AllEars Readers Speak! The Best of Rate and Review

Compiled by Deb Wills, AllEars® Editor-in-Chief

Feature Article

This article appeared in the
November 4, 2008 Issue #472 of ALL EARS® (ISSN: 1533-0753)

Normally, this newsletter is rather autocratic.

That is, we do all the reviews — tell you what we think of Walt Disney World's restaurants, hotels, services, special events. We enjoy investigating the ins and outs of the Most Magical Place on Earth and presenting our opinions to you. We love sharing what we love, as well as letting you know about the things that we feel are, um, "not so much," as they say.

This week, though, we're letting you have your say! We've dipped into the vast pool of our Rate and Review section, where our readers (that's YOU!) share their thoughts about their favorite things.

From that, we've compiled "The Best of Rate and Review" for your reading pleasure this week. We're bringing you excerpts from a random sampling of honest, first-hand critiques from people who have recently experienced these Disney resorts. In a future issue, we'll cover dining.

This Election Day, we hope you enjoy learning what AllEars readers have chosen as their favorites (and in some cases least favorites) here on our site. And after you're finished reading, we hope you're motivated to go and vote yourself — in our Rate and Review section, to tell us all about any recent Disney experiences you may have had.

Our Rate and Review section not only has a large area for your comments but also asks you to rate the resort on a scale of 1 – 10 (10 being the best), with two options of either recommending or not recommending the resort. In addition, you can summarize the pros and cons of the resort, too. Upfront I'll tell you that none of the main resorts have a 100 percent recommendation rating, although a few come very close. Likewise, none are rated the absolute 10.0, but again, a few are close.

Let's start with the Value Resorts: Pop Century, All Star Music, Movies and Sports. I don't think the highest and the lowest rated will come as a surprise. POP Century is rated by our Readers #1 with 94% of you recommending the resort. You also gave it the highest point score of the four Value Resorts at 8.38. The lowest rated is All Star Sports (the first value resort at WDW). Just 86% of you recommend the resort and gave it a 7.36 overall rating. The Music and Movies resorts were right in the middle with 7.89 ratings and 90%-92% recommending.

Here are some of your reasons for rating POP Century so high: Price of room and Cleanliness were repeated over and over as pros to the resort. Also, wide selection at the food court, including free ICEE refills with a refillable mug, better comforter on bed, and just one bus stop. The downsides to POP Century: busy, crowded buses, no towels were provided at the pools, and packed food court especially in mornings.

Regarding All Star Sports: perhaps it is rated lowest since it is the oldest of the Value resorts, although the rooms were renovated last year. Your favorite things about the resort are price, and theming. What you don't like is the food court — limited selections, small and limited gift shop, overcrowded, bus service combined with other resorts, far from the parks, noise, lots of groups, noisy plumbing, inconsistent housekeeping, long walk to rooms.

Next up are the Moderate Resorts: Caribbean Beach, Coronado Springs, Port Orleans French Quarter and Port Orleans Riverside. Again, coincidence or not, the oldest moderate resort scored lowest — Caribbean Beach. The Port Orleans sister resorts were tied for first with 94% of you recommending them with an average 8.6 out of 10.

The French Quarter is beloved because of the beautiful grounds, location, theming, pool and size (the smallest of the moderates). Riverside is also loved for its theming, beautiful grounds and cast members. The downside, for some, to Riverside is the large size and bus system.

Both resorts offer a gentle boat ride to Downtown Disney, mentioned many times as a plus. The "cons" for the Port Orleans resort seem to be housekeeping.

The Deluxe Resorts include Animal Kingdom Lodge, Beach Club, Boardwalk Inn, Contemporary, Grand Floridian, Polynesian, Wilderness Lodge, Yacht Club, Swan and Dolphin. The number one resort is one of the oldest on property, which just happens to be on the monorail line — the Polynesian Resort. This is the only resort in the entire grouping that garnered a 9.0 rating from you. It is also recommended by 96% of all reviewers. The lowest of the Deluxe resorts is the Walt Disney World Dolphin, with a 7.8 rating and recommended by 82%. This one actually surprised me as I really enjoy the Dolphin resort, but like I said at the top, these are your reviews. Three resorts were tied for with 95% of the reviewers recommending them: Animal Kingdom Lodge, Boardwalk Inn and Wilderness Lodge.

The biggest pros about the Polynesian resort include being on the monorail line, the landscaping, peaceful surroundings, location, room size, pools, and views of the Magic Kingdom. The most often mentioned con is the Quick Service Eatery, Captain Cook's — many of you mentioned this.

Regarding the Dolphin, it seems that the reviews from 2008 are much better than 2007. In fact, the last review that did not recommend the resort was Summer of '07 where the comment was "simply not a Disney experience." You love the location but feel the rooms and beds are small, the resort is confusing to get around and there are too many conventions.

The Disney Vacation Club (DVC) resorts are next. While most of these rooms are occupied by DVC members, anyone can rent the rooms for cash just like the rest of the Disney resorts. These resorts had the highest overall ratings of any and only one of the six had less than a 91% recommendation rating. Top rated is the Beach Club Villas at 99% and 8.96; followed closely by the Boardwalk Villas at 98% and 8.41 rating. The lowest rating is for the Jambo House at Animal Kingdom Lodge where the existing rooms were converted into DVC villas. Still, at 89% with a 8.3 rating, that isn't very shabby.

The things you love about the Beach Club Villas include Stormalong Bay pool, closeness to Epcot, overall atmosphere, and the great rooms. The major complaint is the lack of sufficient quick service food options. What you don't like about Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas are the small food court, only one pool that isn't really themed, low lighting in the rooms and the small size for DVC rooms. Those things should change later in 2009 with the opening of the new Kidani Village next door to the Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Finally, the splurge of splurges, staying Concierge at eight Disney Deluxe Resorts. The highest rated concierge club is the Boardwalk's Innkeeper's Club, which is recommended by all 100% of the reviewers with a 9.4 rating. The Boardwalk Rooms and Concierge Lounge were renovated earlier this year so everything has a fresh clean look. You love the Concierge Cast Members and many folks mentioned them by name. You also love the location of the resort, the food offerings in the club and the beautiful landscaping. There were few complaints but the biggest one is the bus service. It should be noted that for years, the Polynesian's Concierge Level was rated highest however it seems to have fallen a few pegs.

The lowest rated Concierge Club may surprise you, the Grand Floridian recommended by only 83% of you with an average rating of 8.0. The pros are location, lounge areas, dining options, and amenities. The low points included several reviewers who felt the Cast Members were not up to par, the dormer rooms being quite small for a deluxe resort and that the Grand Floridian isn't as kid friendly as some of the other concierge clubs.

So, what do you think? We encourage you to visit our Rate and Review area to speak out and let us know what you think, not just about the resorts, but many other aspects about Walt Disney World including dining, kids clubs, special tours, and even the Disney Cruise Line and Disneyland.

Tell us what YOU think! All Ears® Rate and Review Resorts:


Editor's Note: This story/information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all current rates, information and other details before planning your trip.