Before you choose a resort based on price alone, consider this: our reader surveys indicate you’ll be more satisfied with your hotel choice if it’s slightly more expensive than the hotels you typically stay at.
Since 2009 our Disney survey has asked readers to name the kinds of hotels they generally choose when on vacation somewhere other than Disney. We list the top hotel chains in every category, from value choices such as Days Inn and Super 8, through high-end resorts including Four Seasons and Ritz-Carlton, and we provide a space for folks to name other resorts.
Next, we calculate how satisfied our readers are at their Disney hotel based on the kinds of hotels they typically stay at on trips excluding Walt Disney World. For example, if you typically stay at a mid-priced hotel such as Holiday Inn, how satisfied are you likely to be with Disney’s moderate resorts? The chart below shows the results.
If you typically stay at this kind of hotel… You’re most likely to be satisfied with this kind of Disney resort Value Moderate (98%) Moderate DVC (96%) or Moderate (93%) Upscale Deluxe (97%) Deluxe Deluxe (98%) Vacation Home/Condo Moderate (98%)
In general, readers report that they’re most satisfied staying at a hotel one category “up” from their typical, non-Disney choices. The Disney moderate resorts do particularly well overall. Note that these results explicitly take into account the price differences among the resorts. That is, even after taking into account that moderate resorts are more expensive than value resorts, readers who stay typically stay at value resorts are still more satisfied at a moderate than a value when at Disney.
We think that measuring satisfaction based on a reader’s background is more meaningful than simply reporting the satisfaction of all readers. On the Web, you typically don’t know the basis by which other people judge hotels. The result is a jumble of ratings which often make little sense in aggregate. As we went to press, for example, TripAdvisor.com’s reader rankings placed Disney’s Pop Century – a value resort – one spot higher than Disney’s flagship Grand Floridian, a deluxe resort. Trip Advisor’s users also rated both as four-star hotels. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with Pop Century, no objective review would place it on the same level as the Grand Floridian.