Hopefully I will get off my bum and give you guys a trip report soon, but until then, I wanted to tell you guys about our bad experience. This is going to be really long, so forgive any type-os.
From May 8 to May 15, 2004, we had our honeymoon at WDW and stayed at the Boardwalk Inn Concierge. The hotel is very nice, the front desk staff was great, however the Concierge staff and service was horrid (if this wasn't a kid friendly site, I would have several other words for it).
First of all, I called the concierge desk several times in advance to try to impress upon them how badly my fiance wanted us to have a king bed, and I wanted a boardwalk view. We currently have a queen bed and having a king bed makes a trip more of a getaway comfort. I was told by a lady who was very nice on the phone to call them back about a week before we were to arrive, because the concierge staff makes the room assignments and they don't get the guest info until about a week before the guests arrive.
So, I called about six days before we were to arrive and was given the "can't guarrantee any room requests", honeymoon or not.
On May 8, we arrived early, about 12:45 in the afternoon, expecting to get checked into the concierge level quickly and be able to make our 2:00 late lunch PS at the Rainforst Cafe in the Animal Kingdom. Our Tiffany Towncar driver Waseem (great guy) unloaded our luggage and we told the bellman that we were concierge guests and asked about the special concierge check in. He said we had to go to the front desk and check in like everybody else, but he takes our luggage and stores it until we can get checked into our room since we were early for check in.
We walk into the lobby and get in line for the front desk. After about 10 minutes in line we were next in line and were waved over to an unused section of the front desk by a resort CM named Linda (who turned out to be the star service person for us, basically our service salvation and saved the Boardwalk Inn from being a totally terrible experience). Linda started working on getting us checked in. She said that our room was ready and in about 15 or so minutes she had us checked in. She gave us our $100 disney dollars that came with the package, and a voucher to get our pins and lanyards from a store on the Boardwalk. With all that taken care of she gave us our nifty gold room keys, or "Keys to the World." She gives us a document detailing the concierge service, tells us how to find our room, and said we had to stop by the concierge desk to check in with them. We then give the person at the bellstand our luggage card and he said our luggage would be up shortly. Then we take off to find our room.
When I made our reservations, I told the disney travel CM we would be on our honeymoon, and she took my number and said she would call me back. When she called me back, she said she had spoken to several people at Disney guest services and had a very nice plan set up for us. She went on about where we would stay and they she had set up for us to receive a Honeymooner basket, and that we would receive the special honeymoon lanyards (which I had been really wanting) and the special Boardwalk honeymoon pins as part of the basket. I thought this was awsome because my fiance absolutely loves flowers and I thought it would be a great suprize for her.
We go to the fourth floor and walk a good ways and find the entrance to the
"Innkeeper's Club," or concierge area. The door is wide open, there is nobody at the desk in the hall. There is a note on the desk which said that anybody who needed help should see the guest services desk in the lobby. I thought that was odd since we were supposed to check in with the concierge. We find our room, which was right by the concierge lounge (cool). We walk into the concierge lounge and there are a few guests sitting around but still no concierge staff. The snack foods are laid out and anybody in the hotel could walk in and ding in if they wanted. During our whole stay, they never checked our room keys to verify we were concierge guests when we ate the snacks or took sodas to our room. We go back to our room and walk in. I am expecting my new wife to be thrilled with the flowers and honeymoon basket, and hopefully a king bed and maybe a Boardwalk view. We walk in and see two queen beds, a balcony view of half of a roof, and half of a garden, no honeymoon basket, no flowers. I admit that I was dissappointed and that started my irritation.
The bellman shows up with our luggage and as he is unloading it, one of the concierge staff walks by our room with some white balloons. She passes the room then turns around and asks over the bellman's shoulder "Are you Mr. Reed?". I replied that I was and she handed me a card with three white balloons attached over the bellman's shoulder. I then start to feel better. I look it it and it is a 5x7 picture of Alladin and Jasmine in a greeting card type of frame. On the front cover of the card it said something like "To the Reed, Congratulations and have a magical time at Walt Disney World." The card was signed by Alladdin and Jasmine. I thought that was pretty cool, but who is "The Reed"? Was it me or my new wife? haha I assumed this was to be the only "honeymoon basket" were were to receive, and sighed.
We got our gear stowed and I noticed that during checkin, nothing was said about the Silver package we had purchased and added on to our dreammaker package. We head out intending to go to the Animal Kingdom to make our 2:00 PS and I stopped by the front desk and asked Linda about our Siver plan. She said that it was not on our reservation and started doing some checking. She called a manager over and there wound up being about three people working to get our problem fixed. After about 15 minutes my new wife was looking very aggrivated (we were both very hungry, only haveing a small nutrition bar early before our flight, not to mention the wait in line for checkin) and after about 30 minutes, they had the problem fixed. Well it was about 1:55. We were not going to be able to make oru 2:00 PS. We decide to go to the Concierge lounge, eat some of the snacks available, and have the concierge take care of our PS problem. We go into the lounge and eat some spicy bread with a sour cream and chive type dip, have a few goldfish, and a couple of diet cokes. Amazingly a concierge cm walked into the room. I tell her how we missed our 2:00 PS and ask if she can make us a new one. She said sure and got on the phone. After about 15 minutes she said she could not get a set PS time but they they said anytime after 3:00 would be good. So we basically had to walk in and hope they could get us a table, so much for her help. Later in the week I made my own PS for the Rainforest Cafe, about 4 hours before we arrive and it only took about 4 minutes and we had a set time. This started the downspin of the service and our feelings/opinion of the Concierge staff at the Boardwalk Inn.
Every other service request we had for the Concierge turned up with no service at all.
I asked for them to cancel my tickets for Mickey's Backyard BBQ, but they said that you had to cancel within 48 hours, and it was only 24 hours at the time of my request. You would think that with the amount of money you pay for concierge service they could take care of it. After all, a concierge is supposed to be able to "get things done, and get hard to get things for you."
I asked for them to get me some Cirque de Soleil - La Nouba tickets for me, well they said their computer was getting serviced and I would have to go down to the first floor lobby to guest services or the front desk to get them. Once again, you would think that for the money we spent on concierge rooms, they could walk and get the tickets for us.
Then, to top it off, and what really lit my fuse, I looked into what happened to the honeymoon basket. On Wednesday, out of curiosity, I spoke to a concierge cm named Marta. I told Marta that we were supposed to have gotten a honeymoon basket in our room when we checked in, but we had been there 4 days and it had not showed up. She told me to wait a minute and walked into a door that said "Cast Members Only." I heard her through the door speaking to another lady, whose name I forgot to note. I heard Marta tell the lady that there was a guest asking about a honeymoon basket that they did not receive. The lady asked Marta if it was on our papers. Marta said something I could not hear, and the lady replied "Is he still out there? I will go talk to him," with an attitude in her voice like she was going to tell me off. The lady walked out of the CM Only room and asked what I needed. I explained the situation about the honeymoon basket, and she asked me if it was on the paperwork we received in the mail. I told her that it was not, and she replied "If it isn't on your paperwork, you don't get it." I replied that guest services had set it up and that I knew it was supposed to be there and she again said "If it isn't on your paperwork, you don't get it." I knew we sere supposed to get it because I had spoke to a seperate disney travel CM about our reservation and he congratulated me on the wedding. I asked him how he knew and he said that he saw in the reservation notes "Honeymoon Couple" and "Honeymoon basket per guest services." I told him that wasn't on my documentation and he said that it wasn't because the reservation notes are not made available to the guests. They put items in the reservation notes that they don't want the guests to know about. In our case, to suprise my new wife with a honeymoon basket. So I thanked her for her rudeness and absolute lack of help and walked back down to the first floor and spoke with wonderful Linda at the front desk again. I told her about how we were supposed to get the basket and asked if the picture of Alladin and Jasmine were supposed to be the basked and she said "No way!". She said that she had sent the photo card and balloons up herself (man she was great). She pulled up my reservation and said that she saw in the notes about the honeymoon couple and honeymoon basket and immediatly got on the phone. It took her an hour of calling guest services, the florist, and central reservations, but she got it fixed. She apologized over and over again. She showed me a photo of the gift basket and it had the cool Boardwalk Honeymooner collector pins with it. When I told her that the concierge staff would not even look into the matter for me, and how I had not received any other service from them, she advised me to write a letter to complain, and even gave me the address. Late that evening, when we got back from a late extra evening magic hours at the parks, the basket was waiting for us. It had a chilled bottle of some kind of Fairy Tale champaign, a little treasure chest of massage type products(bath salts, oil, a massage pad thingie, scented candle), a card greatly apologizing for the wait and inconvience, and a neat box, shapped like a hidden mickey, made of white chocolate, with Boardwalk Inn written on the lid. Inside the chocolate box were white and milk chocolates shaped like hidden mickeys. Not exactly what I expected, but pretty cool. ( I really wanted those cool pins ) The next day, when the concierge was again no help and I went back to the front desk to get my La Nouba tickets. Linda asked if we had gotten a suprise in our room. I replied that we did and thanked her strongly. She asked about the flowers and I said that we didn't get any flowers. I told her what we did get and she said "ah, ok" like the massage chest took the place of the flowers, which was cool. I told her we didn't get the pins and she got up set. She got on the phones and called the florist, who said that they were out of the pins, so we got the chocolates . Oh well, at least we got something, and the mickey shaped box made of chocolate was pretty neat.
Another thing was that we were charged for guest parking on our "Express checkout" receipt when we didn't even have a car there. So I had to again go stand in line to get that taken care of, since there were no CMs in the concierge area and their computer system was probably still down. (I kind of doubt it was ever down and that they were all a bunch of lazy **&^#@!)Luckilly Linda saw me waiting in line and called me over to an empty spot on the front desk.
We didn't get any of that special "magic" that everybody talks about getting at Disney resorts. We didn't get any towel animals, even though I tipped from three to five dollars a day for the maids. Only got turn down service twice in seven nights, when concierge guests are supposed to get it daily without requesting it. The only thing that made our rooms any differant than any other hotel were the mickey mouse toiletries (didn't care much for the shampoo, weak lather).
The food served in the AM was about even with what you would get at a Holiday Inn or Best Western. The snacks through the day were neat, little snacks made of bread topped with different things, and the sodas supplied. Still did not make it worth the the money. With the amount a concierge room costs over a standard room, I could have easily eaten at a nice character breakfast each morning.
When Waseem, our Tiffany Towncar driver, picked us up, we gripped to him about the horrid concierge service and he said that we were about the fourth customers he had that week to complain about concierge service. He said that he had two older ladies the previous day complaining about the concierge service at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. He said the ladies were multiple repeat customers of his and they always stayed in a concierge level room. He said that they were complaining to him about how bad the concierge service was at the AKL. He said they told him that when he dropped them off at the AKL, they felt like they were completely alone and that not a sole in the concierge staff cared if they were there or not. He said they were so angry that when he picked them up to go to the airport, the bellman asked them something and they told him to be quiet, because they didn't want to speak with anybody from that resort ever again.
Basically, the Boardwalk Inn is a nice hotel, with semi hard beds, a great location, wonderful front desk staff (thanks Linda ) and a terrible, horrid concierge service .
What angers me the most, is that there is no way we could have afforded to pay for a concierge stay on our own. We used money that was given to us by our families specifically for the wedding/honeymoon. I am angry that we wasted their money on a hotel stay that was no better than a stay at an average Holiday Inn. We could have taken a second small vacation almost for the extra money we spent on concierge, which was wasted since we got nothing for it except a few diet cokes and nibbles of a snack. The only reason we went concierge in the first place was to really "live it up" on our honeymoon.
I have attended conferences for work in New Orleans, and we were put up in the Ritz-Carlton. Now that is luxury and service. You ask them for something and they break their necks to do it, even if you are in the most inexpensive room. One day I included with my tip for housekeeping a note thanking them for the chocolates they left on the pillows with the turndown service they provide for all guests, and saying how much I liked them. When I got in that evening, there were twenty chocolates on my bed.
That is service, and it cost much less than the Boardwalk Inn Concierge.
I know some people may flame me for ranting about their favorite resort, but they earned it, and I will never stay in a concierge service room at Disney again.