Disneyland Hotel Review – Took My AirPods
The Disneyland Hotel has a long and storied history which is worth looking up and studying. I’m a hotel nerd and often talk about the history of big hotels in Vegas or New York City, but few have as interesting a past and legacy as the Disneyland Hotel. I mean the place basically used to be a theme park itself. Don’t believe me? It had its own marina! So it was cool back in the day, but how is it now and why did they take my AirPods?
My Recent Disneyland Hotel Stay
I recently had the pleasure of staying at the Disneyland Hotel courtesy of my friend who had some expiring DVC points he wanted to use. This is actually my second stay at the property and before I go further I want to be clear that I believe it to be a very special place even if I had my issues. Many don’t know but the size of the Disneyland Hotel was cut down in the early 2000s with the construction of Disney California Adventure and Downtown Disney. The property itself isn’t huge, but it is located very close to Disneyland and also comes with the nostalgia of having opened just a few months after the park in 1955.
Today the Disneyland Hotel is comprised of three towers (with a 4th DVC tower under construction) which were built over the years as expansions to the original bungalow buildings that no longer exist. Most/all of what you find at the Disneyland Hotel is not original due to a couple of 2000s era renovations, however there is still a lot to like. Highlights for me are Trader Sam’s which has delicious food (sit inside for the show!) and the pool which gets it right with plenty of space and some nice touches of nostalgia. I mean who doesn’t love a monorail themed waterslide?
Disneyland Hotel Review – The Room
The Disneyland Hotel room is not bad either, although you can tell the “bones” are old. The rooms were renovated late 2000s and perhaps are a bit dated, but the big drawback is the size. The bathroom is small and awkwardly split (not to mention you can hear your neighbor in the bathroom next door) and the room doesn’t offer a ton of space, but again you are just a few steps from Disney. In my opinion the best part of the room is the fireworks show on the headboard second only to the many hidden mickeys you can find all around the room. This isn’t a hotel room that you’d want to pay $400+ for anywhere else, but people do so gladly here.
Many who follow the site may know I don’t really love Disney hotels. I think Disney is a second tier hotel operator when it comes to the way they run their properties and you often get an experience 1 or 2 star levels below the price. Many disagree with me and that’s fine, but I do want to emphasize that the Disneyland Hotel is great and I LOVE the history, but the new Westin about a 5 minute walk down the street is a much nicer hotel at significantly less cost.
Disney’s Cutbacks Have Hurt the Guest Experience
While it is easy to forgive Disney’s hotel shortcomings because of the convenience of location, nostalgia and Disney magic, it has become increasingly hard to forgive their cutbacks and utter lack of care when it comes to the guest experience. Enter my AirPods experience which on a basic level shows what you can expect as a Disney hotel guest today.
I left my AirPods on the nightstand in my room in the Frontier Tower. A few hours later I realized what I had done and tracked the AirPods. They had been moved from the room I left them in all the way to the Fantasy Tower where the front desk (and I assume lost and found) is. You would think a simple call to the hotel would work, but alas that is where the problem begins and the customer experience devolves into something less than magical.
Disneyland’s Lost & Found – Is Anyone Home?
Disneyland Hotel is part of the Disneyland Resort, so they handle lost and found as a resort and not at each hotel/park/facility. This makes sense for theme parks, but I don’t think it makes sense for a smaller hotel. After calling the hotel directly we were told we had to fill out a form and wait for someone to contact us. This is despite us talking to someone at the actual hotel who probably could have walked over and found them. To their credit they said nothing was logged, but there was no way we could do anything other than filling out the form.
Being a good little Disney fan I went to the Disneyland website and filled out the form and waited for Mickey to personally respond. I wasn’t too enthused when I noticed the language on the automatic reply I received was not changed from the closure last March. Here is what it says.
H-E-L-L-O is anyone home? Surely a resort with 50K+ guests moving through it every day would not have cut their lost and found department. Surely someone is actually working this for guests who are losing items all of the time. Well I guess not or at least this guest wasn’t important enough because to this day my form has never been responded to.
I think it is telling how focused management is when they haven’t bothered to change the “we are closed” message almost 1 1/2 years AFTER they have reopened. I often walk around theme parks wondering if managers ever try to attempt what guests do to see how the experience is. In this case it would be nice for someone to see what the auto reply says considering it is way out of date.
AirPods Lost In Disney’s Black Hole of Customer Service
So back to the story. A week went by and no one responded to my inquiry, so we called the Disneyland Hotel again. After waiting on hold for awhile we were told they were never found. No one cared that we have proof they were moved from the room. No one is responsible for helping to find this stuff and no one can really help us figure out what happened. We know they were moved to another tower after all, but Disneyland simply doesn’t care nor do they offer me an option to speak to someone who can help.
It’s basically a “we’re sorry you’re out of luck” situation. In a normal hotel you’d simply call and they’d get your stuff, especially if you can track it, but at Disneyland that person is apparently laid off. As is the tram driver (Disney World just announced trams return in 2022) and so many other people who used to happily help give guests a magical experience. At a time where they have full parks and charge more than they have ever charged before you get this. Sigh.
Disney Cutbacks Suck But People Are Still Going
So what’s the purpose of this post? First, I don’t think an employee of the hotel stole my AirPods, but instead I think they got thrown into a system that gobbled them up without recourse. I also wanted to make sure to tell you the Disneyland Hotel is absolutely a place anyone who loves hotels, Disney and/or historic places should check out. Also, just like the rest of Disney, things aren’t quite the same today as pre-Covid. The cutbacks to the guest experience have been noticeable top down and I think this situation is a perfect example of that. This was not a premium experience and increasingly as of late Disney is just not a premium brand when it comes to their theme parks and hotels. Or at least as premium a brand as they used to be. And with people still lining up to visit they probably don’t have an incentive to be.
Disneyland Hotel Review – Bottom Line
The small rooms and lack of modernity at Disneyland Hotel are made up for with the history, awesome pool and location. It’s a hotel I love to visit and one I am happy to stay at. That said, the Disney magic and level of service people have come to know is now diminished. I experienced this throughout my stays before the pandemic at Walt Disney World, I’ve experienced it in the parks and my AirPods situation is just another example.
But will I continue to visit Disney? The answer is yes and they know that hence our current reality. Have you stayed at Disneyland Hotel or another Disney property lately? Share your thoughts in the comments.