I just took a disturbing follow-up survey on my October 2010 stay at the Grand Californian. Basically, they wanted to know how many drastic restrictions to hotel booking policies I would put up with in order to get a discount, and how many free counter-service meals and drinks it would take to get me to pay full price.
Some of the more alarming proposed restrictions included completely non-refundable deposits, the elimination of Magic Mornings, and no choice in which of the three Disney hotels I was booked into.
We were asked to rank how restrictive we thought each of these were:
- Reservation deposits are not refundable, but are bankable for future use within two years
- Reservation deposits are not refundable, and cannot be banked for future use
- Choice of price range, but specific Resort assigned by the Disney Reservation system
- Full payment at time of booking
- Reservations are not eligible for upgrades
- Magic Mornings are not available
- Dining reservation booking window begins later than for other guests (30 days prior to arrival instead of 60 days)
Then we were asked to rank how appealing these (extra cost) benefits were:
- 1 free character breakfast
- 1 free quick-service breakfast entrée and drink per person per night
- Access to dining reservations 2 weeks before other guests
- 1 guaranteed World of Color FASTPASS for each member of party
- Guaranteed early check-in after 8am
- Complete reservation flexibility; no modification or cancellation fees
- Complimentary round-trip shuttle between California airports and your Disneyland resort hotel
- 1 free FASTPASS for each member of party per night of stay
- Access to free, supervised children's activities
- 1 Free refillable mug per person
- 1 guaranteed dining reservation at most Disneyland Resort restaurants.
The idea was that if we paid full price for our resort, we'd get one or more of these benefits, but if we paid a discounted rate, we'd have one more more of the restrictions. They assembled different combinations of benefits and restrictions and had us choose which of two combos we'd pick. The ones with lots of benefits always worked out to be several hundred dollars more per stay than the ones with all the restrictions.
I know this is just a survey (remember the "Club 33 at DCA" survey?), but I'm hoping it's not also a vision of things to come...