Will Club Level Return?

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ford91exploder

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 30, 2009
Not necessarily. You can often book executive level rooms for an extra $15-$35 a night (it varies considerably from place to place but it never gets anywhere near Disney's club level gouge). If you have a family in one room, even $35 or $40 is a good deal for continental breakfast at a hotel.

Even for one person, it may not seem like a great deal, but if you self-book and have a per diem for meals, you basically get breakfast and drinks/snacks without having to cut into that. I figured out that trick at a prior job. It's similar to why they offer "breakfast included" or "parking included" rooms which are priced identically as if you had paid for those add-ons separately. The reason for that is the invoice just shows a room charge at the higher rate, thus it's much easier filling out expense reports because you don't have to itemize or justify the add-ons.
And if you are in a executive club level room, at Hilton or Marriott you get a light supper with beer or wine which is usually pasta and sauce or cold cuts and breads but it's not a bad deal and it does help with those expense reports because its included.
 

HeyGirlHey

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Mar 28, 2018
You apparently have been fortunate in your interactions. My last stay in a 2BR at BLT Refrigerator dead on check in, called to have it fixed as was expecting a garden grocer order. 2 hours pass no repair tech, Meanwhile garden grocer order arrives held at Bell services. I tell family to go enjoy park. Im going to wait in the lobby. 8 hours later refrigerator replaced, My dinner that day was not with my family but the emergency store of fig newtons and water i had in my pack.

Missed a dinner with extended family, The whole time attitude at the desk is ‘it aint my problem what do you expect me to do about it’. No swag, no offer of a snack or water just a snotty attitude from the desk. and I deliberately did not ask for anything.

my interactions were every half hour asking for an eta for the technician. Waiting in line until other guests got their stuff done. And i would simply say i’ve been here since 2pm whats the eta on refrigerator replacement for room xxxx wait for the snotty response and say thank you.

It was a distinctly memorable experience, i did send a nice note to the tech’s supervisor as the tech looked like he had been rode hard and put away wet when he got to the unit.

Thats why I say Disney hires anyone with a pulse. There are some left over from better days who actually do care but the new hires.....
Why would you wait around for the fridge at all? If you chose to do that instead of enjoy your vacation with family, that’s not Disney’s fault. And what did you expect the front desk to do - I’m sure after the 4th time every 30 minutes of you “just” checking on the status, they WERE annoyed and snotty - some dude who doesn’t understand a flow of labor won’t stop annoying them (probably rudely) about an issue they’ve taken care of as much as possible on their end. Why would you chose to eat fig newtons for dinner and blame Disney? Sorry, but you sound pretty entitled and like nothing will ever be truly enough to satisfy you...except Dubai luxury hotels. That’s a lot of effort to be upset.
 

ford91exploder

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 30, 2009
Why would you wait around for the fridge at all? If you chose to do that instead of enjoy your vacation with family, that’s not Disney’s fault. And what did you expect the front desk to do - I’m sure after the 4th time every 30 minutes of you “just” checking on the status, they WERE annoyed and snotty - some dude who doesn’t understand a flow of labor won’t stop annoying them (probably rudely) about an issue they’ve taken care of as much as possible on their end. Why would you chose to eat fig newtons for dinner and blame Disney? Sorry, but you sound pretty entitled and like nothing will ever be truly enough to satisfy you...except Dubai luxury hotels. That’s a lot of effort to be upset.
It's strange how a residence inn which charges 20% of Disney's room rate can accomplish an appliance replacement at 9 PM in half an hour with a PHONE CALL and Disney can't do it in 12 hours without a great deal of sturm und drang and hard feelings, Almost as if one hotel operator cares about guest satisfaction and the other one just wants your money. And the one that cares does not have DIsney signage out front. Fun fact those Dubai and Qatar luxury hotels they have a lower room rate than Disney.

Why did I stay, well because on the last dead major appliance it took them 3 days to fix it. fortunately we were there for 2 weeks.
 

RossK

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jun 29, 2014
Interesting hearing the different views of club level.

TL;DR - Club level prices are top-dollar and the level of service doesn't match the price tag. But, its Disney - so you don't have many other options - and Disney know it. So they give the level of service they can get away with. Club level is absolute cash-cow for Disney - a big price jump for very little actual difference (i.e. very little difference in operating costs for Disney, just a much bigger profit margin). Its nice having a lounge/"retreat", but you will pay a lot for that privilege and some cheap snacks/canapés. Given how profitable it is - there is no doubt it will come back; its simply a question of when. That part is impossible to say - they may wait until they can run buffet type operations again - or they may modify the service to be table service.

I think its fair to say that Disney's entire hotel experience is far-far below any competitors at a similar price point, including standard rooms, suites and club. A very simple example of this: there are very few hotels out there with a rack rate of $600+ where they don't immediately jump on your bags on arrival and whisk these away from you. At Disney, Bell services can sometimes be non-existent on arrival, and in most cases you need to go to them, and queue/wait.

But honestly, the standard of "club" level in mainstream hotels varies hugely, not only between the brands, but between locations within the same brand. However, there is usually a big difference in club lounges between hotels that provide free club access based on elite status, and hotels who only provide club access to those staying in executive rooms/suits. In many cases, hotels that provide this free access to elite members often have more basic offerings (yes, there are many exceptions to this - I know quite a few lounges provide, for example, free 24/7 champagne!). However, high-end chains that do not provide lounge access based on elite status (e.g. Mandarin Oriental) consistently have exceptional food, drinks, service and unique and special offerings, and it is much more like being in a boutique hotel within a hotel.

So, unlike many hotel chains, Disney does not provide free access to Club level based on loyalty levels. They only provide access to people paying top-dollar. So really, their offering should reflect that. I must admit, the last time I stayed Club level was 2015 at the Polynesian, so I don't have recent direct experience. I believe it has improved quite a bit - particularly the food - since then. However, the overall experience is still very poor when compared to other "pay only" club offerings in the industry. Much like everything else Disney-hotel wise.

I still remember my arrival experience at the Poly club level back in 2015. It was a 21-night club level stay (yes, I'm from the UK!). No one to take our bags - someone "escorted us" to the Hawaii building while we struggled with four suitcases. On arrival, we had to wait, as both desks were dealing with guests. When we got our magic bands, we went to our room and found someone else's clothes in the dresser. We were then given a new room (had to move our luggage ourself) - got to the new room and the magic band reader on the door didn't work, so they had to get maintenance to come out - so we had to sit in the lounge for a while until they got it fixed. I cannot think of any other hotel that charges $700/night where that would have happened.

On the flip side, one night we overindulged at Tambu lounge, so the next morning we missed all of our Fast Passes. As was usual, when we did finally leave our room and walked past the concierge desk, they would ask what we had planned for the day. We laughed and said - not much - we overslept and missed all our fast passes and we are feeling a bit delicate. To my surprise, the cast member said - don't worry about your fast passes, by the time you've had breakfast, you'll see three new ones good for any ride - just walk on to the ones you want. Sure enough, in MDE - three "green" fast passes appeared. So maybe you're more like to get a few bits of magic sprinkled in to your trip.

Would I do club level again? Well, I'm DVC now and to be honest the DVC rooms are far superior to club level rooms - at the Poly at least (although I'm sure that will change with the upcoming refurbishment). However, even without DVC, I would not stay club level again. There just isn't a huge meaningful difference. Honestly, we love the dining aspect of vacations, so the we like going out for a full meal in the evening - so the "free" snacks are not important to us. Once you take that away, what really is there? The private check-in doesn't really make any meaningful difference - other than you get a chair to sit on - but in the days of online check-in - why even bother in the first place? I'd rather take the $150+ extra per night and do some other cool things with it. But of course, if money is no object, then I guess... Why not? :D
 
Last edited:

ford91exploder

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 30, 2009
Interesting hearing the different views of club level.

TL;DR - Club level prices are top-dollar and the level of service doesn't match the price tag. But, its Disney - so you don't have many other options - and Disney know it. So they give the level of service they can get away with. Club level is absolute cash-cow for Disney - a big price jump for very little actual difference (i.e. very little difference in operating costs for Disney, just a much bigger profit margin). Its nice having a lounge/"retreat", but you will pay a lot for that privilege and some cheap snacks/canapés. Given how profitable it is - there is no doubt it will come back; its simply a question of when. That part is impossible to say - they may wait until they can run buffet type operations again - or they may modify the service to be table service.

I think its fair to say that Disney's entire hotel experience is far-far below any competitors at a similar price point, including standard rooms, suites and club. A very simple example of this: there are very few hotels out there with a rack rate of $600+ where they don't immediately jump on your bags on arrival and whisk these away from you. At Disney, Bell services can sometimes be non-existent on arrival, and in most cases you need to go to them, and queue/wait.

But honestly, the standard of "club" level in mainstream hotels varies hugely, not only between the brands, but between locations within the same brand. However, there is usually a big difference in club lounges between hotels that provide free club access based on elite status, and hotels who only provide club access to those staying in executive rooms/suits. In many cases, hotels that provide this free access to elite members often have more basic offerings (yes, there are many exceptions to this - I know quite a few lounges provide, for example, free 24/7 champagne!). However, high-end chains that do not provide lounge access based on elite status (e.g. Mandarin Oriental) consistently have exceptional food, drinks, service and unique and special offerings, and it is much more like being in a boutique hotel within a hotel.

So, unlike many hotel chains, Disney does not provide free access to Club level based on loyalty levels. They only provide access to people paying top-dollar. So really, their offering should reflect that. I must admit, the last time I stayed Club level was 2015 at the Polynesian, so I don't have recent direct experience. I believe it has improved quite a bit - particularly the food - since then. However, the overall experience is still very poor when compared to other "pay only" club offerings in the industry. Much like everything else Disney-hotel wise.

I still remember my arrival experience at the Poly club level back in 2015. It was a 21-night club level stay (yes, I'm from the UK!). No one to take our bags - someone "escorted us" to the Hawaii building while we struggled with four suitcases. On arrival, we had to wait, as both desks were dealing with guests. When we got our magic bands, we went to our room and found someone else's clothes in the dresser. We were then given a new room (had to move our luggage ourself) - got to the new room and the magic band reader on the door didn't work, so they had to get maintenance to come out - so we had to sit in the lounge for a while until they got it fixed. I cannot think of any other hotel that charges $700/night where that would have happened.

On the flip side, one night we overindulged at Tambu lounge, so the next morning we missed all of our Fast Passes. As was usual, when we did finally leave our room and walked past the concierge desk, they would ask what we had planned for the day. We laughed and said - not much - we overslept and missed all our fast passes and we are feeling a bit delicate. To my surprise, the cast member said - don't worry about your fast passes, by the time you've had breakfast, you'll see three new ones good for any ride - just walk on to the ones you want. Sure enough, in MDE - three "green" fast passes appeared. So maybe you're more like to get a few bits of magic sprinkled in to your trip.

Would I do club level again? Well, I'm DVC now and to be honest the DVC rooms are far superior to club level rooms - at the Poly at least (although I'm sure that will change with the upcoming refurbishment). However, even without DVC, I would not stay club level again. There just isn't a huge meaningful difference. Honestly, we love the dining aspect of vacations, so the we like going out for a full meal in the evening - so the "free" snacks are not important to us. Once you take that away, what really is there? The private check-in doesn't really make any meaningful difference - other than you get a chair to sit on - but in the days of online check-in - why even bother in the first place? I'd rather take the $150+ extra per night and do some other cool things with it. But of course, if money is no object, then I guess... Why not? :D
You have described WDW’s main issue right now the price/value equation which is becoming increasingly skewed to the price side of the equation. WDW has never been inexpensive but was always a good balance between price and value. Does anyone remember the ‘Gold Key’ program. Yes it doubled your room rate but after that you could do EVERYTHING on property with no upcharge and eat in all the restaurants. That program was a great value. Just as DVC was until about 2015 when ‘breakeven’ became unobtainable.

And yes I share your opinion that no other hotel operator would have ‘double booked’ your room at a 700/night hotel. Or made you sit in the lobby while they repaired the lockset. They would have simply upgraded you to the next available room class and had a spirited discussion with QA as to how that was missed. And their bell services would be on your luggage like a Marlin chasing a squid.
 

Eric Smith

Registered
Joined
Jun 1, 2017
You have described WDW’s main issue right now the price/value equation which is becoming increasingly skewed to the price side of the equation. WDW has never been inexpensive but was always a good balance between price and value. Does anyone remember the ‘Gold Key’ program. Yes it doubled your room rate but after that you could do EVERYTHING on property with no upcharge and eat in all the restaurants. That program was a great value. Just as DVC was until about 2015 when ‘breakeven’ became unobtainable.

And yes I share your opinion that no other hotel operator would have ‘double booked’ your room at a 700/night hotel. Or made you sit in the lobby while they repaired the lockset. They would have simply upgraded you to the next available room class and had a spirited discussion with QA as to how that was missed. And their bell services would be on your luggage like a Marlin chasing a squid.
The parks are full and demand is back to 2019 levels for advanced bookings. What evidence are you using for stating that the price/value equation is skewed towards price? Disney raises prices, but people keep coming.

Programs come and go from WDW all the time. Just because a program you like left doesn't mean that the place is falling apart. It's also still possible to break even on DVC. The maintenance fees are the lion's share of the cost, not the initial purchase price.
 

RossK

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jun 29, 2014
The parks are full and demand is back to 2019 levels for advanced bookings. What evidence are you using for stating that the price/value equation is skewed towards price? Disney raises prices, but people keep coming.
Surely the evidence to this is very obvious? The fact that people keep coming in no way suggests price/value isn't being skewed towards price - it absolutely is - and that's how almost all businesses operate. Unless you are a charity, you look for ways you can maximise revenue and save costs - even if this impacts guest experience. To take a very simple example: Do hotel room rates increase year-on-year above inflation? Yes. Except the only real change to the hotel service has been a reduction in the experience and amenities - i.e. they are worse value than they were previously. Ergo, a skew towards price vs value. The fact that people are still prepared to pay for more for less, does not in anyway change that argument.

Disney will carry on reducing value until such a time that it starts to negatively impact revenue/visitor numbers. You can see this in almost every business unit within Parks & Resorts for years. Look at almost anything - the hotels, F&B, entertainment. You will see a track record of cuts or a reduction in "value", along with above inflation price increases. I don't know what your 'falling apart' comment is about - I didn't see anyone suggest that, but I might have missed it.
 
  • jo-jo

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 28, 2011
    It's strange how a residence inn which charges 20% of Disney's room rate can accomplish an appliance replacement at 9 PM in half an hour with a PHONE CALL and Disney can't do it in 12 hours without a great deal of sturm und drang and hard feelings, Almost as if one hotel operator cares about guest satisfaction and the other one just wants your money. And the one that cares does not have DIsney signage out front. Fun fact those Dubai and Qatar luxury hotels they have a lower room rate than Disney.

    Why did I stay, well because on the last dead major appliance it took them 3 days to fix it. fortunately we were there for 2 weeks.
    Just curious what was the appliance that took three days?
     

    ford91exploder

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 30, 2009
    Just curious what was the appliance that took three days?
    The most important one the refrigerator, The place where you keep the ice cream, water lemonade and beer and cold snacks.

    The washer/dryer would have been inconvenient but DVC does have a shared laundry so it would not have been the end of the world. But one reason for staying in a 1/2 BR is to have some of the amenities of home available and cold drinks without a hike to the soda machine is one of them.
     

    jo-jo

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 28, 2011
    The most important one the refrigerator, The place where you keep the ice cream, water lemonade and beer and cold snacks.

    The washer/dryer would have been inconvenient but DVC does have a shared laundry so it would not have been the end of the world. But one reason for staying in a 1/2 BR is to have some of the amenities of home available and cold drinks without a hike to the soda machine is one of them.
    So you had fridge problems on two different trips? Yikes ! Same resort?
     

    ford91exploder

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 30, 2009
    Surely the evidence to this is very obvious? The fact that people keep coming in no way suggests price/value isn't being skewed towards price - it absolutely is - and that's how almost all businesses operate. Unless you are a charity, you look for ways you can maximise revenue and save costs - even if this impacts guest experience. To take a very simple example: Do hotel room rates increase year-on-year above inflation? Yes. Except the only real change to the hotel service has been a reduction in the experience and amenities - i.e. they are worse value than they were previously. Ergo, a skew towards price vs value. The fact that people are still prepared to pay for more for less, does not in anyway change that argument.

    Disney will carry on reducing value until such a time that it starts to negatively impact revenue/visitor numbers. You can see this in almost every business unit within Parks & Resorts for years. Look at almost anything - the hotels, F&B, entertainment. You will see a track record of cuts or a reduction in "value", along with above inflation price increases. I don't know what your 'falling apart' comment is about - I didn't see anyone suggest that, but I might have missed it.
    [/QUOTEto

    Here is the problem, Yes all businesses strive to reduce costs, through improved processes but if you are in a 'high touch' business customer service IS your business it may be even more important than the product you sell and you chip away at it at the risk of the business as a whole.

    In the networking field Cisco was long the king, their equipment was ok neither the best nor worst in all their lines yes some of it was world beating but the majority of it was just solid kit that did what the spec sheet said it would do and it did it 24x7.

    Cisco's support was on the other hand the world's best, However the finance guys scrapped much of the support organization and sales took a huge hit as smaller players using Cisco's own playbook beat them at the support game, Now Cisco is rebuilding their reputation and support organization to fend off the previously ignored competitors.

    Disney is now in the slashing of support stage. It's gonna get painful when they get to the second stage. Meanwhile the sharks circle as the blue ocean slowly turns red Comcast, Merlin, Herschend and others who are just waiting for the right moment to make the move for Disney customers.
     
  • ford91exploder

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 30, 2009
    So you had fridge problems on two different trips? Yikes ! Same resort?
    No, But to be fair the refrigerators do take a beating, But Disney needs to stock sufficient in-building spares because in both cases they had to truck one from their central stores. Yes it's cheaper to it that way but for guest satisfaction it's a non starter. Because with central stores you need to get it out of stock get it on a truck,Find a driver for said truck who is still legal on driving time, Then someone at resort needs to check it in and then a technician to bring to room and replace it.

    And under the best of circumstances that's gonna take hours. because of all the moving parts Had Disney had customer satisfaction as a key value there would have been one in storage and the technician simply would have needed to grab a hand truck and bring it to the room and replace it and order a new one from central stores to replace the one he just used.
     
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