I really knew we shouldn't have booked Concierge/CL at Disney's Polynesian Resort for our October trip ... because now we're hooked ... Yes, we've booked CL at the Poly again for our upcoming trip in May!!
Now, let me explain - when we first started going to Florida for our vacations in 2003, we would always stay off-site. We were adamant that we'd never stay "on-site" as we could always get a better deal staying at an off-site hotel.
Fast forward to October 2006. We had decided that during that trip, we would take a trip down to the Florida Keys, however. found that upon returning from the Keys, our regular off-site hotel would not be available for the days we wanted. So ... we decided what the heck, let's book a room at one of the Disney resorts. That was our first mistake ...
After doing some research, we chose the Coronado Springs resort because (1) although it was a Disney hotel, it was also a "convention hotel" (and we figured that there wouldn't be as many kids there); (2) it was one of their moderate resorts and (3) we got a good discount on the room with our Disney annual pass.
When we returned home from our vacation and our few days at the Disney resort, we concluded we liked it ... especially the Extra Magic Hours perk. However, we also concluded that we still preferred our off-site hotel as they provided a nice continental breakfast and the room was much larger, and there was a fridge and microwave in the room.
Fast forward again to January 2007 ... after putting up with snow and being in the deep freeze for a few months, we decided to plan another trip to Orlando in May 2007. But in order for us to do this trip, plus our October trip, we'd definitely have to watch our budget. When I started my research on hotel prices, I surprisingly found that we would stay at one of Disney's value resorts for almost $40/night less than what we would have to pay at our regular off-site hotel using our annual pass discount. Hmmm ...
After some further deliberation, we decided that for this trip to work, we would book a room using our annual passes at Disney's Pop Century resort. That was our second mistake ...
We went, enjoyed our vacation and once we arrived home, we concluded that although the room at Pop Century was OK, we did miss a few things our off-site hotel provided - bigger room, a fridge and microwave, and the continental breakfast. We decided that for our October trip, we'd return to our off-site hotel.
Fast forward once again to our October trip ... we landed in Minneapolis and had some time to kill before our connecting flight so we decided to enjoy a walk around the airport. As we get our bearings in the airport, I turn on my cell phone and find a voice mail message from our off-site hotel advising us that our reservation has been cancelled. WTH??? I immediately call the hotel and am told that our credit card had been declined that morning thus our reservation had been cancelled.
Now, let's back-track to a few months earlier when somehow my credit card had been compromised and some unsavory types tried to charge some things to said credit card. Fortunately the bank caught the charges and issued me a new credit card. Unfortunately I apparently must have forgotten to change the credit card on our hotel reservation as they still had the old number on file. DOH!
Back to my phone call with the hotel. OK, no problem, I'll give you another credit card to guarantee the room. Nope. I am then advised that had I called before 12:00 noon their time with a new credit card, we would still have our reservation. However, since it was now after 12:00 noon their time, the reservation was cancelled. This is where I got angry. I firmly explained that had they looked at our information they would know we were travelling from Canada. I further explained that takes almost 9 hours by airplane, and at the time the hotel left the voicemail advising our reservation was cancelled, we were 35,000 ft in the air and not able to call. I then asked to speak to the manager and was of course told he wasn't available. After some further discussion with the hotel representative, they agreed to "reinstate" our original reservation if I could give them an alternate credit card number right then. Wasn't that what I offered to do in the first place??? When I finally got off the phone I was just a bit annoyed, however, was definitely relieved we had our accommodations.
When we finally arrived at the hotel and completed our check in, I again asked if the manager was in, and again was told that no he wasn't but would be in the next day. We headed up to our room ... only to find our room keys would not open the door, so off we went back to the lobby to get new key cards. I think someone trying to tell us something ...
Before we headed into the dining room for breakfast the next morning, we stopped in the lobby to ask when the manager would be in. The individual at the desk, didn't even look up from her magazine when she answered 4:00 pm.
After an enjoyable day at Universal, we arrived back at the hotel. The manager was on duty and we were finally able to speak to him about how our issue was handled. Although we fully admitted that we should have ensured we had a valid credit card on file, the manager was very apathetic about how his staff handled the situation. The sense we got from him was "oh well". For being repeat customers for 5 years, it was that disinterested attitude that changed our opinion of staying off-site and decided we wouldn't be returning back to that hotel.
Thus, began our love affair with staying on-site at Disney. We now fully understand about "the magic" so many people talk about - from the cast members saying "Welcome Home" each time you return to the resort, to finding a personalized birthday card from Mickey and Minnie waiting for you in your room after a day in the parks, to the lovely towel animals left by Mousekeeping, and the nightly turn down service. Disney definitely knows how to keep you coming back!