I trust Disney resorts. I trust that they'll be clean, that they'll be safe, that the staff will be friendly and efficient, and that issues that come up will be addressed quickly. That's been my experience. Part of the joy of staying on property is knowing what you're getting every time, whether you pay $58 a night or $458 a night. But no company is perfect. Such was the case last weekend at the Contemporary Resort.
My good friend had never stayed on Disney property before. Truth be told, until this trip she wasn't much of a Disney parks fan. But she was coming down for the Wine and Dine marathon and remembered wanting to stay at the Contemporary as a kid, so she decided to give it a try and booked a Magic Kingdom view for a two night stay. The room was gorgeous. I know not everyone "gets" the theming of the resort, but I think most people can appreciate the room itself. Nice comfy beds, an incredible, big bathroom, and nice modern accents that make the room luxurious. She lucked out and got an 11th floor room right in the middle of the tower, possibly the prettiest view of the Magic Kingdom and Seven Seas Lagoon you could ask for.
There was just one problem: The room wasn't clean. There were crumbs all over the floor in the entry way. The rug was dirty and had not been vacuumed. The windows were covered in little hand prints. The fold out couch had a large stain on it, as did one of the lampshades. And the built-in closets were covered in a thick white dust. Clearly, no one had bothered to dust in a couple of weeks. At this point, this wasn't an issue with the cleaning crew so much as one with supervisors.
Now, my room that same weekend at the All Stars was immaculate. That's what I expected. And I think if you're paying more than four times as much as I was paying, you deserve the same thing. At this point, I just want to make one thing clear. I'm not a complainer. I was once a Private in the Army, so I know what it's like to work for demanding people who never thank you. I won't ever forget that and as a result I try to be as accommodating as possible. This is especially true at Disney, where I try to give cast members a break. All Disney fans know that there's a certain type of resort guest who makes a lot of unreasonable demands; some of them pride themselves on it. We all know that being a cast member is a really hard job and that a lot of them do it because they love the company and they enjoy bringing some magic into people's lives. So I don't complain, I say thank you and please even if they're too busy to notice, and I always tip at least 20%, even at buffets. But at a certain point, you have to say something. This was that point.
My friend called down to the front desk and a bit later was moved to another room after the manager, who was both friendly and professional, confirmed that the room was unacceptable. Even he seemed a little surprised by its condition. Unfortunately, this room had a very obvious safety hazard that the manager noticed right away. Since there were no other rooms available with that view, she was moved back into her original room. They gave the room a quick cleaning and compensated my friend rather generously, even by Disney standards. She didn't let this ruin her stay and is looking forward to going back. I felt pretty bad though. I was the one who talked her into going. This was my "happy place" and I wanted to share it with her. It would have been nice if things had gone more smoothly.
As I said, I try not to be a complainer, but I also think it's important to let a business know when they're doing something wrong, especially when it's a place you care about. This shouldn't have happened. In fact, this almost never does happen. As I stated above, that's why I stay on Disney property. That same weekend we had such great service at the California Grill from our server, Charmaine, that I sent Disney an email to let them know. I also sent in comments about my room at the All Stars. I wasn't crazy about the theme, but every cast member I ran into there was excellent and the room could not have been more clean.
If you have an issue with your room or the service you're receiving, by all means, let Disney know. But don't forget your manners. Just this last trip, I witnessed a woman using very loud, four-letter words in the lobby of the Contemporary over some room mix-up. She wasn't helping her family or her case and I couldn't help but really feel for cast member she was verbally abusing. Remember that Disney is a unique company and many cast members take a lot of pride in being part of it; in my experience, they'll bend over backwards to help you. The company holds itself to a higher standard. Because of this, most of us expect better from Disney than we do from, for example, the Marriott or Holiday Inn. But that also works against it, because it brings out a strong sense of entitlement in some guests. So remember when you complain, be nice. This person has a hard job. But by all means, let your comments be known. Good or bad, they count.
If you want to compliment a cast member or relay an issue you've had during your stay, email Disney at WDW.Guest.Communications@disneyworld.com. It's especially important to let them know about good service, as this helps deserving cast members advance within the company.