Some premium Disney hotels are more expensive than the Four Seasons, but almost all of their resort pricing is just as Goofy.
If you are considering booking travel or signing up for a new credit card please click here. Both support LiveAndLetsFly.com.
If you haven’t followed us on Facebook or Instagram, add us today.
Disney Resorts Add Something To The Experience
Disney hotels and resorts provide a little extra magic for their guests in a lot of ways small and large. Characters appear at breakfast and allow fans to interact in exclusive opportunities for guests. Rooms are themed to enhance the guest’s overall Disney experience. Little touches are the most important and may be as simple as the way towels are folded by housekeeping staff.
Some Disney Hotels More Expensive Than Four Seasons
Disney has lost its mind!
I’ll focus primarily on the Florida resorts because Disney has so many properties to support their four theme parks, two water parks, golf course and shopping center, Disney Springs compared to California’s three hotels.
When searching the oft mentioned Grand Floridian I was floored to see prices surpassing $1100/night. It was clearly a busy weekend for premium resorts because the Ritz-Carlton Orlando and the Four Seasons (on Disney property) were also much higher than usual. That said, for $1,179/nt the rooms should have butler service, brand new renovations, the very highest levels of luxury, right?
I had to see what it was all about, 1800 thread count Egyptian cotton? Maybe panoramic windows, or it’s an all-suite property, perhaps balconies and terraces and steam showers with Japanese bidets in the bathroom. But no, despite a renovation the hotel has kept its “town and country” charm. One reviewer said:
“My biggest complaint about the Grand Floridian used to be that, while ornately detailed, it felt way too much like you were staying in the guest room of your well-to-do grandma who was out of touch with interior decorating styles of the last 20 years.”
But following renovation:
“The refurbishment simplified the look of the rooms, making them much less visually busy while still retaining a requisite level of sophistication.”
For comparison, here is what you get with the Four Seasons:
Pricing Is Sky High Across the Board, Even “Value” Resorts
Given the number of Disney World properties (30+) it’s no surprise that Mickey offers something for all price points and even offers camping and RV parks. But looking down market at the “Value” resorts like Pop Century which features exterior entrances and plain jane, small rooms go for $197/nt.
The La Quinta, by comparison, is half the price and looks just as nice if not nicer.
When you consider that all three full-service hotels I have reviewed for this blog (Hilton Bonnet Creek, Hilton Buena Vista Palace and Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress) had nicer rooms if not incredible suites for at or less than the price of Pop Century, it’s a wonder why anyone books these at all.
I am fully aware that some just want the Disney experience start-to-finish and may not take a trip to Disney World but once every three or four years, they don’t mind spending big on their trips. However, for less money and a better experience at every price point, those guests would be able to return to Disney more often and for less money by staying at competing properties. Many of those properties still have access to Extra Magic Hours, 60-day access to Fast Pass and sometimes even character breakfasts.
If the Grandma Floridian was a better property, then maybe it should be priced higher. But more expensive than the objectively better Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton or even the ultra-exclusive Park Hyatt Maldives is just absurd. Mickey’s gone goofy.
What do you think? Is Mickey losing his ever-loving mind? Is this just a result of the market that wants to stay there and doesn’t care about quality? What about the value resorts?
Disney is all about flexibility, my family goes once a year and we live in Philadelphia, we go early September or December, and value hotels are a value – around 120 a night – What really amazes me is the amount of people that don’t use Disney Vacation rental companies and stay at the fancy Disney hotels for a fraction of the cost.
We stayed at the Polynesian over Thanksgiving several years ago, in a club level room.
This place was a dump, no other way to say it. Deferred maintenance everywhere you looked, broken exterior locks, peeling paint, battered woodwork, etc. Housekeeping, or as they call it, mousekeeping, was awful. A dirty diaper lay in the hallway for two days. The carpet in the hallway was not vacuumed the entire length of our stay, made obvious by the bright orange cheeseball crumbs.
The only reason we didn’t check out was it was important to my son that we stay AT Disney. Never again. We could have stayed at any of the Marriott properties on point and both the Four Seasons and Waldorf Astoria for less.
It doesn’t sound like the author has actually stayed at a Disney property. As someone who has so many times, here a few things readers should note. There is a Disney “extra magic hour” where on property guests can either enter early or leave later than other park admission guests. There also is the ability to have purchases shipped to your room I belief so you don’t have to lug them around at the parks, there also is the ability to charge in park purchases to your room. Disney hotels after using for almost 20 years have a significantly higher propensity to “make it right” and a great experience when problems arise. Much more than any non luxury chain. With all that said it’s more a time and convenience proposition than actually room proposition. All properties at any price point on property are moderate. Disney does not have luxury IMHO as the author states. A much nicer experience though for folks making Disney a big trip and where time and experience are valued.
Christopher, two quick notes: Many properties that are not owned by Disney but are in the vicinity also have the same Fast Pass 60-day window and extra magic hours (two of the ones I linked to have this). Additionally, you can ship your purchases to the front gates for collection later which doesn’t put them in your hotel room but does avoid lugging them around.
Characters show up to breakfast at the Motel 6 down the road as well but not the same thing I guess 🙂
I always tell people it is cheaper to go to Europe or Asia than to go to Disney and pretend you are in those places. Maybe I should stop as I don’t want those hoards of people showing up to the places I really love. I like Disney and nobody does hotel service as well as Disney but the price is out of hand.
You are not wrong about that. I just spent 4 nights at the Fairmont Mara Safari Club for $352/night full board and 2 game drives per night in the shoulder season. A similar stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge is pricing out at $460 room only.
Their hotels are full so it isn’t Mickey who has lost his mind. People will reach their breaking point eventually or the economy will turn down.
Disney charges more for being able to offer the Disney experience. I just stayed at Aulani from renting DVC points, and at that price it was a reasonable deal. If I was paying the room rates they were wanting, no way. Everyone is friendly, and there are magical touches all around, but insanely expensive at rack rates. I am looking at a Disney trip next year, but waiting for availability to show up in RCI so I can stay at Saratoga Springs for ~$1000 for a week compared to paying Disney prices.
Yup, reviews like this is why I’ve decided to go for the Four Seasons instead of a Disney Deluxe property.
I should never have let myself get started on this subject…..
I picked an on-site deluxe because my son wanted a full Disney experience and I thought Disney transportation to the parks would be quicker than if we stayed off property.
Disney delivered on experience but the bus transfers were slow and annoying.
Disney runs the “resorts” for Disney-thinking Guests. All table service restaurants require advance reservations, it’s part of the thrill of the chase, booking dining as soon as the window opens X days ahead of your stay.
We arrived at 1pm and wanted to have lunch at Kona Cafe. We were told no, you need a reservation even though there were many empty tables. I went to the front desk to ask for assistance. Same answer, no ADR, no lunch. I took it all the way up to the resort general manager who walked us over to the host station and told them to seat us.
Can you imagine going to $800 a night hotel or resort and being told no, you can’t eat during normal dining hours when there are plenty of available tables?
Disney charges what they do for the same reason my former dogs used to lick a certain part of their anatomy – because they can. They know people will pay the price for the privilege of being “on property”, no matter how ridiculous. As a Di$ney shareholder, I thank them all, by the way.
My husband and son have a fun stock account and hold Disney stock so yes, we are also grateful for those that drink the Disney Kool-aid
I too am chocked that anyone would pay their prices.
Go during a less popular time. That way you’ll have lower prices and less crowds. Unless you’re rich, in which case you don’t care anyway.
AHEM! That’s golf courseS (plural) – four of them in fact – thank you very much!
A bit more seriously, this is absolutely the law of supply and demand at work. Same with park prices. Disney sets prices to maintain a certain occupancy level, period. If there weren’t the demand, these prices would not exist. I mention the park prices as park admission not too long ago topped $100 for a one-day, one park ticket. The parks, as big as they are, have capacity limits, and Disney has had to stop admitting guests at times, which is bad for everyone involved. Price is about the only tool they have to control demand in both cases.
To my way of thinking their is little doubt that Disney and everything associated with it represents poor value for the consumer. From outrageous park tickets, to overpriced food and drink, overpriced trinkets, and as highlighted here delusional hotel rates. You wonder why anyone would pay those prices.
Of course the simple fact is that for Disney they may be priced too low. Demand for the park product continues to outstrip supply and the ticket price increases have not dented that one iota. Frankly It would seem that given demand Disney continues to underprice their product. Clearly Disney has no trouble filling their hotels even at these astronomical prices. Something made even more remarkable by the outdated product they actually sell.
Anyone that pays those prices for Disney hotels are plain dumb, My “go to” hotel in Orlando is the Waldorf Astoria which is located close to the attractions but in a quiet spot.