Small Orlando hotels fear Disney resort expansion

Posted Tuesday, March 13, 2007 8:55 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Many mom-and-pop hoteliers in the Four Corners and Kissimmee areas are wary of the massive "value-priced" resort project announced March 3 by Walt Disney World. Some even predict at least a few lodging operators could be driven out of business by the project, which Disney says will include 4,000 to 5,000 competitively priced hotel and time share units near the west side of Disney property.

Read more from Orlando Business Journal via MSNBC.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007 2:28 PM
Jeff's avatar This is exactly what we talked about in podcast #66. If they aren't nervous about this, they should be.
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Tuesday, March 13, 2007 4:29 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar Definitely, this has the potential to be an Orlando killer. Let's just change the name of the city to Disney already. ;)

Seriously though, if you run any sort of run-of-the-mill property in the area, I'd be looking to get out.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007 4:43 PM
janfrederick's avatar They could always increase their revenue by charging for parking. ;)
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Tuesday, March 13, 2007 5:38 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar I've paid to park at a hotel. Many times. :)
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Tuesday, March 13, 2007 8:17 PM
Acoustic Viscosity's avatar It's included in the hotel "admission" along with the "Free Unlimited Continental Breakfast." ;)
*** This post was edited by Acoustic Viscosity 3/13/2007 8:51:01 PM ***
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Tuesday, March 13, 2007 9:08 PM
The Hotels really have no right to "boo hoo". For most of them, the only reason they are there in the first place is Disney.
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Wednesday, March 14, 2007 12:10 AM
rollergator's avatar Free admission to Old Town for on-site Kissimmee hotel guests? ;)

^ Pssssst. Old Town has no gate. :)

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007 10:08 AM
I would guess it depends on What Disney charges for the rooms. I just don't see Disney going much below $100/night. They'll start out low to create the buzz...but then the rates will hover around $100. This leaves room for the chain hotels to get their profit.

If Disney goes $50 per or lower...then the other guys are in trouble!

P.S. I can only imgine how fun the bus service will be for another 4000 rooms. ;)

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007 11:07 AM
Jeff's avatar I stayed in Pop Century for $75/night. That's more than competitive with the off-property joints, not to mention the "value" and "convenience" of staying on-property. (I use quotes because that's more perception than reality to me.)
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Wednesday, March 14, 2007 11:14 AM
Acoustic Viscosity's avatar Just think of the money you save by not having to pay Disney parking every day when you can just take a Disney bus from your hotel. That's an additional $10 or so you can subtract from the nightly room rate. It makes it even more competitive. IMO there is no reason to use your own car as long as you're on the Disney property. Their transportation system is just as if not even more efficient than driving yourself.
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Wednesday, March 14, 2007 12:02 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

I would guess it depends on What Disney charges for the rooms. I just don't see Disney going much below $100/night.

The last news story on the subject mentioned (and I quote):
"The emphasis is on hotels in the $70 to $100 nightly range."

To me, that pretty much cuts across the board. If you're under $70 a night, you're in a dive.

Just for fun I checked out hotels.com (to get a general idea of rates) for a week in June. In the first 100 results, only 18 came in under $70 - which sounds pretty good, except that includes anything under $70 - even $69. I don't honestly think $69 is enough to beat Disney's $70.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007 1:39 PM
rollergator's avatar ^"To me, that pretty much cuts across the board. If you're under $70 a night, you're in a dive. "

Unless you use Priceline...hehe. I've stayed at more REALLY nice places for around 50/night. The Rosen Center was nice, but the best was the place in San Antonio...4-star hotels at less than 2-star rates.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007 1:54 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar Here's the thing with Priceline - not all hotels participate and those that do only open Priceline rates when they're really desperate (which may vary from rarely to constantly). If the rate is open on priceline, you could probably get a very similar rate by calling.

All priceline does is find that info and group it into one place for you (which is a very useful service).

But really, that's the point - these Orlando hotels can't exist on $40 and $50 rates and if they go any higher, Disney becomes a more attractive option.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007 2:37 PM
For me, staying off-property isn't about saving money in absolute terms. When you add in parking (theme park parking is included for on-site guests) and the absolute need to have a rental car, it is very very hard to spend less money off-property than you would in a Value.

Instead, I view off-property as a way to SIGNIFICANTLY upgrade my lodging at a modest increase in price. From now on, we'll be staying in a 2BR/2BA condo. The development is literally next to Caribbean Beach, and is landlocked by Disney property. So, even though it is not on Disney-owned land, it "feels" like it is, as it is inside The Bubble. It's a timeshare I bought for a pennies on the dollar resale, and our effective cost (annual maintenance plus the opportunity cost of the TS purchase price) for that 2BR condo will be LESS than it would cost to rent a 314 sq ft. box in CBR next door.

It's not the cheapest you can go, but it certainly is in style.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007 3:19 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar I agree entirely with your approach, Brian.

But we're not exactly the $60 a night crowd, are we? ;)

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007 3:41 PM
Acoustic Viscosity's avatar Gonch likes those "lavish" $100 per night places. ;)

What are the "cheap" Disney offerings like? I've only ever stayed at the Polynesian Resort as far as Disney lodging goes. Are the All-Star and Pop Century resorts comparable to a $75-$100 per night hotel off property or more like a $50 economy motel?

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007 3:48 PM
No, but even that $60 room is really a $70 room, because you'll at least be paying for theme park parking. You don't in a Value.

It's important to note that the new Western Beltway development is technically outside the WDW gates, though it is on Disney-owned land. Thus, it may be treated more like the DTD resorts (which get few or none of the onsite perks) rather than a "Disney" resort.

Another interesting factoid: the land on which the new timeshare property is being developed, up by the Four Seasons, is being de-annexed from RCID. The mouse doesn't want any new voters. ;)

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007 4:28 PM
Acoustic Viscosity's avatar So what are the Disney Value rooms comparable to? Are you getting the same quality of motel room you'd get at a Super 8 in Kissimmee for about $70 per night (including daily Disney parking) or are you getting a much nicer room and much more perks for not much more money?
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Wednesday, March 14, 2007 6:25 PM
Jeff's avatar They're fairly nice. A king room in Pop Century is actually pretty roomy. Nothing special, but clean and adequate. And really far from everything. Magic Kingdom is 30 minutes on the bus.
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