What do you want to see added to your theme park hotel room?

April 24, 2012, 11:14 AM · What's included in the perfect hotel room? Theme Park Insider reader Joshua Counsil revived that topic on our discussion board this week, with a post about a great room he found in New York. In his post, Joshua referenced a Blog Flume entry I posted last year, where I listed the features I want to see in a hotel room when I travel.

Grand Californian Hotel room
A pretty nice, feature-filled room at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel at Disneyland

It looks like Disney's been asking its guests about their wish lists for in-room features, too. This week in the Orlando Sentinel, Jason Garcia reports some of the changes Walt Disney World is making to its hotel rooms as a result of its surveys.

Topping its list is the same thing that topped ours: free WiFi. The on-site hotels at Disneyland have had free WiFi for some time now, but the survey's prompted Disney to accelerate the roll-out of free WiFi in rooms and common areas at the WDW hotels, as well.

Perhaps its not surprising that Disney's hotel guests collectively had different priorities, based on whether they stayed at Value, Moderate or Deluxe hotels on property. The Value hotel guests most wanted in-room mini-fridges, while the Moderate hotel guests most valued getting an extra bed into their rooms.

So Disney's putting mini-fridges in all 8,500 on-property Value hotel rooms, and it's testing Murphy-style extra beds, hidden in armoires, at the Port Orleans Resort for a potential roll-out to other Moderate resorts.

Jason's article didn't mention what the extra features Deluxe hotel guests most wanted after the free WiFi. I'd love to hear from Theme Park Insider readers what you'd have liked to see added to the on-property theme park hotel rooms you've stayed at recently.

Replies (17)

April 24, 2012 at 11:29 AM · Free Wi-Fi is an amenity that I have wanted for years at the on-site hotels. Other than that, I can't really think of anything else. I try not to stay in the resort room for long periods of time other than to sleep at night. Why stay in the room all day when there is so much to do elsewhere? The last time I stayed on property in Orlando was at the Hard Rock Hotel at the Universal Resort. Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't remember free Wi-Fi within the room, only the lobby. It did have the mini fridge which was great. I just don't believe that these companies should be adding too much as it would peel people away from the other great experiences. On second thought, go ahead and put in as much as possible so I can get shorter lines, haha.
April 24, 2012 at 11:31 AM · Personally, I'm glad they're putting mini-fridges into the value rooms, 'cause we paid something along the lines of.. I think.. $20 a night for a week just for the privilege of having cold drinks when we came back to the hotel room in the evening and in the morning when we woke up.

Other than that, really, a hotel room is a place you're not spending a ton of time, so as long as I've got wi-fi for the times I AM in the room, I'm peachy.

April 24, 2012 at 11:48 AM · Glad you asked. Since I own a timeshare, I enjoy some amenities that timeshares have, but hotels/motels do not have and vice versa. The best thing is they are converging rather than getting further apart.

Hotel rooms are getting more space. They have hair dryers so it doesn't need to be packed. They are offering free continental breakfasts (this is what I look for before booking) and coffee machines thus saving a lot of money and time in the morning. The refrigerators are a great addition especially when they aren't filled up with snacks for purchase. What they don't have is clothes washer and dryers.

Timeshares are great for relaxing in more space so I don't have leave the room. I can eat in the room for breakfast or dinner by bringing my own and fixing it in the full kitchen. I can use the dish washer to save time. I can use the clother washer/dryer so I don't have to pack so much clothing. Timeshares usually are a step-up from moderate and below luxury. Thus I feel they are a terrific value after you get over paying for it and the yearly maintenance fee.

More and more timeshare resorts have these spectacularly large pools with slides. I don't feel like I need to visit Disney's pool parks when I can just enjoy my resort.

April 24, 2012 at 12:32 PM · Hi Brian,

You are right about WiFi at the Hard Rock. Only I discovered the signal worked in our room, pool area and just about everywhere else.

It would drop down to one bar as you got close to the paths that lead to the parks. I never checked the CityWalk, but I will on our trip in June.

I don't imagine you had very much trouble with lines when you stayed at the Hard Rock. :) Almost every ride is a walk on except Rip Ride Rockit and Forbidden Journey. The previous 90 minute waits for Pteradon Flyers has been eliminated with the new ride policy. The days of 300 Brazilian tourists clogging up the queue for a kids ride are over.

April 24, 2012 at 12:31 PM · There should be a small LCD screen in all the rooms that display current crowd levels at each park like green, yellow and red. Also they should have all the current wait times of the rides on the screen. They can include weather and news updates as well.
April 24, 2012 at 12:43 PM · Justin, that is a good idea except they could simply have a channel on the TV to do the same thing. Most resorts have a propaganda channel that gives you an overview of the parks. They could simply stream the weather and ride wait time info across the bottom like ESPN and all the news channels have been doing for years.
April 24, 2012 at 12:48 PM · I've always wished for a simple curtain to block a bed, both for privacy and for smaller kids with an earlier bedtime than the grown-ups. This has always been a problem for us. Suites cost so much more, but just putting bunkbeds against a wall with a curtain could make life far easier for parents. I've spent quite a few hotel evenings sitting reading in the bathroom as it distracted my kiddo if I was in the main room with the light on.
April 24, 2012 at 1:04 PM · I would have to add, they should have extra comfortable mattresses and high thread count sheets. This made the difference when I went to a value priced motel (Best Western) a few weeks ago. They cheaped out on the cable shows offered on the television. As an alternative, they offered free DVD checkouts. Luckily, few patrons checked out the latest movies so I got what I wanted. The toilet was fine, but they could have improved upon the bath tub. Deeper tubs is my preference since I'm a tall guy.

One thing that I loved about my cruise experience is they have a pull-out shower head. They also have liquid soap dispensers. No more fooling around with soap bars. All hotels should offer this.

April 24, 2012 at 1:13 PM · NB yes a tv channel would be easier, but I think a interactive touch screen would be better. They also should include a system to allow you to make dinner reservations, and detailed descriptions of all the rides and shows. Having it be an interactive touch screen would allow the user more control than just a tv channel that plays over and over again.
April 24, 2012 at 2:04 PM · The Universal on site hotels have free internet for Lowe's "You Too" Blue Level & up members.
April 24, 2012 at 2:56 PM · NB,

Thanks, I thought that was the case. Too true on the short lines. Gotta love that Express!

April 24, 2012 at 4:37 PM · Justin,

I design interactive touch screens, (we call them GUIs or UIs) so I would be all for that.... I am working on one right now. Most of what I create do has to do with controlling all the systems in rather large houses from a single location, but I am responsible for making sure the UI is simple, clean, easy-to-use and graphically dazzling.

Proprietary touch screens, even small ones can run 4K a pop, it would be cheaper to use iPads with tamper proof in-wall docks that are locked into a custom written app.

Universal has 2400 on-site rooms, Disney has 28,000 rooms they consider to be on-site, even though some are miles from the parks. It could probably be done for about $1500 per room, but you are talking 3.6M for Universal alone. The Disney bill could run $42M if they were in every room.

April 24, 2012 at 4:55 PM · We always rent a home. Much cheaper then renting 2 rooms at Disney and I hate taking the bus to go to a park, I rather drive a rental car.
In the end we get more space, bigger tv´s, more rooms, privat pool and often a nice game room.
April 25, 2012 at 5:25 AM · NB,

I was just giving a idea I had, Robert never asked for me to submit a business plan as well to document the financial implications. Anyways this sort of technology is already available in hotel rooms in Orlando, I stayed at the Westin Imagine last year and my room was outfitted with a touchscreen display that had a lot of useful info about Orlando and the hotel. So I don’t think its as much of stretch as you think that Disney or Universal could implement something similar and have it linked with the parks. Also I think your cost estimate is on the high side as they would get a large volume discount for outfitting thousands of rooms with this.

April 25, 2012 at 10:27 AM · Better sound proofing between the rooms. I hate listening to screaming kids and adults alike from the next room.

I hate the liquid soap idea. There will be no soap bars to to take home. I haven't bought soap in years. Plus it's a little reminder of when you were on vacation.

April 25, 2012 at 2:34 PM · Better beds can make or break. My husband and I were at Cedar Point a few years ago and stayed in the "high end" hotel there - Hotel Breakers. Luckily it was before Memorial Day and I had a coupon, so the room only cost about 117 a day. Luckily, b/c that place is kind of a dump ( and I think we stayed in some of the newer rooms). But the worst was the beds. WORST beds EVER!!! In addition to be very uncomfortable, they were oddly super springy. If you moved an inch, the whole bed moved like a dingy in a Class 5 hurricane. Halfway through the first night, we gave up and slept in separate beds the rest of the week. Thank goodness we didn't have kids then; don't know how we would have managed.

And those same rooms went for something like 400+ bucks a night in the high season. Insane!

April 25, 2012 at 3:24 PM · Justin,

I was just doing some math to figure out what it may cost per room. I love the idea of touch screens. If you stay at the CityCenter in Vegas, some of the rooms have touch panels that allow you to call room service, concierge, check the weather, look up local restaurants etc.

They also control the audio/video, shades, lighing and climate. I know this because I designed them. :) I also know what it cost to put these in each room. The touch panels alone were right around $6000 each.

Basically, all I am saying is it could get expensive if they put them in every room. Someone still has to design them and write the software.

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