Just back from BC/GF

Misti

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 18, 1999
Hi Guys!

Well, I just got back from a great 10 day stay in WDW. I won't bore you with details of each day but I do want to give my honest assessment of both resorts. :) I have to preface that while I have my favorites (BWV,BC,GF), I always considered the Grand Floridian as the favorite. After this trip, I think that has changed. More on that below. I do have pictures of the lounges, rooms, etc. I also took pix of the Beach Club Presidential and Natucket Suites. I'll get those up as soon as I can. :)

Weather
Travel during the winter months can be very unpredictable. I usually travel to WDW anywhere from January to March. Because Value Season ends on 2/13, I made sure my 2002 trip dates were before that point. During previous trips, I had GREAT weather--temps in mid 70's, lots of sun. This year, I had just about 8 days of clouds/temps in upper 60's. I had only one "pool" day where it was sunny ALL day. That was our last full day on Friday, February 15. The two weeks before we arrived were sunny and in the mid 80's. So, you never can tell what Mother Nature will hand you during this time.

BEACH CLUB, Concierge 5 nights

Check-in
We arrived at the resort at 11:30AM. Check-in was quick--no lines. As expected, the front desk CM (a very friendly CM, by the way) told me the room was not ready and told me to check back around 1:30PM or so. I didn't really mind--it was a beautiful sunny day and we headed right to the quiet pool. Around 2:30PM, I headed back to the front desk and was told by another CM that I'd have to come back around 3:00PM. At this point, I didn't realize that the room keys would have given us access to the 5th floor concierge lounge. So, if any of you do arrive early as we did, keep that in mind. To make a long story short, our room wasn't ready until close to 4PM. Not a big deal to me and when we got into our room, we couldn't have been more pleased. It was a king bed room with a large balcony overlooking Stormalong Bay and the Yacht Club resort. The CM said that some people either love or hate the view. It does overllok part of the BC roof but I didn't mind at all. The larger balcony and great pool view makes up for that.

Lounge
The lounge itself is rather small. There is one sofa, a large 32 inch TV with Disney movies and about 5 little cocktail size tables. There is a coffee/tea station and another one for the food. There is breakfast, mid-day, evening and dessert service. Throughout the day, they have dishes of Hershey's kisses, taffy and Jolly Rancher candies. It is very kid friendly(always a good slection of "kid" foods) and laid back. Take out trays are provided if you'd prefer to enjoy your lounge treats in your room. I think that is a real plus. That is one reason the GF Royal Palm Concierge was not as great, IMHO. More on that later. :)

One thing that surprised me here was the lack of consideration by some of the guests. I know that children will drop cheerios, etc on the floor. After all--they are kids ;). But, I saw kids actually dropping entire bowls of cereal and the parents doing nothing. I also saw kids jumping and walking on the sofa with their shoes. Parents just stood by and didn't do a thing. Most people also left their dishes, etc on the tables even though there was a clearly marked area for you to dipose of your plates/glasses etc. Subsequently, whenever a new guest came into the lounge, they had to bus someone else's table when they sat down. The BC Concierge is quick and efficient but they can't possibly keep up with cleaning non-stop and keeping the lounge food stocked at the same time. Overall, it surprised me how messy and inconsiderate so people can be.

Breakfast
Donuts (tasted like Krispy Kreme to me): chocolate iced with sprinkles, chocolate cake, glazed. Cream Cheese filled pastry puffs, apple filled pastry in phillo dough, assorted breads and bagels, cereals in the little plastic to go containers, fresh fruit, juices, milk, coffee, tea, perrier, water and soft drinks by request.

Mid-Day
Fresh Veggies and dip, PB&J's and gummy worms, fresh fruit, pretzels, white cheddar popcorn, mixed nuts, fruit roll ups, pudding packs, raisin packs, salsa and tortilla chips, beverages

Evening
Assorted appetizers varied each day. May include: chicken quesadilla, won-tons, egg rolls, tortilla wraps, spinach dip, crackers and cheese, PB&J's, beverages. Cordials include Amaretto, Grand Marnier, Kahlua, Bailey's Irish Creme. Wine selection

Dessert
YUM! Menu changes but may include: cheescake, coconut cake, triple chocolate torte, mini eclair, mini key lime pie, chocolate covered strawberries, cookies, and many more finger sized mini pastries. Kids area with krispy treats, cupcakes, PB&J and gummu worms. NOTE: many of the desserts here were the same you'd find at the Cape May Cafe dessert bar. I noticed that one night after we ate there.


Service
One word--EXCELLENT! Ben and Andy were great. There were also a few other helpful female CM's whose names I can't recall. They were always smiling and acknowledged each and every guest who came off the 5th floor elevator. We actually planned our day around going to the lounge in the evening. The CM's were great to talk to and they genuinely seemed interested in how our trip was going. Special requests for DVD's were welcomed when the lounge was quiet. We spent one night watching the entire Toy Story DVD. I really felt the "Disney-spirit" at this resort. The Concierge was helpful in providing PS assistance or any other information. I would whole heartedly recommend this resort to anyone. Everything was exceptional! :)

Rooms
The room we had was in great shape. The carpet looked rather new and the linens/etc were in great shape. The tile grout in the bathroom was a little discolored but not b/c it wasn't clean--it looked more due to age. The room was immaculate. Housekeeping was wonderful. I requested a more powerful hairdryer and it came in literally less than 5 minutes. They gave us towel animals on Day two, which was a nice surprise. :) SAB was not noisy and didn't keep us from enjoying our room.

Just a note about laundry services. I was SHOCKED at how high the laundry prices are at this point. A small Tide is $1 and each wash is $2, each dry $2. Yikes! I stayed at the BWV during our last long trip so that W/D really comes in handy.

The BCV construction is close to being finished. In fact, you could see them working on room interiors in the evening. If you have a Standard room at the Beach Club, it may still be dicey though. You could still hear saws/drills, etc during the day. Many of the Standard rooms directly overlook the construction.


GRAND FLORIDIAN, Royal Palm Club Concierge 5 nights


Check-In
We moved over to the Grand Floridian for 5 nights. I have to say that this was the portion of the trip I was most anticipating. I have stayed at the the GF at least a dozen times in regular Lagoon View rooms. This was going to be a "splurge" to celebrate Valentine's Day as well as our 5 yr anniversary that is coming later this year. Check-in was quick. I went to the front desk on the main level first and she took care of everything for me in the ways of acount set-up, etc. I was given my key and we went up to the RPC on level 3. The elevator is accessed by room key. I checked in there and didn't get so much as a smile. The CM downstairs that they would be giving me information once I went upstairs. Well, they didn't give me anything. I had to ask for park brochures, etc on my own. At this point, I'm already feeling that I should have just stayed ta the Beach Club the whole time. The RPC is more than $100 more per night than the BC so that added insult to injury. :(

Lounge
The Lounge itself is beautiful and VERY spacious. Located on the 4th floor, there are two large sofas, numerous tables and a great view of the resort grounds and main lobby. There is also a 19 inch tv located near the sofas that shows Disney programming. The food, as you might imagine, is much more "upscale" than what I've found at the BC or Polynesian. That may be good or bad, depending on your tastes. I enjoy a nice meal but I also have a fondness for a PB&J once in a while. LOL So, I really enjoyed BOTH lounges for different reasons. One main thing lacking is that everything is truly designed to be enjoyed IN the lounge. There are some insulated to go cups for the coffee but that is it. Water bottles and soft drinks were not offered. There were no little trays so taking things back to yur room wasn't a good option. The cereal, etc in the morning came in large crystal bowls. It looks pretty but isn't as practical as the individual conatiners you'd get at the BC. I like to enjoy my breakfast on the balcony of my room and that wasn't really an option at the GF (unless, of course, I wanted to take three treks back and forth). Vittel water and perrier, as well as coffee and tea, is available all day. The perrier and water are in large glass containers so you can't take it with you. I will say it was very nice to enjoy the desserts, comfortable lounge and listen to the orchestra in the evening. That was a real plus about the RPC.

Grand Beginnings 6:30AM-10:30AM
Sticky buns, gourmet muffins, scones, fresh fruit and yogurt, bagels and assorted breads, cereal, juices

Daily Delights 11:30AM-2:30PM
Fresh Veggies and Dips, pate, finger sandwiches, chocolate covered almonds, cookies, pink and regular lemonade. No "kids area"

Afternoon Tea 3:00PM-4:30PM
Scones and marmalade, muffins, assorted tarts, cookies. No "kids area"

Twilight Refreshers 5:00PM-7:00PM
Marinated, grilled veggies with mustard vinagrette, assorted cheeses and crackers, finger food appetizers, prosciutto, pates. "Kid area" set up to include corn dogs or chicken fingers and mustard/ketchup

Grand Indulgences 8:00PM-10:00PM
Varied nightly. May include: cream puff pastries, mini eclairs, tarts, chocolate dipped shortbread cookies, bon bons, mini parfaits, mini cheesecakes, chocolate covered strawberries, mini white chocolate covered mousse cake, strawberry shortcake-type custard dish, chocolate cups with your choice of cordial (Grand Marnier, Amaretto, Kahlua), wine selection. "Kid area" with krispy treats, cup cakes and bon bons.

Service
Again, the GF was in the past my favorite resort. So, I'm usually the first one to chime in on how wonderful I have found the GF to be. While I found most of the CM's throughout the resort very friendly, I was less than impressed with the concierge. Our room was on the third floor so we always entered through the concierge desk area. There was never eye contact, a "hello" and rarely a smile from anyone there. I will also add that I never received an itinerary questionaire prior to my trip. Being a Travel Agent myself (and having gone to WDW over 35+ times), I don't really need the planning anyway. But, I wanted to see how the service worked for future reference and that was another reason why I chose the RPC for this trip. I happened to have the RPC email address so I ended up emailing them directly with a few PS requests since I never received anything from them. I had a few other PS requests during my stay. They assisted me but it was very "matter of fact" and not particularly friendly. It could be that since this is a more "formal" resort that the are trained to not be overly outgoing with the guests. But, I really missed the friendly faces from the Beach Club. In fact, I was going to try and switch back over to the BC but they were full.

Rooms
The rooms were "new", after all the last rehab ended as late as 2001. So, the linens were fresh, carpeting new, bath/vanity all in tip top shape. The room itself was clean but attention to detail was lacking. When I pulled the comforter up the first night (we skipped turn-down the first night), I found a candy wrapper, a pony tail holder with hair and a small key chain animal in between the bed and the night stand. So, cleaning was done but some areas were clearly overlooked. On the cormer of the chair, I found mickey sprinkles that are on the kids cup cakes. Behind the balcony drape, I found a potato chip. On the bed skirt, there was a coffee stain from a spill at some point. So, the room OVERALL appeared clean but I was intentionally scrutinizing each detail so that I could give an honest review. We had a full balcony overlooking the marina and the castle--great view but not very private. Anyone walking by the marina can look right up at you. For a more private balcony, I'd be more inclined to stick with a regular lagoon view room. Also, there are hoards of seagulls flocking near Gasparilla from the years of guests feeding them. So, there was always a squaking seagull on our balcony and the wastes you might imagine from the birds. This is certaibly not Disney's fault but it is a detail I thought I would mention if you end up with a room near Gasparilla. We also had a connecting room with the door locked off. It was very NOISY! I could literally hear every word from the other guests, as well as the TV. Not what I expected from a room in the main building but I guess all the connecting rooms are that way. So, if you'd like a quiet room, I recommend staying away from one of these rooms. The mother in the other room was constantly screaming at her kids and we were lucky enough to hear every word, even at 11PM at night. :( There are two elevators for access. If you are going to the pool, they have a private elevator that is near Gasparilla Grill. That way, you don't have to walk through the main lobby in your suit. :)

OVERALL IMPRESSIONS
Save your money and skip the RPC. It is well over $100 more per night than other rooms and I'm not convinced it is worth it. I can see where VIP's or other guests wanting privacy may like this. It is indeed separate from every other building and you have three floors at your private access. But, I can't see spending the extra money. I love the convenience of having snacks/drinks available (especially that AM coffee!) so overall I think concierge can be worth it. I'm just not sold on the RPC. And, I really missed walking around the resort grounds when I stay in the Lodge buildings. If you are family, like a laid back atmosphere and want concierge, I'd go with either the YC/BC or Poly concierge. Again, this is just by opinion. So, I certainly don't want to keep anyone from trying the GF RPC. I just wanted to give my most honest assessment, despite my initial natural bias leaning towards the GF.

One last note, I noticed LOTS of convention and special event groups. On two nights, the MK must have been rented out b/c there were private fireworks shown at around midnight. It was VERY loud and I feel badly for the families staying at the GF. It woke ME up and I'm a pretty heavy sleeper. Another night, at the BC, there was a private convention party at Ariel's. the DJ was so LOUD that the windows practically shook on our BC room. Fortunately, it didn't last after 9PM. But, I have noticed that groups are catered to at Disney. It almost feels like the regular guests come in "second" if you know what I mean.

I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have! Sorry if this was too long!


:)
 
Do your wrists hurt from typing out that long detailed report? LOL.
What a wonderful description of both resorts; you didn't leave out a thing! I'd love to try the BC/YC, but unfortunately the peak week we are going rack rate standard room is $480!!! Someday....

I didn't want to bother you while you were down there "live", but now I'll ask, how was Cape May clambake?? Glad you had such a nice trip; sorry the weather wasn't a little better for you, but it sounds like you had a good time. Thanks again for the stellar report.
----------
Joanne
 
I'm glad you liked the review, Joanne! I undeerstand completely about Peak rates. We used to go every year in mid-March but the rates just got too high for us. The weather is definately better, or more consistent i should say, later in the season.

Funny you should ask about Cape May Cafe. This has always been a favorite "must-do" each trip and this time it wasn't so great. My DH and gave it a 2.5 out of 5 stars. The first issue was the stocking of the buffet. There was a span of about 15 minutes where there were no clams whatsoever. During a buffet meal, that is alot of time. The corn bread (which I always look forward to) was stale, as were the other bread selections. They usually have a wonderful pre prepared caeser salad that has now been eliminated. Now, they just have iceburg lettuce with a variety of dressings, caeser included. There were also fewer dessert selections. And, it wasn't stocked very quickly. I don't expect a gourmet meal when I go to Cape May Cafe but this time it was mediocre at best. I'm taking my mother on a trip in April and she really like the CMC. So, she'll want to go there once. I'll have to wait and see if maybe I just went on an "off" night.
 
Great trip report! Thank you so much for sharing!
 
Thanks for giving such a detailed review. I always thought we'd want to try RPC some day, but the reviews haven't been too good lately.
 
I would love to be able to stay at the BC......maybe someday.......the cm's sound like they are outstanding......thanks for telling us........Krispy Kreme......I should of had one when I was at Dolphin in September......I needed coffee and forgot about those donuts......next time maybe........
 
Since I've never stayed at the BC I really found your report to be informative and entertaining. THanks! I have stayed at GF, but not at the Conceirge level...not that I thought I ever would, be I appreciate your honest evaluation of it!

Great report!
 
Thanks for the great trip report, we revel in the details, glad you had a good time.

Looking forward to the update on Cape May Buffet, always one of our fav's too, hope it hasn't gone down hill permanantly.

thanks for posting,
kay
 
















GET A DISNEY VACATION QUOTE


Our Dreams Unlimited Travel Agents will assist you in booking the perfect Disney getaway, all at no extra cost to you. Get the most out of your vacation by letting us assist you with dining and park reservations, provide expert advice, answer any questions, and continuously search for discounts to ensure you get the best deal possible.

CLICK HERE




facebook twitter
Top