Tue 17 Jan 2012
Our family has stayed in two of Walt Disney World Resort locations, Old Key West and the Treehouse Villas within the Saratoga Springs Resort with a number of years in between. Our accommodations were pretty top drawer so I can only present my viewpoint from those experiences. I am not being paid or have I received any form of payment or considerations for presenting these views. What follows is my honest impressions.
It seems to me that someone with a viewpoint of the customer seems to be in charge and not in some token amount but to a significant degree in designing this resort and making it work as well as it does. They must have shot or put in the broom closet and locked the door every and all bean counters at Disney World. In most all other outside hotels the emphasis is on calculating what impresses the customer and when to impress the customer followed by what can be taken away from the customer so they will not complain or maybe not notice. All of this to keep costs down for the company. For example, most all hotels have a large fancy entrance and lobby but when you get to your room the concept is downsize the hallways, your room, your bathroom, and any balcony. Not at Disney Resorts. The expense and expanse theme flows where ever you go, approaches, entrances, businesses, eating establishments, restrooms, places to stay, trash can placement, and even very small amenities. There are so many examples of trying to be bigger, better and more accommodating in this resort. They offer very nice presentation, activities, and living spaces at Disney World, Orlando.
A second but related factor is day to day operation costs. Most if not all businesses will attempt to find ways to cut back expenses. I have found that this resort does this also but in ways that are often hidden. The trash bags in our resort room trash containers are a sleeve of bags at the bottom, under the current used bag. In this way they can pull the full bag away from the next bag, throw the full one away, and fill out the new empty one to the sides of the can so it is most quickly ready to be used. We found these bags to be the thinnest I have ever seen and easily torn.
The third factor is they are smart about their choices on most everything they buy and do for medium and long term cost savings. They do cut back expenses where they can but they seem seem to do so in areas that are far away from the customer being concerned when compared to most other places. They also seem to save money by doing things in creative ways. For example, I noticed that they have a special roadway blower that shoots a concentrated blast of air downward so leaves in the forested area of Saratoga Springs Treehouse Resort are cleared quickly. A second person gets out of the cart towing this blower to do the detail work.
The forth appreciation factor is the design and construction. I do not always agree with the apparent merging together look of different building designs in one place and spacious continuity that most easily flows in other locations. But, it is my impression that everywhere, Disney World Orlando is never dull to view its sights.
The fifth factor is safety. This resort is clever and serious in its efforts to maintain a safe environment for the customer. For example, each bus driver must do a safety inspection for the bus and the items are listed on a form. Some items are significant enough that the bus will immediately go out of service. I noticed that the lug nuts on the bus wheels had a white sort of caterpillar attached from the wheel lug nut bolt to the lug nut. It is an adhesive that tells the people that inspect the bus that the lug nuts are ok or backing off.
The method for accomplishing this apparent and perceived high caliber of operation is by passing their expenses on to you the customer. When you come on to their property you will pay dearly for everything. I have dined at some of the most expensive restaurants in this facility, costing hundreds of dollars and I keep thinking that I have better meals for a fraction of the cost in my home town.
Walt Disney World Resort at Orlando is not perfect. Each time I spot a small problem here and there. For example, the store at Old Key West is much better than at Saratoga Springs. My bed at the Treehouse creaked and the master bedroom bathroom had automatic sensors that would turn vent fans on when you entered the room which we had to turn off each time, most annoying. I offer those as just a few examples. My point is that I tend to weigh the “wow that is cool” against the “darn it” experiences and this resort is a winner.