Need to manage expectations on DVB A review of Disney's Vero Beach Resort
Our family (2 adults and 2 children - 6 and 10 years old) stayed at Disney Vero Beach (DVB) on June 25, 26 and 27 in room 2214. In the interest of full disclosure, our views of DVB may have been influenced by the accommodations and level of service we experienced at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Resort in Orlando immediately prior to moving south to DVB, for the balance of our vacation. In stark contrast to DVB, the Hyatt was extremely well maintained and comfortable with outstanding service and facilities. While the Hyatt room rate was slightly higher than DVB ($210 vs. $195) there was a significant spread in the vacation value in favor of the Hyatt. With that backdrop, I offer the following observations on DVB:Room While I would expect a rusted tub and highly active ant traffic in a summer rental cottage in Wisconsin, I certainly did not expect this at a "resort" run by the Disney Company. Unfortunately, it appears that our experience with ants was not unique What was most distressing about the ants that traveled from the balcony, on to the baseboard that runs the length of the room and up to the kitchenette facilities was the fact that the "clean glassware" was placed on the counter by the housekeeping staff. The sight of the ants crawling on the glasses was not a confidence builder.Even a casual observer of room cleanliness would have detected and presumably dealt with the ant problem. However, there appears to be a disconnect between your housekeeping and facilities maintenance. Or, this may be an acceptable level of cleanliness in your facility. The ant issue was only overshadowed by the refrigerator "fragrance." We had hoped to use the fridge to store cold drinks, but the stench that emanated from within was overwhelming. While the interior and exterior surfaces were visibly clean, the malodorous state of the equipment was overwhelming. One of our children described the smell as that of a "dirty diaper" but having some experience in that area, I can confidently state that the degree of stench bordered on putrid. Needless to say, we did not take advantage of this convenience. In terms of timing for housekeeping, it was more than frustrating to have the housekeeping staff appear at 4:00PM on 6/27. If this were a twice-daily housekeeping facility (it is not), this would not have been an imposition. However, that was not the case. This was the one and only service we would have for the day and it was attempted at the time when we were all getting cleaned or dressed for dinner. Rather than be displaced, we opted for a quick towel exchange.Now, had housekeeping appeared earlier in the day, I would hope that the following problem would have been preemptively dealt with. Unfortunately, they did not and it was not. Upon returning to our room on 6/27, I placed our wet swimsuits on the balcony furniture to dry. Upon stepping out the sliding door, I was taken aback by the insect activity on the floor. A colony of ants (not the black ones using the baseboard as a freeway, was "working over" a carcass of another "thing." When my wife saw what was going on she inquired about the "thing." I explained that it was a large Florida bug and quickly kicked it into the corner. I later disposed of it by kicking it into the drainpipe. Based upon a reasonable degree of rodent expertise, it is my opinion that the thing was a dead mouse (not the kind with black round ears and white gloves) the kind with gray fur.Noise The pool area officially closes at 10:00PM but unfortunately for those of us lucky enough to be overlooking the pool area, as we were in 2214, the stragglers and the associated noise carry on well after closing time.Pool While the Pirates ship area is fun and well laid out, there is no enforcement of the posted maximum height requirements. What happens is that toddlers and much larger children are competing for space and equipment. Unfortunately, there are many adults who simply checkout and who do not supervise their children, so voluntary cooperation does not work. A related problem is the number of smokers who would ring the children's pirate ship play area. Sadly, there are many inconsiderate adults subjecting not only their own children, but also other children, to second hand smoke. If there are no smoking signs posted, I did not see them, and if there are posted rules they should be enforced (e.g. height requirements for the Pirate ship).Food and Service Service at Shutters was very good and the meals were above average. What I did find odd was the pamphlet that accompanied the tab, which described tipping practices (e.g. customary tipping is in the 15-20% range). On the other hand, the food served poolside at Bleachers was way overpriced and below average. It was amusing that the kids sand bucket meal was described as being served with fruit. Im not convinced that 7 grapes qualify as a fruit serving. Moreover, the subtle shakedown for tips was annoying. While I fully appreciate the level of service provided by tableside service at Shutters, I do not consider transactional counter service to be in the same class of service. Each time I made a purchase at Bleachers, I would get the same pitch from the cashier - Your subtotal is x if you will complete the information and total and sign - we will ... I would counsel your transactional service staff that the shakedown approach is counterproductive from both a monetary and reputation perspective. By the way, the beach equipment rental staff uses the same tip trolling approach. Again, as there was an actual service provided by this staff (e.g. dragged out lounge chairs and dug a hole for the umbrella), I gladly recognize their service. I simply object to the not so subtle pitch.With respect to service, there were 2 events that should be noted. On the morning of 6/28, I went to Shutters to purchase 2 coffees to take back to my room. My order was taken at the Host stand and I waited for 10 minutes. At that point I asked the Host if the location for the coffee was far away as it seemed like an inordinate amount of time to pour 2 cups. In response, the host offered two theories for the delay 1. that the coffee had run out or 2. that there was a lot of staff traffic around the coffee. Another staff member informed me that the coffee was located some distance into the kitchen and that perhaps that was what caused the delay. I found it odd that neither staff member had taken the initiative to investigate the delay, as opposed to just standing waiting with me. Five minutes later, the staff member did return with the coffee and she did explain that the coffee had run out and she was waiting on a new pot. It is interesting to note that the tab for the coffee had the tip section crossed out and the subtotal was totaled. Ironically, this is a service for which I believe a tip is appropriate.The second event took place on 6/29 at checkout. In response to the question, how was your stay from the Desk Staff, I indicated that it was mixed and that I would like to provide feedback via email to someone in the organization. At that point, the Staff had some idea that I was less than pleased but I offered no details. While searching for a WDW email address for me, another departing guest stepped up and asked if there were preprinted airport directions. Instead of asking that quest to wait until the business had concluded with me, the focus of your staff was then turned to the search for the airport directions. While the search continued, the other guest correctly offered to wait until I was finished, but the staff insisted in locating the directions. Upon finding the directions, the staff member apologized for the inconvenience caused by the other guest. I made it clear to your staff member that the time value judgment she just made unacceptable. This was poorly handled and only added to my increasing frustration level.General observations Property and exterior facilities were in very good shape. The interior hallways leading toward our room and the room itself were very tired, as noted above.Pool was nice but was crowded at peak times of the day.Beach was very nice.Closing I dont have any other timeshare experience to compare this with, but based on this event it appears that there may be another level of standards that are practiced by timeshare resort providers and accepted by patrons. I do know that I will do a much better job of due diligence in evaluating other timeshare or Disney properties. I hope this information is helpful.PS - I povided this information to DVB in a post stay survey and via email. As of July 27, there has been no reaction to this information by DVB.