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Practical travel advice
|Lani Teshima, editor|
Upgrading to Concierge-Level Service
The Concierge Lounge at the Disneyland Pacific Hotel
In a previous column, I talked about how to look for a good value in accommodations for your trip to Disneyland. Value is such a subjective term, but on those vacations when you really want to splurge, the Disneyland Hotel (DLH) and the Disneyland Pacific Hotel (DLP) both have their special Concierge-Level Service.
If you've learned anything while researching for your trip, you know that nothing about Disneyland is cheap. The Disneyland Hotel is expensive, with the Disneyland Pacific Hotel only slightly less so. If you compare prices, you would be hard-pressed to justify the cost of the Disney hotels when there are such nice hotels nearby. Upgrading your stay to a Concierge room makes the cost of your trip that much more expensive. On average, your Concierge upgrade can run you an extra $75.00 per night! Is it worth it? Let's take a look.
A Concierge upgrade might cost a lot, but Disney makes sure you are well-taken care of for that extra dough. From the moment you stand in line to check in, you are treated better than the rest of the guests. If you've checked into your flight at the airport as an upgraded first-class, business-class or very-frequent flier passenger, you know that you can bypass those long lines because you get a counter of your very own. This is the same case for a Concierge guest. DLH provides you with a separate check-in counter that is separated from the coach peons by a roped stanchion. The check-in process might not be tremendously quicker, but with fewer guests in the Concierge line, you have a much shorter queue.
The Concierge check-in counter at the Disneyland Hotel
One of the things you notice right away is that you get a different key than the regular guests do. If you are staying at DLH, you might get a gold sticker on your room key that states that you are a Concierge guest. Staying at DLP? You might get a room key with gold writing on it instead of green. And what's so special about gold-identified room keys? These keys open up a whole world of the Concierge lounge to you! More on that in a moment.
Even if you don't upgrade to a fancy suite, your Concierge upgrade in itself gives you a better room on the higher floors in both hotels. In DLP, most of the 14th and 15th floors are Concierge rooms, with a similar configuration in DLH. These rooms not only provide a better view of the parks, but they are indeed larger than your ordinary rooms. For example, you might get one king-sized bed and one queen-sized bed in your Concierge room. The closets are large enough for you to put your entire wardrobe in, and most of the rooms also have extra room for couches.
Like big bathrooms? You get them in Concierge rooms, especially in DLP, which as buildings go is newer than DLH. You get so much room in some of these bathrooms that you can set up your ironing board in it to iron your clothes. And yes, the board and iron are provided for you in the room to use during your stay (although these are available for regular guests as well). If you've ever stayed at either of the DL hotels, you know that everyone covets those little red Mickey Mouse toiletry bottles. In your Concierge room, you get a full line of products that even includes toothbrush, toothpaste and mouthwash. These make great souvenirs, and if you put your entire stash away in your bag, your maid can leave you with another set for the next day. [Do be thoughtful and leave your maid a daily tip of a few dollars.]
Your room gets a turn-down service at the end of your evening. If you've never had this, it's when a maid comes into your room, turns down the bedspread and blanket for you, and usually leaves you with a bit of chocolate or mints on your pillow. Nothing tremendously special, but a nice touch that makes you feel pampered. You might find some extra touches as well; your radio might be turned on to some soothing classical music, your ice bucket may get filled. And on the first night of your stay, you might even get a special treat. At DLP the treat can be a chocolate-eared Mickey Mouse rice krispy treat; some even report that they've had their treats served on plates with their names written on them in icing!
On a side note, as a high-quality hotel, both DLH and DLP provide many things for free as part of your stay. These include small refrigerators, coffee makers, cable TV, iron, hair dryer, baby cribs, as well as early entry into the park for every day that early entry is available.
One of your biggest perks as a Concierge guest is your access to the Concierge Lounge in your hotel. The DLH lounge is located high atop the Sierra Tower, while the DLP lounge is on the second floor of its main building. Location aside, these lounges earn their money's worth with their great offerings.
The entrance of the Concierge Lounge at Disneyland Pacific Hotel
Continental breakfast: Hands-down, the single biggest benefit of upgrading to Concierge is the continental breakfast. The food is overflowing at these things, which look more like a buffet than a continental breakfast. Selections include croissants, muffins, toast, bagels, danish, cereal (different kinds), a wide range of fruits, yogurt, coffee, tea, juices and soda, to name just the basics. In addition, the DLP hotel has a noticeable Asian influence, which results in some extra food at the DLP Concierge breakfast. These include white rice and other traditional Japanese breakfast foods, such as miso soup.
The Concierge Lounge at Disneyland Pacific Hotel
If you have a family of four, everyone can eat their fill to start off the day. By making breakfast one of your sit-down meals (keeping lunch on the light side with some snacks), you don't need to spend any money on your family's morning meal, and even save a bit on lunch.
Note: On those mornings when you take advantage of early entry into the park, your family might head in to the park as soon as possible, ride the rides while the lines are short, then head back to the Concierge Lounge for the last hour of its continental buffet. The lounge by that time is almost empty, and you can take your time enjoying your food. This also makes it easier to skip, or lighten your lunch plans. Depending on when the park opens, your early-entry time can be quite early in the morning. So early in fact, that the Concierge lounge might not even be open at that time. If that is your case, go enjoy the park early, then return for a more relaxed brunch. [Do double-check the lounge's breakfast hours!]
Afternoon wine-tasting: Breakfast isn't your only chance to grab some food at the lounge. In the afternoons (usually after 4pm), both lounges provide wine and cheese! The offerings include red, white, as well as rose, and your choice of cheeses with accompanying crackers, and grapes. At the DLP, you might even encounter some sushi.
Soda and bottled water: One very popular feature of the Concierge lounges are the large refreshment refrigerators. The lounges in both hotels have refrigerators that are stocked full of various flavors of soda, juice, as well as bottled water. When you consider that similar-sized bottles of water are selling for $2.50 in the park, it makes sense to make sure everyone in your family grabs a bottle to take for the day, especially during the hot summer days when you can be standing in line for a long time. The fridge is available for you during the entire time the lounge is open, too. You don't have to time it with the breakfast or the afternoon wine session.
TV/Video players: Wondering what your children can do while you sip that glass of wine? Both lounges have a fairly decent-sized TV monitor with a video player hook-up. The shelves are stocked full of G-rated fare (Disney movies, what else?). This might be the perfect answer in the afternoon, after running around all day in the park. Your children might not want to take a nap in your quiet hotel room, but they may not mind watching Lion King with other kids!
DLH Elevator: Want to feel extra special? You can access the DLH Concierge lounge through a special glass elevator that whisks you straight up to the top floor. Unfortunately, there is no fancy glass elevator for DLP since its lounge is on the second floor.
The elevator to the Concierge Lounge of the Disneyland Hotel
Access to the lounge is limited to those who have hotel keys marked as Concierge level. When you walk in, a Cast Member scans your key and looks your room up to make sure you are a Concierge guest. And although the CMs might be limited in their ability to make in-park meal reservations for you, there are a lot of things they can help you with. Want to meet with some friends who live in town? Invite them to the lounge for a short visit, and your CMs can validate their parking for them. Need to conduct a bit of business during your stay? Conduct your meeting in the lounge.
The DLP lounge is open from 6:30 am to 9:00 pm. The DLH lounge is open from 6:30 am to 10:00 pm.
The entrance to the Disneyland Hotel Concierge Lounge showing the lounge's hours
Feel a compulsive need to work out, or need to sweat off some of those extra calories from all that wine and cheese? DLH has a small fitness room where you can clear your conscience by sweating on a few of their machines. It's not your large body-building gym, though. You might find a cycling machine and a few weights.
When your vacation comes to an end and you need to check out, you once again get to enjoy the express counter set aside for Concierge guests.
So is all of this worth an extra $75 a day for your stay?
A lot of it depends on your budget, and whether you're willing to pay for extra service. For a lot of us, the $150 - $300 rate the hotels charge for a single night is enough to give us pause. On the other hand, if you wanted to immerse yourself in a complete Disney experience, what's an extra $75 a day when it includes free breakfast, free wine, and lots of nice touches? Personally, I don't recommend it for everyone. However if you're planning a very special trip to Disneyland and you're considering splurging, I do recommend you try a Concierge-level stay at least once. You do feel really pampered. Trust me.
Hours: "The DLP lounge is open from 6:30am to 9:00pm, while the DLH lounge gives you an extra hour at night and closes at 10:00pm.
Reservations/Information for both the
Disneyland Hotel and Disneyland Pacific:
Prices: Varies, but generally costs around $75 in addition to the price of a regular room.
The writer thanks Adrienne Krock for some information regarding Concierge services for the Disneyland Pacific Hotel.
Contact Lani Teshima if you have any travel tips or questions about trip planning.
A Hawaii ex-patriate, Lani is a technical writer for a San Francisco Bay Area software company.
When Lani is not managing the copy editing tasks here, you can usually find her at the gym, slogging away those slow miles on the treadmill as she trains for the WDW Marathon (held in January). She also maintains her internationally recognized Travelite FAQ.
In the occasional spare moment, Lani and her husband, Alexour MousePlanet CEO and MouseAdventure event coordinatorattend baseball games, and drive down to Disneyland in their 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid (which gets 50mpg).
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