsMouse
Concierge really means tipping is mandatory for that above and beyond service. Sorry folks, this is how it works all over the world.

Maybe that's how it is outside "The World", but inside Disney I think you'll find concierge staff refusing tips. When my DW and I stayed at WL concierge in May for our 25th anniversary, we received fantastic treatment from the concierge staff -- especially Randall. We got first-class service from the check-in through check-out. We did not "slip" the staff any money -- and I observed them refusing "tips" from other guests.
Wendi:I do not see where any of my comments would lead anyone to believe that the money I pay to go to Disney is no big deal. Not sure what lead you to think that. I too stated polite and courteous service should be expected and anything less deserves a complaint, so we agree on this.

As to the definition to concierge I agree again those are reasonable expectations.

If the staff refused to help arrange a special moment then yes that again is a legitimate complaint. However if they expected the staff to do this on their own, not sure that is the same thing as helping arrange a special moment.

If I am staying anywhere at Disney and want to make sure a family member receives something special for any type of occassion or reason I am the one doing the arranging. While staying in concierge they have assisted, but I contacted them with specifics, and they billed our room. Personally I do not think that is unreasonable.

Again everyone has their different opinions of what is to be expected. I guess my expectations are in line with what Disney is willing to deliver, as I have never been disappointed in their service.


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