Why I Gave Up on Walt Disney World

tony67

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 22, 2003
I agree with much of what the author said..
It is very similar to my experiences over the years - but I gave up a few years before they did
I have said Disney runs theirs hotels as a place to store guests and not as hotels.
I spend a lot of times at hotels - I have top tear status at several including lifetime at Marriott - so I know how hotels react to issues - they happen all the time.
At Disney their response to issues is always poor - even at the GF and even back in "the good old days" - even getting to speak to a manager about an issue is difficult at best. you make a request and it can be hours before they get back to you.
Just one example - I stayed at the GF with a cruise package. I came back to my room the day before I was meant to check out and they had people packing my bags and putting them in the hallway because they had me marked as checking out that day. Beyond unbelievable. It took a bit of time to clear it up and no manager was available. Several hours later I was able to speak to a manager and he really did not care. They did absolutely nothing for me. I think we got a plate of cookies. I wrote to Disney afterwards and they also ignored me and responded with a canned response. They dont care.

In contrast at the Swan, also on property but run by Starwood, I had a robe in the room that had a brown stain on it (you get what I am saying I'm sure) - the manager was in my room in 5 minutes and could not apologize enough. He credited me back 50% of the 5 night stay, upgraded me to a a suite, sent me a bottle of wine and desserts. No attitude, no hesitation - a professional hotel manager.

Similarly Universal Hotels are run by an actual hotel chain and not Universal - so they treat the guests as customers and not cattle.
My last stay at Aventura - which is a business class hotel IMO and only costs 135 a night - I had an issue with the superstar shuttle - this has nothing to do with the hotel - but it made me late enough that my room was given away and I had to stay in a different room for one night and then move.
Defeats the whole purpose of arriving at 1AM the day before so you can just get up and go. The manger understood and credited me for the night - no question at all - even though the issues was Universal and not the hotel.

The lack of customer service at Disney hotels just boggles my mind - and the lack of caring.
I've stayed at all the deluxes and on club level and I have never been impressed.

Only last example - I had a castle view club level room at the Contemporary.
In the lounge most of the glasses had lipstick stains on them for some reason.
I pointed this out and was looked at liek I was crazy and I was basically ignored.
I went to the glasses and picked through hem to get a clean one - placing the one s with lipstick on the tray of dirty ones.
They looked at me like I was the issue. The glasses came back and still had stains.
At the price they charge per night for that is unacceptable - and speaking to a manger was a total joke.

So now I only go to Universal - and I am a lot happier.
I dont have to book rides in advance or meals 6 months in advance.
I dont have to accept the poor service.
I dont have to accept very average standardized overpriced food because of the DDP.
 

Jrb1979

Earning My Ears
Joined
Dec 2, 2018
This is obviously getting off target a bit here but the difference I see is that you almost have to pay for EP or stay on property to be productive at Universal where at Disney you can stay off property and there are just more ways to do it "on the cheap" (which is what we almost always do - the one time we did Universal it was much more $ per day than our average Disney stays).
That's not true at all. I have been to Universal a few times and never needed EP.
 

TheMaxRebo

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 12, 2008
That's not true at all. I have been to Universal a few times and never needed EP.
Well, when we went we felt it was necessary and all the advice we got before we went said the same. Maybe just experience level as we know how WDW "works" and can maximize things there vs Universal bring more of an unknown

Probably same reason we found our trip to Disneyland way more stressful than visiting WDW
 
  • PiratesMansion

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 14, 2013
    This is obviously getting off target a bit here but the difference I see is that you almost have to pay for EP or stay on property to be productive at Universal where at Disney you can stay off property and there are just more ways to do it "on the cheap" (which is what we almost always do - the one time we did Universal it was much more $ per day than our average Disney stays).
    I would disagree with this as well. On my last visit, I followed the Unofficial Guide's two day plan and it was shockingly easy to get everything done. I kept expecting there to be some kind of complication come up, but there wasn't one.

    I admit I don't always pay great attention to what I spend on trips, but what I noticed was that Universal had a surplus of good Table Service options (primarily in City Walk, mind, but certainly accessible) that weren't at all difficult to be seated in day-of, and prices weren't anywhere near as outrageous as many of Disney's offerings. Perhaps the per day cost was higher just because Universal requires less days to do completely?

    I have never stayed on property at Universal, though I would love to splurge for one of the Express Pass hotels someday!

    Well, when we went we felt it was necessary and all the advice we got before we went said the same. Maybe just experience level as we know how WDW "works" and can maximize things there vs Universal bring more of an unknown

    Probably same reason we found our trip to Disneyland way more stressful than visiting WDW
    I feel like many (most?) people would find Disneyland less stressful. You can still pretty much show up, go with the flow, and get everything done that you want to do. The park operations aren't optimized to all heck and the park largely still functions as designed. By contrast, if you don't know the current system at WDW, you have virtually no shot of doing everything you want to do.

    If you really know and understand the system, and/or prefer intense planning, I can see why WDW would be preferable for you. But having now been to every Disney resort in the world, I find Walt Disney World to be by far the MOST stressful Disney destination because of the needless complexities that exist there that just don't at the other resorts. Even when I felt like I was well informed, it felt as if the resort was working against me. I've never felt that at Disneyland or at any other park I've been to. For that reason, it'll take a lot to get me back to WDW. I'd rather fly halfway across the country, or halfway across the world, for my Disney fix, instead of to the resort geographically closest to me. That's how much I feel they've botched the overall experience.
     

    TheMaxRebo

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 12, 2008
    I would disagree with this as well. On my last visit, I followed the Unofficial Guide's two day plan and it was shockingly easy to get everything done. I kept expecting there to be some kind of complication come up, but there wasn't one.

    I admit I don't always pay great attention to what I spend on trips, but what I noticed was that Universal had a surplus of good Table Service options (primarily in City Walk, mind, but certainly accessible) that weren't at all difficult to be seated in day-of, and prices weren't anywhere near as outrageous as many of Disney's offerings. Perhaps the per day cost was higher just because Universal requires less days to do completely?

    I have never stayed on property at Universal, though I would love to splurge for one of the Express Pass hotels someday!



    I feel like many (most?) people would find Disneyland less stressful. You can still pretty much show up, go with the flow, and get everything done that you want to do. The park operations aren't optimized to all heck and the park largely still functions as designed. By contrast, if you don't know the current system at WDW, you have virtually no shot of doing everything you want to do.

    If you really know and understand the system, and/or prefer intense planning, I can see why WDW would be preferable for you. But having now been to every Disney resort in the world, I find Walt Disney World to be by far the MOST stressful Disney destination because of the needless complexities that exist there that just don't at the other resorts. Even when I felt like I was well informed, it felt as if the resort was working against me. I've never felt that at Disneyland or at any other park I've been to. For that reason, it'll take a lot to get me back to WDW. I'd rather fly halfway across the country, or halfway across the world, for my Disney fix, instead of to the resort geographically closest to me. That's how much I feel they've botched the overall experience.
    Guess everyone is different but Disneyland was by far the most stressful us and found it very challenging just to maneuver with a family and took forever just to get from point A to point B and cycling through rides took forever and hated the FP system there as never knew what time we would pull a FP for (this was before maxpass)

    I found Hong Kong Disneyland to be the easiest then WDW for us (haven't been to the others yet). Just feel like soooo much to do at WDW and always somewhere to just find a spot to settle down or see a show or people watch.

    Sorry for take my thread on a tangent
     

    PiratesMansion

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 14, 2013
    Guess everyone is different but Disneyland was by far the most stressful us and found it very challenging just to maneuver with a family and took forever just to get from point A to point B and cycling through rides took forever and hated the FP system there as never knew what time we would pull a FP for (this was before maxpass)

    I found Hong Kong Disneyland to be the easiest then WDW for us (haven't been to the others yet). Just feel like soooo much to do at WDW and always somewhere to just find a spot to settle down or see a show or people watch.

    Sorry for take my thread on a tangent
    I do agree that Hong Kong is by far the easiest. I can see how moving through the tiny walkways of Disneyland and trying to make sense of a new park with a family could be stressful. I'm usually travelling solo. I do think that MaxPass and the hindsight of experience would help you to have a better second visit, should you decide to return.

    But to bring it back, I agree with virtually everything in the article. There has been a pronounced decline in most areas, and I feel like a lot of those problems are unique to Walt Disney World. While I don't love everything going on at the other Disney parks, I can't say I've noticed the level of decline that I have in Florida.

    I find it hard to believe that some people don't see any truth in what this writer is saying. Perhaps they have mastered the system, or perhaps Walt Disney World is so important to them that they simply can't see what the writer is saying. One thing that is clear to me, however, is that the issues of Walt Disney World will never be solved as long as so many people defend them and claim that *any* criticism about the resort is without merit.

    You can criticize something and still be a fan. Just because you are a fan does not mean that you cannot acknowledge blind spots and weaknesses. No business is ever perfect, including Disney.

    For those who are feeling similarly to this author, I'd encourage you not to write off Disney parks and experiences solely based on your most recent WDW trips. Visit Disneyland or one of the international parks, try an ABD, take a cruise, try something new. While I have no experience with ABD or the cruise line, I find that a lot of issues I have with WDW don't carry over to the other parks. You might try something else and find it's not be your cup of tea after all, but you won't really know until you give it a shot. And you never know, it might be just as good of a fit, or a better one, for your needs.

    If you still love Walt Disney World and think this author is full of nonsense, that is your right. I hope you continue to have many wonderful trips. But don't automatically assume that any criticism is without basis, is a personal attack. Not everyone consumes Disney or has the same needs from Disney as you do, and that's ok. There's not just one correct interpretation of this article.
     

    Brancaneve

    That means Snow White in another language.
    Joined
    Dec 7, 2006
    Okay I am startled a few of you are coming down so hard on him. Let’s have a lively debate on the points if you want, but a few posts seemed too harsh.


    The fresh vomit in their Pop room sounds insane. Vomit, ugh. Not only is it generally gross, but it can carry sickness. And ZERO compensation, apologies and bad customer service to boot for a vomit room. Pete’s family gets a free night, dinner comped, apologies and a bellhop to pack and move their stuff over a maintenance issue. What?! I find it unnerving, you are at complete mercy of whoever is on duty.
    All the issues mentioned - price increases, the nutty need to plan things out 6 months in advance all certainly resonate with me.

    I really don’t think he is acting entitled at all. He mentioned many of the things they said on the show last week “15 Things that need fixing”. The team says it everyone cheers them on like heroes in battle, an unknown person says it and he is treated like (and called) a whiner.
    I also agree that people are being a bit too harsh. There is no need to call the author a "whiner". Although we may not all agree with his viewpoints, I think many of us can say that we have experienced a small version, or a lesser degree of what he mentions in the article or perhaps even worse. However, sharing our voice will hopefully usher a change if the tides turn away from WDW.
     
  • Farro

    What the heck am I always smiling about?
    Joined
    Jun 19, 2016
    I know this thread has gone to sleep, but I'm just going to pick up where I left off :rotfl: ....

    To the point of needing to make ADRS:
    I was checking to see what would be available tonight to compare a relatively crowded day vs when we go in early May. See what my chances would be for same day reservations.

    First I checked for 2 people between 8 and 9 for dinner. Almost everything was available except for restaurants you can't make same day ADRs. And of course BOG and a few others.

    So then for fun I checked for 4 people for 7:30 - even more available! Storybook dining, Chef Mickey, Cinderella's Castle and tons of others. I was actually kind of shocked.

    You can certainly get by w/out making ADRs 180 days in advance. :)
     

    PiratesMansion

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 14, 2013
    I know this thread has gone to sleep, but I'm just going to pick up where I left off :rotfl: ....

    To the point of needing to make ADRS:
    I was checking to see what would be available tonight to compare a relatively crowded day vs when we go in early May. See what my chances would be for same day reservations.

    First I checked for 2 people between 8 and 9 for dinner. Almost everything was available except for restaurants you can't make same day ADRs. And of course BOG and a few others.

    So then for fun I checked for 4 people for 7:30 - even more available! Storybook dining, Chef Mickey, Cinderella's Castle and tons of others. I was actually kind of shocked.

    You can certainly get by w/out making ADRs 180 days in advance. :)
    I, too, have had luck booking most everything I wanted on minimal notice. 180 days out remains nuts, however.

    But honestly, ADRs wouldn't even make my Top 10 list of Things that need to change at WDW. The importance of ADRs 180 days out in today's WDW is overblown. Trouble is, there are MANY other points in the article (or points that aren't mentioned) that aren't overblown in slightest.
     

    parasail_of_congress

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Aug 22, 2019
    Edit - just going to remove my comment regarding the article's author discussing FastPasses at a 90-day window. It was pointed out to me below that some Club Level guests have this option.
     
    Last edited:

    JaxDad

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 23, 2014
    Do you believe that the author didn't embellish the article at all? He also claims that you can get a FastPass three months out. There are enough inaccuracies and inconsistencies with the article that I believe not all of it is true.
    I believe FastPasses are available at 90 days for some resorts to guests staying at Club Level.
     
  • ZuuL

    Keep Moving Forward
    Joined
    Oct 9, 2014
    I actually find it actually funny that people think booking a disney trip is stressful. It's simple and basically straightforward.

    And the whole universal is better than disney at this point is a joke. They both have problems with them.
    Including when people say that universal hotels are better when the one we stayed in had leaking windows and the staff couldn't care less.
     

    SorcererHeidi

    Sorcerer please cast forever love spell for me
    Joined
    Jul 16, 2007
    I actually find it actually funny that people think booking a disney trip is stressful. It's simple and basically straightforward.

    And the whole universal is better than disney at this point is a joke. They both have problems with them.
    Including when people say that universal hotels are better when the one we stayed in had leaking windows and the staff couldn't care less.
    @ZuuL - As I've never done a Universal stay, but am curious - would you care to say which hotel this was?
     

    RamblingMad

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 29, 2019
    If you research and know what you're getting into. Those that don't certainly can and likely will have stressful moments.
    What I like about Universal is that I can book last minute and have a good experience. What I hate about WDW is that I can’t. But I can go last minute to DL and still have a great experience.

    WDW is for folks that want to plan everything out in advanced. I read here that folks were booking breakfast to BOG to get on mine train early. I don’t want to have to game the system to ride a ride. I find this too stressful for what I’m paying.
     

    rteetz

    Rumors and News Moderator
    Moderator
    Joined
    Feb 20, 2013
    WDW is for folks that want to plan everything out in advanced. I read here that folks were booking breakfast to BOG to get on mine train early. I don’t want to have to game the system to ride a ride. I find this too stressful for what I’m paying.
    You don't have to game the system. I have never done that. If you want to wait you can do that or you can rope drop or you can get a FP. There are several options.
     

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