Would You Be Happier Upgrading From a Value Resort?

BY LEN TESTA – MAY 2010

The data below were compiled and analyzed by a team from The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World. The Unofficial Guide‘s two-year survey of Disney World Resort guests finds that families who typically stay at budget hotels on non-Disney trips are most satisfied with Disney’s Moderate resorts, even when taking the higher cost into account. Families who normally stay at moderate and deluxe hotels on non-Disney trips are most satisfied at Disney’s Moderate and Deluxe resorts, too.

If you normally stay at budget hotels outside of Walt Disney World and you don’t plan to spend much time in your room, you might think you’d be just as happy at one of Disney’s Value resorts – saving a few bucks on lodging – as if you stayed at a Moderate or Deluxe resort.

You’ll be happier at a Moderate. Trust us – we know because we asked you. Thousands of you.

For the last two years we’ve asked readers about the Disney hotel they most recently stayed, and at which hotel(s) they stayed on trips taken before visiting Disney World. We then classified the non-Disney hotel brands into Disney’s Value, Moderate and Deluxe resort categories. (As examples, we rated Motel 6 a “value” property, Courtyard by Marriott a “moderate,” and Wyndham as a “deluxe” property.)

For each category of non-Disney hotel, we calculated our readers’ satisfaction with the category of Disney hotel at which they stayed. The results are shown in the chart below, and predict how happy you’ll be with each kind of Disney hotel, based on the kind of hotel at which you normally stay outside Walt Disney World.

   

Satisfaction With This Disney Resort Category

 

Off-site Resort Category Typically Stayed At

 

 

Value

 

Moderate

 

Deluxe

 

Value

 

85%

98%

93%

Moderate

 

89%

92%

95%

Deluxe

 

89%

93%

97%

The results show that families who normally stay at value or moderate properties outside of Walt Disney World are more satisfied when they upgrade to the next-highest category of resort.

We were mildly surprised to see these results. One reason is that most of the results were collected during the economic downturn, when (presumably) even families who could afford to visit Walt Disney World were still interested in spending less. Another reason is that Disney charges a premium for its hotels. The numbers show, however, that families are more satisfied even though they’re paying for a premium upgrade.

We asked two other questions in addition to our satisfaction ratings: “Would you stay here again?” and “Would you recommend this resort to a friend?” The results for both are shown below.

 

   

Would You Stay Here Again? (Yes answers shown)

 

Disney Resort Category

 

Off-site Resort Category Typically Stayed At

 

 

Value

 

Moderate

 

Deluxe

 

Value

 

85%

95%

82%

Moderate

 

85%

89%

85%

Deluxe

 

87%

92%

88%

 

   

Would You Recommend This Resort to a Friend?

 

 (Yes answers shown)

 

Disney Resort Category

 

Off-site Resort Category Typically Stayed At

 

 

Value

 

Moderate

 

Deluxe

 

Value

 

59%

79%

62%

Moderate

 

57%

71%

71%

Deluxe

 

63%

58%

73%

The interesting thing about these results is that Disney’s Moderate resorts were rated best in almost every scenario. Families are more likely to return to a Disney Moderate resort than any other category of hotel, and they’re more likely to recommend a Moderate to friends, unless the family normally stays at a Deluxe.

Our advice to families who are undecided about choosing a Value resort or a Moderate is to strongly consider the Moderate resort unless cost is the overwhelming factor in their decision. Unofficial Guide readers rank the Fort Wilderness cabins tops among Moderates, followed by Coronado Springs, Port Orleans French Quarter, Port Orleans Riverside and Caribbean Beach.