Disney World parks to make changes, restore perks for resort guests

Posted Thursday, September 26, 2002 7:38 AM | Contributed by Jeff

In a series of entertainment moves, Disney World is bringing back early mornings at the parks for resort guests and extending its 100 Years of Magic event, but the seven-year run of The Hunchback of Notre Dame show will end Saturday. Disney also is hiring nearly 100 full-time employees and 350 part-timers this fall as it gets ready for the holiday season.

Read more from the Orlando Sentinel.

Thursday, September 26, 2002 8:36 AM

"...the window for advance bookings at Disney World hotels has fallen to a range of 14 to 30 days from more than 60 days a year ago."

Maybe Disney will finally understand that most people cannot afford, or will not tolerate, paying their ridiculous room rates. $299 for a garden view room at the Polynesian in value season? $335 for a Contemporary tower room? Sure, I know I can stay at one of the All-Star resorts for "only" $77, but then I may as well stay off-site at Holiday Inn for $49 (or other places for less) in the slow season.

Is the "Disney magic" of a monorail resort worth $200+ per night? Come on, Disney execs. You gotta be kidding me. I'll stay off-site and drive.

Revised projection for 2002: 45 parks & 148 coasters. 33 & 120 through 9/22.

Thursday, September 26, 2002 9:01 AM
I couldnt agree with you more. My family stayed at the Boardwalk villas for the second half of our Orlando stay last year. Paid nearly 400 a night. For so-so accomodations close to lots of food and nightclubs. The first half of our stay in Orlando was at the Marriott timeshare resort called Grand Vista. At 125 dollars a night we got a huge condo on a golf course, a beautiful tropical pool, beautiful grounds and across the street from Sea World, away from the "tacky" side of I drive. I even found the Disney parks to be dirtier than usual, and areas of MGM to be downright unDisney in their cleanliness. I have stayed on property twice and every time I say never again. This time I mean it.
Thursday, September 26, 2002 9:42 AM
It is all about supply and demand. Obviously, before the economy crashed people WERE willing to pay those "outrageous prices" for Disney resorts. Frankly, there are a lot of people that still do.

Heck, if I had the money I would stay at Wilderness Lodge every time I visited but it isn't in my wallet. I have also stayed at All Stars and find it to be worth my money. I enjoy being on property and it is "worth" it to me to do so.

When I worked in hotel reservations it wasn't uncommon for people to call up and say, "give me the most expensive room you've got." Mind you, we had rooms for $1,000 bucks a night but that didn't matter.

Why do people buy Guess jeans when K-mart jeans will work just fine? Why do people buy a Lexus when a Ford will get you the same place in the same amount of time?

Disney isn't stupid for the rates they set. They are the same as every other company that sells any other thing. They set prices that the market will respond to. *** This post was edited by wahoo skipper on 9/26/2002. ***

Thursday, September 26, 2002 9:58 AM

Although the resorts are very expensive, I doubt the cost alone is reason for the downturn in bookings. WDW has always been an expensive destination resort. Losing perks could be one of the reasons, but I'm more inclined to believe people who would normally spend the money simply are not traveling like they did. Disney resorts are family resorts.

Certainly there are far fewer families flying, and I personally do not believe it's due to fear, but due to the hassle. When you could pack everyone up and hit the airport an hour pre-flight, it was fine. The tight security measures now mean arriving 3 hours in advance, and having every single carry on article scrutinized. 5 year olds are being frisked, and grandma is being told she can no longer carry her knitting or crocheting on board due to the dangerous weapons called knitting needles.

Families with younger children are simply not going to put up with the hassles and longer duration of flying to a destination with the same young children they do not want to spend hours and hours cooped up with in a car. Better to drive to Cedar Point for a weekend than to drive or fly to Florida.

I'd rather die living than live like I'm dead

Thursday, September 26, 2002 10:23 AM
I stayed onsite last year at the All Star resort and will be heading back soon again.

The cost is not htat much higher than a day plus cheap accomodations, and even adding in a car rental, it's still nice to actually be onsite. YMMV, of course, but I felt it was worth it.

Thursday, September 26, 2002 10:32 AM

The pricing isn't out of line at all. The problem is the economy and reduced travel, not the pricing. Disney built one hotel after another because people were willing to pay the price. Now that the economy is in the crapper, people in general aren't willing to spend a lot of money on travel.

Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com
"There's nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, when it's all in your mind. You gotta let go." - Ghetto, Supreme Beings of Leisure

Thursday, September 26, 2002 11:28 AM

There are a ton of ways to save money on on-site bookings. From resort codes through travel agents to website bargins, the deals are there if you're willing to do your homework.

I'm planning a trip for my family this January, and thanks to Mousesavers, I found the perfect hotel for us. It's only $99 a night for a full suite, close to the park, free breakfast buffet, and the kids eat free too.

There are alternatives to staying on-site, but there are also deals available for those that want to stay within the "Magic".


E Blitz Entertainment
Bay City, Michigan

Thursday, September 26, 2002 11:41 AM

I have an idea! Go to the Hampton Inn on Universal Boulevard. It's $80 a night, excellent accomodations, 3 miles from Universal, 12 miles from Disney, and right next to I-Drive. No matter what you're in the mood for, it's withing 15 minutes from the hotel.

I stay at this hotel every time I go down there. It's in a perfect location. Universal Boulevard doesn't get nearly as jammed as I-Drive, so you get to Universal and Disney much faster.

-Kyle Brylczyk
KoRn - Untouchables, June 11th, 2002

Thursday, September 26, 2002 12:22 PM

I've stayed 'on-site' at Disneyworld once, and it was probably the most fun I've ever had there.

Sure it's more eexpensive than equivilant off-site accomodations, and perhaps the rooms are tiny, but there is something to not having to worry about needing a car, especially if you can eliminate the car rental bill.

There are so many neat perks as well:

- Early entry, charge-backs (almost eveyplace except perhaps kiosk stands have card scanners toc harge your purchase back to your room), and being able to have all your gift shop purchases sent to your room. (Meaning you can buy on impulse without having to lug the item around all day) And this isn't getting into the intangible "Disney Magic" feeling that overcomes some people the moment you cross the border onto Disney property.

In fact I am considering doing a vacation there, and planning on staying on-site.

David Bowers
Mayor, Coasterville

Thursday, September 26, 2002 12:31 PM

Great news for Disney fans. A E-ride at Animal Kindom was approved under the name of Forbidden Mountain, a soaring over californa type ride for epcot, E-ride for Epcot (two including Mission Space), rehabs of all classic attractions, and as you've heard on this page Paul Pressler has left the company! Best news I've heard this month!

Nitro #2
Lighting Racer #3
Dueling Dragons - Fire #4
Medusa #5

Thursday, September 26, 2002 12:37 PM
ACBluke said: "...the window for advance bookings at Disney World hotels has fallen to a range of 14 to 30 days from more than 60 days a year ago."

Maybe Disney will finally understand that most people cannot afford, or will not tolerate, paying their ridiculous room rates. $299 for a garden view room at the Polynesian in value season? $335 for a Contemporary tower room?

Perhaps it is because I am not conversant in "Hotel Lingo" but this just seems to suggest to me that people simply are not planning their vacations so far in advance anymore. Rather, they are waiting till closer to the actual travel date to make reservations and such. This does not come as a suprise to me given the wild fluctuations with travel rates (flying, rental cars, busses/trains). It seems almost like if you can wait it out, you'll get a better deal as opposed to the "old days" where you could only get the best rates by planning far in advance.

You can blame those pesky "Last-minute Internet-Only" sales if you like. :)
--who bought last year's Thanksgiving Day plane ticket the week *of* Thanksgiving...

Thursday, September 26, 2002 2:07 PM

On my recent visit to the Disneyland Resort I thought the only thing missing was the on-site geust early entry that they use to have. Hopefully they will return it to DL as well.

84 coasters and counting

Thursday, September 26, 2002 7:38 PM
OK. The reason Disney charges high rates for the Contemporary, Poly. and Grand Floridian is because people will pay it. You are paying for location. You can walk in 5 minutes from the GF to the Magic Kingdom (or take a monorail in 1) And its a 2 minute walk (or less) from the Contemporary. It's all about being "in the magic" and it's been very successful. I should know, I paid it.
Friday, September 27, 2002 3:59 PM

The prices have always been there and people have always complained about the prices but most families will save for a couple years for their trip and will spend there money for an on-site hotel because its apart of the "family experience" Lots of people don't go to disney just to ride rides, they go to have a great experience at a great set of parks, I know I do.


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