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Old 06-13-2009, 02:02 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Is this normal???

I checked out of SSR this morning. Let me start by telling you that this is the first time that I have had any type of issue of Disney at all. This was my first trip using DVC points. Doubt that it makes a difference but we used developer points. I stayed in a 2 bedroom villa. I was not impressed and frankly a little shocked. To start with the resort was not fully booked, and they put us in a handicap accessible room. I did not realize it at first, since I had never been at DVC a resort, I did not know things were different. Both the sinks in the master baths were pedestal sinks, therefore there was no where to put your getting ready things. Fortunately, I brought a basket that did the trick. Everything in the kitchen was lower than normal, sink, dishwasher and stove. That bothered my back a little but again I can move on. When my husband called about the room they did confirm it was a handicap accessible room and offered to move us, but we had already unpacked everything and the room they could move us into was not near it was in another area of the resort all together. I could not see repacking all of the food and stuff for my party of 6. They explained to us that if we did not want a handicap accessible room that we should have made that request when we made our reservation. I have been traveling to Disney for years and it never occurred to me that I need to tell them not put me in a handicap accessible room. Honestly, since they were not full I did not understand why they put us in that room in the first place. You would think that they would only use those when they had guests that needed it or if it was fully booked.
The one thing that we did address with them when we first checked in was the condition of the master bedroom bedspread. Something utterly disguising had been spilled on it and dried. So we called and asked that it be replaced. You would think that this would have been a simple request, but that call with housekeeping took way longer than it should have and required a supervisor to have a clean spread brought down. While we waited my children played with Legoís on the table. After dropping a few pieces and picking them up we discovered that some of the chunks we picked up under the table were not all Legoís. There was a ton of chunks of food left from the last set of guests. So when they finally brought the spread we mentioned the chunks of food under the table and the grease that had been spilled on the counter and not completely cleaned up. Again, we were not met with that usual WOW Disney customer service. So I got out the cleaning supplies that I brought with me and cleaned. The housekeeping manager called a few hours later and said they would be sending someone the next morning to completely clean the room again.
Before leaving for a little shopping in Downtown Disney I ran the dishwasher. When we returned almost 5 hours later, we could not get the dishwasher open. There were 3 adults in my party and not a one of us could it open. So I called maintenance to come and take a look at it. My husband took our older boys to the pool while I got the little one to bed and waited on maintenance to come. A maintenance man shows up and tells me that these dishwashers are steam censored and cannot be opened until the unit is completely cooled, and that I need to be patient. I explained to him that I ran it almost 5 hours earlier and that it should be plenty cooled. He disagreed. I also told him that the bottom tray was missing wheels and would not roll out that you had to place it inside or out of the washer. He said that they would come back tomorrow at 10:30 am to fix it.
Next morning, the dishwasher will still not open. Housekeeping shows up to clean again just as we were leaving. I tell her the issue with the dishwasher and she pulls on the thing super hard and it opens. She says that you cannot be gentle with it. Knowing that it is probably not her issue to deal with, I mention the wheels on the dishwasher and I mention the light bulb over the stove is burned out. She tells me that she is there to clean and check everything and that everything will be perfect when I return.
When we return the wheels on the dishwasher tray are still not there, the bulb above the stove has still not been replaced. But they did leave us priority entrance passes to a ride. My husband calls the front desk and speaks with a supervisor. They apologize and tell him that those 2 things will be fixed and that they will tell both housekeeping and maintenance of the situations that took place so that they can handle their departments. When I checked out this morning, those 2 things still had not been fixed. I decided that if I was going to enjoy my vacation, I had to let it go. The constant phone calls to get things resolved were not working and therefore I needed to let it go or it was going to affect my vacation.
One last vent on my experience. When we checked in and added our park tickets to our Key to the World cards at the concierge desk the nice woman told me that as DVC members I could apply the money I spent on tickets towards an annual pass. And that for me it would be just a little more than the cost of a one day pass. That I had all week to decide as long as I did it before I checked out. After thinking about it, I decided to do mine. I usually get down to the Orlando area a couple times a year for business so why not add it on. I went back to the concierge desk to take care of things and they tell me that I cannot do that at all. That I would have had to have done that before I used any of my tickets. I explained to them that was not how it was explained to me. They apologized but if I did not have the name of the person I spoke to there was nothing that they could do. I asked if they could look at who added my tickets to my cards and they tried but it did not tell them the name of cast member. They said I could go to Guest Relations at Downtown Disney and speak with them but they did not think that they would be able to assist me either. With everything else, this was the straw. So I got on a boat and headed to Downtown Disney to see Guest Relations. I walked right up and told the woman the same thing that I just told the concierge desk and she tells me how much I will owe and gives me my Annual Pass. So it did work just like the woman told me on check in day. So I get back on the boat and decide I need to go back to the supervisor I just spoke to at the concierge desk so that she knows how it works so that the next guest who asks about this she will know the answer. She apologized and explained that this was not really something that they handled and that she was pleased I got things resolved. Iím sorry, but her station is under a sign that says concierge, tickets, dining and recreation. To me that says that you should know all about tickets, dining and recreation. If you cannot answer a guestís question, pick up the phone and find the CORRECT answer.
Please tell me that we just had a bad experience that you have never experienced these things. I really hope that this is not normal. We were so excited about our DVC, now I am wondering if I made the right decision or not.
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Old 06-13-2009, 02:23 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Amy,
SSR is the only resort I have ever had an issue with. I've been a member for 10 years. I hope the rest of your trip was magical.
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Old 06-13-2009, 03:20 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I've never had those issues, and don't regret buying into DVC. I do think you should compose a letter or email and send it to guest services. The addresses are:

WDW Guest Communications
PO Box 10040
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830-0040

wdw.guest.communications@disneyworld.com

I'm sorry you had such a bad experience. Rest assured that most experiences are better.
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Old 06-13-2009, 03:33 PM   #4 (permalink)
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The main issues seem to be: Is this unique to DVC and/or is this unique to SSR?

The answer to both is 'no.' At least, for the most part.

Go look at TripAdvisor.com or any other review site and you'll find complaints for all Disney resorts. Maintenance issues and cleanliness issues happen at every Disney resort. Fortunately they are most often addressed quickly and easily.

The biggest challenge facing the DVC resorts is the high occupancy levels. Aside from scheduled maintenance periods, the entire concept of a timeshare like DVC is for every unit to be in use pretty much year-round. I'm not sure who told you that SSR was at less than capacity last week but even if true, it doesn't mean that there was enough excess supply in order for every able-bodied guest to get a non-HA room.

From my own experiences, the differences in some HA rooms are very subtle. We were once assigned to an accessible room and I didn't even realize it until the second day of our trip. Guess that shows how observant I am. If it is important to not get a HA unit, follow the advice you were given and add that to your requests next time.

Over all of its resorts, Disney averages about 90% capacity. But again for DVCs it is much higher. If 10% of all rooms are unbooked on a given night at the cash resorts, Disney has the excess capacity to take rooms out of service if extra maintenance is needed. But with the DVCs they often have the small window between 11am checkout time and 4pm checkin time to clean and repair hundreds of rooms.

I'm surprised at the interactions you describe but it sounds like you did what you should have. We were staying at the Treehouse Villas last week and had a problem with one of our TVs. After placing a call the maintenance CM arrived within 5 minutes. The problem ended up being rather complicated to resolve but they stuck with it. We went on about our day but I saw at least 3 people working on the issue thoughout the day. Took them until nearly 5pm to resolve (my call was around 9am) but they stuck with it until we were running.

Are these problems normal? No, of course not. There are about 3000 DVC rooms in service now and you'd see dozens of posts per day just like yours if there were widespread issues with housekeeping and maintenance. We've been members for about 6 years now and have only had to call maintenance 3 times now (once at Old Key West, once at BoardWalk and our experience with the Treehouse TV last week.) And all of our issues were resolved promptly with no need for follow-up.

I'd chalk it up to part bad luck and part learning experience (tweak those requests!) Disney maintains the same standards for both DVC and non-DVC resorts. IMO, you could have just as easily had similar experiences at the Poly or Grand Floridian. There are plenty of people posting to TripAdvisor who did.
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Old 06-13-2009, 03:56 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rescuesk View Post
I've never had those issues, and don't regret buying into DVC. I do think you should compose a letter or email and send it to guest services. The addresses are:

WDW Guest Communications
PO Box 10040
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830-0040

wdw.guest.communications@disneyworld.com

I'm sorry you had such a bad experience. Rest assured that most experiences are better.
You could also contact:

DVCmembersatisfactionteam@disneyvacationclub.com

One piece of advice: take all of the information from the original post and cut it down to ONE PRINTED PAGE (or the email equivalent.) Don't make your reader struggle to find the important information.

Personally I would omit all of the info about the handicapped-accessible room. Disney is required by law to have such accommodations available and there is no way to have a 100% factual debate over whether it was appropriate for them to assign you to such a room.

Focus on:

1. Cleanliness
2. Maintenance issues
3. Communications over ticket upgrade

Remember: clear...concise...stick to the important facts.
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Old 06-13-2009, 05:03 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I hope you were still able to enjoy your vacation. The only DVC resort we have had problems with was the Beach Club. It can happen at any of the resorts.
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Old 06-13-2009, 05:16 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Old 06-13-2009, 05:50 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I had one issue in the three times we stayed at SSR. Our very first trip as DVC members and my daughters first WDW trip I ordered a princess autograph book with a crown from the florist. When we checked in the front desk told us they had the item and it would be in the room, we went to MGM and when we returned it was not in the room. I placed a call to the front desk and they asked me to come up, the desk manager gave me a 75.00 gift card and had the item brought to the room immediately.

On a lighter note, in 12/08 we were swimming in the pool in across the foot bridge and I lost my wallet in the pool while swimming and did not know it at all. I got a call from the front desk in the morning telling me that maintenance had found the wallet while cleaning the pool. When I picked it up, aside from being wet, all of my cash, AP's, room cards, credit cards, etc. were there. I thought that was pretty awesome that nothing was missing.

I hope your next experience is a good one, I am sure the largest employer in central Florida has a few bad eggs from time to time?
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Old 06-13-2009, 06:01 PM   #9 (permalink)
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there must be an issue with housekeeping at SSR. they must not do a thorough job cleaning. when we went into our room on (5/31), there was a key to the world card on a shelf near the entrance from january. housekeeping has either ignored or didn't clean where that card had been lying for at least 4 months.
i have stayed at other dvc resorts and never had the same issues i've had at SSR. my favorite by far is AKV.
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Old 06-13-2009, 06:03 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Amy, we've stayed DVC three times now - Once at AKL, once at BWV, and just now at SSR on developer's points too (sounds like we were there around the same time!). I can easily say that our stay at SSR was the worst we've ever had - and our issues with housekeeping were quite similar to yours. In fact, of all the complaints I've read about SSR, both here and on other sites, it always ends up coming down to housekeeping/maintenence. In fact, over on the DIS Unplugged Blog, they recently did a review on the new Treehouse Villas, and had an issue with maintenance as well!

So, chalk it up to SSR not having their act together, and fret not, because I PROMISE other DVC resorts are much better.

PS. The thing about telling them you DON'T want a handicapped room? I call shenanigans on that. Unless SSR suddenly became the supreme destination for handicapped guests.


*Update* - BTW, I'm with Amy - since we were there around the same time, I'm going to agree with her - SSR was nowhere near being at capacity. We stayed in the Paddock, and there were probably 10 cars in the lot the entire time we were there; I also know for a fact that other than the family in the room next to us, there was no one else in the rooms above, below, or around our rooms - I spent a lot of time on the balcony in the evenings and NEVER saw a light come on in any of those rooms.
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Old 06-13-2009, 07:51 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wvugrrrl View Post
So, chalk it up to SSR not having their act together, and fret not, because I PROMISE other DVC resorts are much better.
With all due respect to everyone, I really think you are kidding yourselves by thinking that SSR is somehow the black sheep of all disney resorts based upon a handful of experiences.

We have stayed at SSR five times and haven't had a single housekeeping issue. Our only maintenance issue was the TV problem last week at our Treehouse Villa--less than a week after the resort opened--and Disney bent over backward to solve the problem. And I'm certainly not going to slight them--as some others have--for a maintenance issue which arose that close to opening. When you book a brand new accommodation within days of opening a reasonable guest will expect minor bumps along the way.

By comparison, we've had both cleanliness (carpets so dirty it turned our feet black) and maintenance issues (completely non-functional dishwasher and toaster) in fewer stays at OKW. At BWV we've had missing kitchen utensils that were not caught by housekeeping and a unit left without any dishwasher detergent.

Does that mean that I should be judging OKW and BWV as worse than SSR? Of course not. Nor should any of us really be concluding that SSR has a disproportionately high volume of issues based upon a handful of posts here. The sample size is simply too small in order to pass judgment.

As I said in my first post, take a look at some of the reviews on TripAdvisor. Here are some links:

BoardWalk Villas
Saratoga Springs
Old Key West
Beach Club Villas
Wilderness Lodge Villas

That's the most impartial resource you will probably find. And if you skim the reviews for each of those resorts, you'll see the same complaints about each and every one: dirty rooms, rude staff, not worth the price, old and worn out, etc. It's just the luck of the draw.

Incidentally, of the 5 DVCs listed above, Saratoga Springs has the second highest rating in TripAdvisor's "Popularity Index" for all Orlando resorts. That ranking is based upon real feedback from hundreds of actual guests. BCV is highest followed by SSR. OKW, BWV and VWL all trail. (I excluded AKV because there are so few reviews and it has not been open nearly as long as the others.)

When reading general comments from posters, it's also important to note that SSR is quite a bit larger than most other resorts. It's more than 4 times the size of the Beach Club Villas. So you could read 4 reports of bad rooms at SSR for every 1 at BCV, and still your odds of getting a high-quality room at SSR are higher than at BCV.

And to the OP who may be worried about how the DVC's stack up against other Disney resorts, check out some of them on TripAdvisor:

Contemporary
Polynesian
Grand Floridian
Caribbean Beach

Again similar issues for all: cleanliness, maintenance, cost, staff, etc. (And I believe that only the Poly and GF have higher TripAdvisor ratings than SSR--others like the Contemporary, POR, CB all have a lower score based upon guest reviews.)

Quote:
PS. The thing about telling them you DON'T want a handicapped room? I call shenanigans on that. Unless SSR suddenly became the supreme destination for handicapped guests.
I have been following DVC since 2001 and have heard this approach recommended countless times to those adamantly opposed to HA rooms. The reality is that all DVC resorts have handicapped accessible rooms. If they are booked to full occupancy but do not have an equal number of requests for HA accommodations, then fully mobile guests will be given HA facilities. It happens almost every single week at every DVC resort.

Exactly what happened in this situation is impossible to tell. In recent years Disney has been placing its highest priority on getting guests into rooms upon arrival. It's entirely possible that this HA unit simply came-up on the Cast Member's computer as being clean and ready for a guest, and was therefore assigned to OP.
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Old 06-13-2009, 08:31 PM   #12 (permalink)
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i just know that i have stayed at disney many times, and this past trip staying at SSR was the worst. before joining DVC, we would stay at the Pop Century, and we had few complaints about that resort than SSR. if we weren't staying at SSR on developers' points, i would have been majorly disappointed that i spent money or points to stay there when i could have gotten better amenities at a value resort.
i also think it's ridiculous that they'd put you in a handicapped room because you didn't request to not be in one. that'd be like a hotel putting you in a smoking room (even though disney doesn't have these) because you didn't request otherwise. or a restaurant making your burger out of tofu instead of beef because you didn't say so. the rule is that they should put you in a room with standard accommodations unless you specifically request otherwise. not putting you in a room with special accommodations because you didn't tell them not to.
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Old 06-13-2009, 08:48 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by doctorhead View Post
i just know that i have stayed at disney many times, and this past trip staying at SSR was the worst. before joining DVC, we would stay at the Pop Century, and we had few complaints about that resort than SSR.
And I'm not trying to diminish your opinion. However it is just ONE opinion. If I had to name-names, our worst trip was at OKW (again, both cleanliness and multiple maintenance issues.) But neither of us can really hold up our experiences as being representative of the whole. In the grand scheme of things, it's still just one bad stay out of tens-of-thousands per year.

Quote:
i also think it's ridiculous that they'd put you in a handicapped room because you didn't request to not be in one. that'd be like a hotel putting you in a smoking room (even though disney doesn't have these) because you didn't request otherwise. or a restaurant making your burger out of tofu instead of beef because you didn't say so. the rule is that they should put you in a room with standard accommodations unless you specifically request otherwise. not putting you in a room with special accommodations because you didn't tell them not to.
I would quibble with the analogies but the bottom line is Disney/DVC doesn't make any distinction between HA rooms and non-HA rooms when taking reservations.

At the Beach Club Villas there are 208 total villas and I believe 12 of them are Handicapped Accessible. Disney does NOT accept 12 reservations for HA rooms and 196 reservations for non-HA rooms---they take 208 total reservations. Period.

Unless there are 12 parties who request a HA accommodation, then some folks who did not request such a room will still get it. It is unavoidable and it happens at every single DVC resort.

If BCV (12 of 208) and the Treehouse Villas (4 of 60) are any indication, then Disney builds about 6-7% of all guest rooms as handicapped accessible. With 828 villas at Saratoga Springs, more than 50 of them could be outfitted as accessible rooms.
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Old 06-13-2009, 09:09 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by tjkraz View Post
And I'm not trying to diminish your opinion. However it is just ONE opinion.

since the OP asked if anyone else has had a bad experience, then i guess the ONE opinion is important.
i think with all the technology that's available, DVC should be able to distinguish between handicapped and standard rooms. they have no trouble distinguishing between studio, 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom, and villas. the OP stayed at the resort when it was no where near capacity. i can understand putting someone in a handicapped room if there's nothing else available, but when there's a standard room open, fill that one first. if DVC fills rooms at random, it would be crappy for a handicapped guest to not be able to stay in a handicapped room because they already put 12 other parties who didn't need a handicapped room in one.
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Old 06-13-2009, 10:33 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Hey folks! The OP was only trying to find out if anyone else had a bad experience at SSR. I think she's gotten some input on other people's experiences, and this going back and forth is not really moving the topic forward. I am locking this thread.
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