Showing posts with label Disney Vacation Club Resorts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Disney Vacation Club Resorts. Show all posts

Friday, July 5, 2024

The Villas at Disneyland Hotel: Accessible Studio w/ Tub

The DVC Tower at Disneyland Hotel

Date of Visit: June 24-28, 2024

When I told Mik about the new DVC at Disneyland, he was interested in trying it out and doing Disneyland as part of his 30th birthday trip, but if I was not able to get a reservation when the booking window opened, he was also good with not going to at all. I ended up being able to get an Accessible Studio w/ Tub. Glad I had not gone with a one-bedroom because I later learned you pay the taxes here like at Aulani and it certainly would not have been worth using points and still owing the one-bedroom tax amount at checkout when there are many just as close hotels we have had good experiences at when visiting Disneyland.

From the start the stay was non-magical. First off the check in process is chaotic and not clear. When we drove up to the building, they basically expected us to unload in front and use bell services, which we never do at DVC. After we explained we wanted to just go in and check in, we were directed to go around to where there are some spots for check in. There were no accessible spots available, though, as the row of them here seems to be not just for check in and can be used for your whole stay. Later when Dad parked the car he found there were none in self-parking available and in the parking garage there are not even any accessible spots.

Check in inside was slow because apparently they expect you to use online check in, go straight to your room, checkout online, and basically never interact with the front desk. Well, I have found the Disney apps to be glitchy, not user friendly, and my account in particular has long been messed up because it merged with Mom’s DVC and mine for other Disney making my experience even worse than most. I could not even check in online using the app. I did eventually get it to work on the browser, but I do not trust the digital key working and I certainly was not going to log the others into my account for them to have a digital key or trust Mom could reliably figure it out on her own. Thus, we checked in to get real key cards. Later we learned we could add everybody’s tickets to each person’s account and app and maybe that would have worked if we linked the reservation for the digital key for the others, but mine never showed digital key as available to use so did not even try. The front desk staff at check in at least was friendly and as expected. It just was having only 2 cast members at main check in time made for a slow check in.

What really got us hating the Villas at Disneyland Hotel was bell services. First, we were surprised that they did not have carts you could use yourself because we have never stayed at a DVC or Hilton timeshare that we could not do that and even all the Best Westerns we had stayed at in the week and a half leading up to this stay had carts you could use. We travel with two large storage containers and a cooler, so taking it all to our room was not exactly an option. Thus, we used bell services. We knew they probably expected a tip, but we were not expected to have to use them and had no cash. I expected the awkward pause at the end with them waiting for a tip, but the guy refused to leave without a tip and when we told him we had no cash he still refused to leave because they take Venmo. I do not use that and even if I had cash at this point I no longer even wanted to tip at all because of their attitude, especially his. At this point, Mik came out of the bathroom and told us to take the cash in his wallet and we finally got him to leave with Mik’s 5 $1 bills (Mom being Mom, then realized she had a $5 bill and paid Mik back…).

Now we were only an hour or two into our stay and done with the Villas at Disneyland Hotel. The rest of the stay really was okay to good and if the start had not been so horrible, it might have actually have been a place we would consider staying again when visiting Disneyland.

The next big issue we ran into was the room was hot. At first I thought it was just that the settings were off until we entered the room. It was set at auto and 65 when we first came in and was 75, but overnight it only ended up cooling to 71. It certainly did not feel like 71, though, as we are used to keeping our house at 77 and lower than that in a place that does not have the same humidity is cold to us. We found if we put the fan on high it felt mostly comfortable. However, anytime you touched the thermostat, it reverted back to auto and then it got uncomfortable again because Mom is known to mess with the thermostat whenever she is hot or cold. One evening we came back and it was actually off (she says she did not touch it, but more than likely she did) and again it took until morning for it to be almost comfortable in the room.

Accessible tub

The last major issue we had was there was no hot water in the shower. Having just come from a hotel that only just barely got comfortable warm, not even getting to that was extremely disappointing. The shower felt even colder because of the style of shower head that made it is so you had to keep ending up out of the water stream to get the toiletries and lather up. For once Mik was glad we did not have a roll in shower! However, a roll in shower could not have been as bad as this tub that had too short of a shower curtain resulting in way more water in the bathroom than the roll in showers we have experienced lately.

barn door for bathroom

Besides the shower, the bathroom was good. We liked that it had a barn door (and that it did not have a bottom track to potentially get messed up and trap you like the Hampton Inn we had just been at).

toilet and grab bars

The bars worked for Mik to be able to get on and off toilet himself.

mirror with fairy godmother lights

The fairy characters lights in the mirror were fun and we found them to be bright enough that we only needed the main lights in bathroom when using shower.

big lotion bottle

We appreciated that they have a large refillable for the lotion compared to most places still seeming to do just a small bottle of lotion when they have the wall mounted other toiletries.

TV and kitchenette area

The one big positive of this place was the TV. Mik liked that he could connect his iPad and stream to itThe kitchenette area is under the TV, which made this feel very much like staying in a hotel room versus a studio. While it did allow for more “counter space” than the typical studio, it was more inconvenient that you could not leave stuff on it much because then it blocked the television. It also meant that instead of having a dresser for clothes you only had cabinets for your food (or you could have used them for clothes, but then no where for the food, which I guess if we had not been on part of a larger road trip we would not have had as much to food store as we do eat at the parks especially for a Disneyland trip). We did like that it had three power outlets as well as USB and USB-C ports for charging, though.

mini fridge

The fridge was small with no freezer, which was kind of expected, but also part of what makes the studios feel like a hotel instead of a studio and being “home” like DVC is supposedly trying to be with the whole Welcome Home thing. Really do not much care about having a freezer, but really was one of the smallest fridges we had during our three week trip that also involved staying at ~10 different Best Westerns and a Hampton Inn.


The Keurig was nice compared to a coffee pot as it allowed us to easily do decaf and regular. It still feels so wasteful and a step back when the toiletries have gone away from single use, but we now travel with reusable k-cups and ground coffee so we do not request and use more than initially stocked.


The sofa is a Murphy bed. The ottoman in front of it was nice in that it opened up to be storage, but we moved it to be by the window and just kept the bed down the whole time so did not actually use it.

sofa bed down

Once the bed was down, there was a light, 2 outlets, and 2 USB ports.

light up headboard

The bed side “tables” also had power outlets, but not USB ports. The bed also had a light up headboard. The way they had black panels covering part of it made it looked messed up and poorly done to me.

view out window

When we first got our room assignment as 1st floor, I was disappointed because I never even thought that was a possibility. It did not end up being bad, but it did odd being at the end of the hall that also had the fitness center, the model rooms they were showing, and that led out to the grill area (only even realized that was there because it was viewed from our room window). Not having to deal with elevators was nice, though, and did help it not take quite so long for us to make the four trips to get our stuff to truck at check out.

bench between window and closet

Between the closet and the window there was a bench. This worked out to be a good place to put mine and Mik’s suitcases and just not unpack them.

thick carpet

Mik liked that the only carpet in the room was the rug under the bed. The carpet in the hall from the lobby to the room, though, was annoyingly thick. This was especially a problem when we were trying to be more efficient to get everything to the truck at checkout and I could not pull a suitcase and push Mik with the other hand like I usually can because I needed two hands to push him on the thick carpet.

Overall I guess it was worth using our points to stay here as we have not been using them for anything other than our annual family trip and I had them to use, but certainly not somewhere we would ever stay again as for not much more than the room taxes we still had to pay we could have had a better stay experience with breakfast included at a nearby hotel as we have mostly done for Disneyland trips. Also, would even use DVC points for a hotel room at Pixar Place over the Villas at Disneyland as at least you know you are getting a hotel room and are closer to the parks (stayed there once with Mik using DVC points when it was Paradise Pier and we enjoyed it). 

Destination Info:

1150 Magic Way
Anaheim, CA 92802

Sunday, January 21, 2024

Disney's Vero Beach Resort: 3 Bedroom Beach Cottage Wheelchair Accessible

Date of Visit: January 6 to 13, 2024 

Since Mik and I have not been doing our one week trips in a studio for years and we did not do any other DVC trips in 2023, we had extra points to splurge on the family vacation this year. Of course, we really wanted to use the points on concierge at our home resort of Animal Kingdom Lodge, but when the waitlist had not come through at 7 months out, we booked the 3 bedroom beach cottage at Disney's Vero Beach. With Mik and I still not wanting to spend the money to go to the Florida parks (saving to go to Disneyland, which we prefer instead) and enjoying the trip last year except the small room, it probably should have been our first choice anyways.

The accessible cottage has a ramp off to the one side for getting up to the porch and entry, which was also helpful for the luggage cart and stroller.

The front porch of the cottage has a swing and two rocking chairs.

The umbrella was a useful unexpected item by the door.

The stairs to the upper level are right inside the door. The location makes sense, but the rather full wall of windows make it kind of an odd set up. To the right is a lift to be able to access the second floor for those that cannot do stairs. It was also helpful for getting the full cooler and food bins upstairs.

Under the stairs there is a closet where all the cleaning stuff (vacuum, mop, broom) was stored. There was also an open area that was good for leaving shoes as well as the stroller.

The laundry closet is large leaving room to store stuff. If it wasn't for the utility access door, it would seem it was designed for side by side machines like Hilton Head had. This was one of the most useful laundry machine we've had a DVC in that had a large capacity. However, the controls on the top was horrible in that I could barely reach them and certainly makes no sense for an accessible unit. Considering that they could not just swap out the oven because it was an accessible unit, it seems odd they do not have a laundry machine with lower controls in here.

The bedroom on the right was one of the ones with two queen beds. This one was awkward in that the path to the bathroom was very narrow by the bed.

Bathroom accessed through that room.

Access to the back porch from bedroom.

After the lack of storage last year, definitely appreciated that there was space in all the rooms to unpack. They also have power in them.

The middle bedroom is the master with the king bed and also the only accessible bathroom. Mik enjoyed that there was plenty of floor space for him.

The bathroom connected to the master was decent sized. The layout was okay, but overall it did not really work out for Mik.

We were surprised that it actually had a roll in shower as the booking description said accessible beach cottage with tub. The design was decent in that the wall helped keep the water from spraying out and while the mat did get wet, it did not end up everywhere like sometimes happens.

Mik found it impossible to get on the toilet himself with this set up. I think it is because while he has grab bars on both sides at home, I notice he mostly uses the one on the other side than this set up. He said it was because the toilet was too close to the wall and he could not turn, which kind of makes no sense because his at home are closer to toilet, but it may be that he needs more space when he has to turn from this side.

His wheelchair could be left next to the toilet for him to have something to hold on that side. Then it was annoyingly in the way of accessing the sink for others since that is where it was mostly kept.

The bathroom also had a tub with grab bars and two shower heads. Since there is only one accessible cottage, it is nice that the accessible bathroom provides both options to fit more needs/preferences. Also, this is a good option if you do not need the roll in shower to avoid the potential of too much water on the floor from the roll in shower.

The third bedroom on the left also had two queen beds, but it had a better layout that provided a reasonable sized path between the bed and the hall to the bathroom.

The bathroom for this bedroom also had an entry from the hallway.

All of the bedrooms had doors to access the back porch. Since they have bushes to block the light for the turtles on the beach, there is not much of a view from this porch, but it does provide some good seating that is less likely to end up wet than the upstairs porches.

The living room, dining, and kitchen are upstairs. There are actually some drawers and shelves in the TV unit so I could put my stuff away as the one using the sofa bed. The amount of seating, though, seemed way too little for a place that slept 12 as it is just a regular couch and a chair and not even an ottoman type table that you could sit on that some places have. Certainly unexpected when from what I remember of when we ended up with the 3 bedroom in Aulani there seemed to be more seating in the living room area, although that time we did not need it being only 4 of us and this time we had 8 adults, a kid, and a baby.

While the table also did not have enough chairs, it was at least big enough to seat everyone once we brought in chairs from outside. The lights above the table could be appreciated here with the ceiling being high enough that there was no way Josh could bump them and cause Dole whips to be ruined by glass (see last year's post).

Most importantly, it was big enough to easily play Wingspan.

There is also some high top seating at the counter, which was also a good place to put the food for serving dinner.

The upstairs entry to the lift is next to the top of the stairs.

The kitchen was a decent layout for the most part. The fridge being next to the wall is annoying in that it does not open all the way, which I think may be even more of an issue for someone in a wheelchair. The bar area with the utensils was a good way for more cabinet space to store things low, although it was awkward that because the drawers were small the utensils were split between three drawers.

The first day we could not find a cutting board and we're glad that we had happened to pack one for making sandwiches in the car, which we actually did not even end up doing. That night Dad found the cutting board when he went to put the fish in the oven. He had not checked it for stuff before preheating. It is not surprising that there were pans in there, but it was surprising to find the cutting board had been under the pans on the first shelf. Luckily there was a pan on the lower shelf that caught most of the melted cutting board. Some of it got on the bottom, though, and it took maintenance at least an hour to clean it out. They said if it had been a regular room they would have just replaced the oven because I guess they have extra ovens, but not ADA ones.

The porch outside the kitchen had two lounge chairs and a table with chairs.

This porch was not all that accessible with a large trip hazard threshold.

The threshold out to the porch with the ocean view was accessible, though.

This porch also had lounge chairs and a table with chairs.

View of the ocean.

Sunrise ocean view.

Because they try to limit the light for the turtles, the resort in general is dark at night, but in particular it was annoying that there were no lights on the stairs. It especially did not makes sense when there are some lights on the ramp. However, not sure the logic of when they go on because sometimes the ramp was lit at night and sometimes it was not.

The only wheelchair accessible cottage is at the opposite end of the resort than we stayed at last year. We found being at this end of the resort was much better for parking than last year as even last year I noticed when walking in the mornings that this end always had open spaces whereas at the end we were at least year we had issues with parking being full and several times an electric vehicle parking partially in the wheelchair access aisle when they were charging rather than actually being in their spot. Being at this end also made it so that we did not have to deal with going past the pool to get to the main building, which after the first day was often blocked by them moving in equipment for the pool refurbishment that started on our second full day.

Something new we enjoyed this year was finding Tinker Bell. Every day she was moved and if you found her, you could get a sticker on a button. When you fill the button, they let you pick a prize from their bucket of little toys.

It was a bummer that the mini golf closed with the pool (pool closure was not as much of a missed thing with the weather not being ideal for it this year anyways). We did at least manage to get one round in playing the mini golf tournament on the one day we could.

Overall we really enjoyed Disney's Vero Beach again this year. The space of the cottage was nice and something we'd definitely do again if we end up with enough points to splurge on it. Not sure we could go back again with the lock off and the small studio space, but I really have surprisingly enjoyed our trips to Vero Beach having discovered the nature trails off the nearby Jungle Trail.

Destination Info:

9250 Island Grove Terrace
Vero Beach, FL 32963