Package and Mail Delivery fee of $5 per item from 12 Feb

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The Sassagoula Sentinel
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Package and Mail Delivery fee of $5 per item from 12 Feb

Unread post by The Sassagoula Sentinel » February 10th, 2017, 4:56 pm

Summary: As from 12 February 2017 there will be a $5 handling fee charged for every mail item and package delivered to guests staying at the resort.

Effective this Sunday, 12 February 2017, there will be a $5 handling fee charged for every incoming mail item or package delivered to the resort for guests. This follows a (presumably-successful?) trial carried out at the Value resorts over the last few months , during which I guess 'successful' was defined as making more money for Disney than before they started charging? With the current trend of nickel and diming guests at every opportunity, I can’t say I’m exactly surprised though. See https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/guest ... -services/ for the official announcement (tucked in after the bullet points at the bottom).

The fee is per box or envelope, whatever the size or shape - and regardless of whether it's a single small letter or a large heavy box. However the fee will not apply to deliveries dropped off in person at Bell Services such as Garden Grocer, Owner's Locker, etc. It also does not apply to internal WDW items such as Disney Florist, Disney Vacation Club and purchases made at the parks and sent back to your hotel, nor will it be charged for gifts or items that the guest wasn't expecting (such as items left by other guests, travel agent welcome packages, etc).

To be honest I think the biggest reason for this charge is the massive increase in the quantity of product that people are having shipping to them, which is I suspect due in large part to the prevalence of information, tips and suggestions passed round on the internet (including sites like this one). Also with airlines charging more for bringing stuff along as baggage, and Disney charging ever more for something as simple as a bottle of water, it will probably only get worse.

Ten years ago there would be a few guest items a day delivered to the resort, and this would be handled by front desk staff as needed. Now though, there is a constant flow of delivery people with boxes stacked to the ceiling throughout the day. POR has had to allocate a complete extra room (which used to be office space) solely for package storage, and there is now a dedicated staff member to handle everything.

While this does all seem like another case of biting the hand that feeds, I guess as long as the incremental revenue remains greater than the losses incurred from guests deciding that it’s no longer worthwhile to stay on property, this sort of thing will continue whatever anyone says. The next two charges that I fear we might see before too long will be the implementation of a resort parking fee, and/or the addition a per night resort surcharge - as if that wasn’t already embedded into the extraordinarily high rack rates which went up again by 7% per year. I do hope not, but only time will tell.

However if you are unhappy with this charge being surreptitiously added, I suggest you make your complaint known at the time and see what can be done about it.

Katy8715
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Joined: March 1st, 2017, 12:00 pm

Re: Package and Mail Delivery fee of $5 per item from 12 Feb

Unread post by Katy8715 » March 1st, 2017, 12:08 pm

This article is clearly written by somebody who does not work in the industry. It is entirely one sided and focuses on the fact that guests cannot get everything for free. Many properties especially resorts charge for package delivery. $5 is very minimal and probably does not even cover their labor costs not to mention the size of the resorts and often using a pargo to drive around to deliver.

As mentioned guests are often shipping massive packages or numerous packages. Especially now that airlines have taken away free checked luggage and some charging for carry on. It’s now cheaper sometimes to ship your stuff than to fly with it.

But of course Disney is just nickel and diming their guests and those guest absolutely never ever take advantage of the things Disney offer. (please note the dripping sarcasm)

As for the resort surcharge being added…every single hotel/resort surrounding Disney charges a resort charge. That is NORMAL for properties in these types of locations. It is not unique to Disney and it is not a Disney created concept. The writer is targeting one company while blinded to others. Hilton, Marriott, Starwood, IHG, all have properties with resort rates in locations across the globe, especially near WDW.

I just booked a room at All Star Sports on for a Star Wars race weekend for $114 plus tax. Disney’s rack rates are not that high. Yes Grand Flo and DAKL will be more expensive but that is your choice and the amenities offered are completely different. I cannot stay at the hotel I work at for $114 a night and we are not anywhere near something as massive as WDW. Wake up and stop crying because you can’t get the world for free or again did the writer forget that it is in fact Disney World.

Also if you are going to point out the negatives of a company a direct compare/contrast is more useful and don’t just continually bash. It is not effective and entirely transparent.

Finally, Disney is in fact a business. Not a not for profit… a full blown business. Their goal is to turn a profit. People often forget that. They forget because Disney doesn’t just provide a product for your money they provide an experience. You want a free experience? Go hike a mountain, you want to meet Mickey Mouse and ride Space Mountain? Buy a ticket. Staying on property will always be worth it. Extra magic hours, the free busses to the parks, free resort pick up for items purchased in the park, the free parking if you decide to drive, the pools, the movie nights at the pools that are complimentary to resort guests but sure go ahead pay just as much to stay at the Holiday Inn on property that will charge you for parking and everything else because they will deliver an envelope to you for free.

Stephen
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Re: Package and Mail Delivery fee of $5 per item from 12 Feb

Unread post by Stephen » March 1st, 2017, 12:54 pm

"You want a free experience?"
I wouldn't call paying $ 338.00 (+taxes) per night anywhere near a "free experience". If I arrive at a hotel for a birthday celebration I would not expect to pay $ 5.00 to receive a birthday card sent c/o a hotel.

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Re: Package and Mail Delivery fee of $5 per item from 12 Feb

Unread post by Admin » March 1st, 2017, 1:26 pm

Lots of good points there about the hotel industry in general, however I would point out that much of what you said was already covered in the explanations I wrote in the third and fourth paragraphs of my news piece. Oh, and the $5 per item fee is not for delivering anything to your room, it's for receiving an envelope or package handed over from the carrier and placing it on a shelf until you come to the lobby in person to collect it.

A couple of specific points worth considering though. You mention that an All Star value room can cost as little $114 per night - similar to some other local hotels - which is fair enough. However at Port Orleans the average cost per night for a basic (i.e. parking lot view) room is $255 per night in 2017 (which is 8% up from the 2016 rates), going up to an annual average of $329 (+6.5%) for the premium room locations. Contrast that with any other 'motel format' locations in the local area (i.e. central checkin/facilities area with multiple outlying low-rise accommodation buildings) and you can't fail to notice that there is already a huge extra cost for staying here, and for that cost it is quite understandable that guests expect a lot of 'extras' to be included within the price.

As you your refuting my comment that Disney is in effect "nickel and diming" its guests, I'm really not quite sure what else you can call the process of quietly adding an incremental charge for a service that - ever since the resort was originally built - has always been included within the basic fee? Receiving mail was never "free", it was included within the resort's existing pricing. It would perhaps be easier to justify if they were adding these sorts of fees in order to avoid raising the headline rack rates (like the airlines do, for example) but doing it just after increasing the basic rates by 8% year-on-year seems a bit of a slap in the face.

Please don't get me wrong, I do know all about the extra workload that has been generated in recent years by guests shipping items to avoid those airline hold baggage charges, or ordering product to avoid paying Disney's captive-market inflated food and drink prices (one common one is Disney's $3.50 price for a single bottle of water, compared to $5 for a case of 24 bottles from a local store). And while it is true that I don't work in a hotel (although I guess most journalists and others who write about hotels tend not to work in them) please give me a little bit of credit for having some understanding of how at least this particular resort works. I've had access to the backstage mail room (now two mail rooms in fact) and chatted to the cast member in charge, and even forwarded some of their packaging requests via this site to try to help make their life a bit easier.

Anyway, I suspect that this sort of fee is here to stay, and I'm sure guests will get used to it pretty soon. Just like they got used to desserts and gratuities no longer being included in the Disney Dining Plan, the non-expiry features of park tickets being removed, Extra Magic Hours being cut from 3 hour to 2 hours, evening EMH being removed completely at Animal Kingdom and the Studios, and many many other examples which I won't bother going into - but all of which were still accompanied by annual price hikes.

This is, as you say, business. But that doesn't mean we have to like it.

Andre
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- The Unofficial Visitor's Guide to the Port Orleans Resorts in Orlando, Florida -

Katy8715
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Re: Package and Mail Delivery fee of $5 per item from 12 Feb

Unread post by Katy8715 » March 1st, 2017, 2:59 pm

It is their space your mail and packages are taking up. Not to mention sorting it, finding the reservation and noting it. In this day and age there are also certain security risks that are posed with package storing and holding. Whether or not they are bringing it to you they are storing it in their space. You said yourself Port Orleans had to allocate additional space to accommodate. They need to cover their needs as well.

I think comparing Port Orleans to your typical motel format location is comparing apples to oranges. Not only is location a huge factor in pricing but the amenities offered (again the busses, pool, extra magic hours, etc.) and the service levels are above most independent or even flagged properties. If I want to stay overlooking Niagara Falls I am going to wind up paying a lot more than if I stay a 10, 15 or 20 minute drive away. I would argue that the All Stars are far more comparable to your everyday motel then Port Orleans. Hence the reason one is a Value and the other a Moderate.

Please tell me what ever stays the same price? With the value of the dollar steadily decreasing each year it can only be expected for rates to be increased. Again any and all hotels have different rates per season/occupancy levels/special events. Even local attractions rates increase each year. A season pass to Hershey Park, a Six Flags Park, Sea World, can also increase year to year. It is more noticeable when it is Disney because of its sheer size and following. I again do not see this as a slap in the face. Amenities change, needs change. This has evolved far beyond receiving letters in the mail and developed into shipped luggage and enormous packages. A flat rate charge is easier to maintain and track than a size/weight related pricing.

Disney does not require you to purchase their food and beverage. You are welcome to purchase the $5 case of water and carry your own into the park (I have done it). Not only that you can approach any quick service food place and request a cup of ice water and you will get it free of charge. I am not saying you have no idea how this resort works I am saying you are viewing this a bit one-sided. Your article approaches this just as a guest concerned about the price rather than why it was implemented and why the resort found it necessary to change how they operate. Just because something has been done since the beginning doesn’t mean that’s the way it will always be done. If that were the case we should still be fighting the retiring of 10,000 leagues, and Honey I Shrunk the Audience, River Country, Discovery Island, Mr. Toads Wild Ride. Additionally I do not expect you, as a journalist, to know how a hotel works in its entirety just as I wouldn’t be able to tell you the process for publishing an article from start to finish. With 10 years in this industry I can understand where this came from. As a guest I can acknowledge it is another expense for me should I choose to have something mailed to me but as somebody from the industry it is very reasonable.

You are right the hours at DAK and Studios were cut but both parks are/were under massive renovations and expansions that will create new experiences for guests.

Nobody said you had to like that its business but at the end of the day it is just that-business.

Stephen- Never called Disney a free experience. I specifically said it is not free.

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Re: Package and Mail Delivery fee of $5 per item from 12 Feb

Unread post by Admin » March 1st, 2017, 4:20 pm

I thought my original article was pretty balanced between the guests' and Disney's point of view. Of the five full paragraphs, one was purely informational, two were explaining the reasons behind Disney's need to do it, and two were bemoaning the nickel'n'diming aspect of nibbling away at included services given their recent 7+% price hikes.

I fully expect resort car parking to be on the agenda before too long - perhaps by following the rest of the industry and levying a Resort Fee? (My own opinion being that guests already pay that at Disney, but it's built into the rack rates).

Andre
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- The Unofficial Visitor's Guide to the Port Orleans Resorts in Orlando, Florida -

Thorpy
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Re: Package and Mail Delivery fee of $5 per item from 12 Feb

Unread post by Thorpy » March 7th, 2017, 4:36 pm

Both points of view are valid. Unless the pricing structure changes between booking and arriving, then you get what you pay for. If you like the value one year, and not the next year, there's nothing making you go back. We've tended to go to other resorts in recent years as they've been better priced, even though Riverside is my favourite resort in the world ! That said, it's also perfectly reasonable to complain when you have to pay something that you expect to be included, because it always has been and because the base price is high to start with.

In the UK the tax is included in the sticker price, so you pay exactly what you see. When we visit the US, the added tax at the till/register always annoys me as it seems like they are adding extra, but that's because we're conditioned to just paying the sticker price. The irony is that our tax is 20%, and the Orange/Osceola county taxes are 6-7% if memory serves me right, so the smaller value annoys me because it's not something I'm used to being added, whereas the higher tax doesn't annoy me because it's kind of hidden, and I'm used to the prices.

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