Disney Vacation Club removes all ‘real’ dinnerware from Studio Units in favor of paper products

| March 19, 2008

Disney Vacation Club has announced that they will be replacing all of the ‘real’ glasses, dishes and silverware in their studio accommodations for paper products.  This will only affect the studio units – all other units will stay equipped as usual.

When I questioned the powers that be at Disney Vacation Club about this policy change I was told this was done for two reasons; a) there are no dishwashers in the studios so this is for health/sanitary reasons and b) guest demand.

We love reason b.  We hear it quite a bit these days.

Can’t you just see the hoards of angry DVC owners storming the desks at guest services demanding that the ceramic mugs be removed?  I personally like to imagine the looks on the faces of housekeeping as they enter a room to find glasses stacked in a perfect pyramid – the obvious result of spontaneous acts of civil disobedience DVC members partake in to show their disdain for actual, glass drinking vessels.

Is it just me or is this one of the most un-Disney like moves you have ever heard?

First, Disney Vacation Club touts itself as your home-away-from-home while on a Disney vacation.  This is why you are willing to shell out the big bucks to own a piece of the magic.  I don’t know about you but my home has real mugs.

Second, the Walt Disney World Resort constantly gets high marks and praise from environmental groups on their recycling and waste management efforts.  Doesn’t it seem counter productive to replace reusable items with non-eco-friendly paper products?

Now, in the interest of full disclosure I must let you know that I am a Disney Vacation Club member but I have never stayed in one of the studio units.  I have spoken to several DVC owners who do stay in the studios and they tell me they handwash their mugs, glasses, etc between uses so there is no need for a dishwasher in these units.  Perhaps Disney Vacation Club does feel the need to sanitize the glassware between guests – so swap out the half dozen or so glasses and mugs with clean ones and wash the dirty ones.  It just doesn’t make sense to me.

I was also told by one DVC member that they have not had ‘real’ plates in a studio unit for quite some time.  There were ceramic mugs and glass glasses but the plates were already paper.  Wake up people – first the plates are paper then your cups are plastic – what’s next?  Disposable sheets and no air conditioning?!?!


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  • DebbieT11

    Sadly, John, it’s likely that Disney has a “green paper” to back up their decision…. the very act of washing all those dishes used up 4.27 carbon credits or something…..sad. THAT much money for a room, and you get paper plates. Sheesh.

  • kab407

    As a DVC owner and one who stays in a studio during solo trips, this really has my blood boiling. While I do no cooking other then popcorn in a studio, the switch from glasses & coffee mugs to styrofoam cups is what angers me. I’ve sent off two emails this week to DVC Member Services this week with a letter going to Jim Lewis over the weekend. I was sold DVC as my Home-Away-From-Home. Well, in my home I do not use styrofoam. First, it is environmentally unfriendly. I find this so hard to believe that in light of how “green’ Disney touts its self to be, they make this decision. Secondly, Disney markets DVC as deluxe accommodations. If that is the case, do the Poly, AKL, BC/YC and the Contem have styrofoam cups in their rooms? I doubt it. If this is a “sanitary” concern then, like Kevin and a number of other on the DVC boards have said, swap out the glass when guests leave.

    For the record, I was not one of the DVC Members storming the guest services desk demanding they remove glasses and mugs from my studio. Somehow a nice merlot in a styrofoam cup after a day in the parks just doesn’t cut it.

  • DVC Kathy

    DH and I usually splurge for a one bedroom, but we have stayed in a studio at Vero Beach, and will be in one at Saratoga Springs for two nights next week.

    I didn’t like the paper plates and plastic forks in the studio, but could live with it.

    Disposable cups, however, it just taking it too far. I can stay at Pop Century or the All Stars if I want paper cups. Come to think of it, they probably have real coffee mugs!

    We don’t have a dishwasher at home. I guess that means we should give all our dishes, glasses, and silverware to Goodwill and use disposable products.

    What a bad idea! Shame on DVC.

  • jamieT

    First, let me say three days without a blog is way too long.

    And why have cups at all. i think they should do away with all of it and just let people stick their heads under the faucet or just wait until the coffee pot cools down and drink it straight from there. If you don’t like that option we have a lovely gift shop you could visit..

    Next they’ll be saying due to guest demand we are shortening park hours and raising prices. Oh wait they’ve already justified a move somewhat like that. Its called the Disney Dining plan 2008! It’s all about guest demand!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • LilGMom

    We are relatively new DVC members (joined Feb. ’07) and when we stayed in a studio at Saratoga Springs last May there were paper plates, bowls and individually wrapped plasticware packets but there were actual mugs and glasses. The paper plates, bowls, and plasticware don’t bother be that much because we do use paper plates at home and we didn’t even touch the plasticware.

    We wash our glasses, mugs, and refillable mugs in between uses so I don’t see where the ‘health risk’ is to my family. I don’t see why they can’t have Mousekeeping change out the glasses and mugs in between guests, just like they do at non-DVC resorts.

    Disposable mugs and glasses do not say “deluxe accommodations” nor does it say “Welcome home”.

  • Madi100

    We do use the studios when it is just my DH and myself. The cup issue does not bother me, but what’s next? I just do not understand why Disney hasn’t figured out that while they have huge fans in the children because they give them Mickey, Minnie, and Cinderella, they have the adults who love the experience of WDW partly because of the wonderful service. That part just seems to keep going down, down, and down.

    It will be interesting to see if all of the complaints get positive results. Let’s hope so.

  • MenashaCorp

    What next? If they really want to make it home-away-from-home, why not have in-laws drop in unannounced halfway through the vacation? Or maybe cut the cable TV off and make guests stay in room all day waiting for the repairman to (not) arrive…

    This stinks. DVC members are among the most activist Disney fans, so pressure will undoubtedly be brought. Or, if you prefer, ACTUAL “guest demand.”

  • Iggipolka

    I’m a DVC member and have a studio booked at AKV for a solo trip in November. I find the plastic plates and cups to be completely ridiculous!
    If they really are doing it for sanitary reasons, then they should check out what Extended Stay Hotels like Residence Inn does to sanitize mugs and glasses in between guests. Those hotels don’t have dishwashers in the rooms, but they have real mugs, silverware and plates. I always wash the tableware in the sink using dish soap. I’m assuming that other guests do the same!

    I can’t even address the “Guest Demand” because that is just plain untrue. What guest would demand icky styrofoam cups?

    So much for Disney being environmentally friendly. I guess I’ll be packing mugs and plates next time I travel to Disney and leaving them in my Owners Locker.

  • Cyrano

    I’m not a DVC owner but for a company that had some good green policies this does not make sense :(

  • UrsulasShadow

    I tend to think that this is done for sanitary reasons. As recent exposes on maid service in the hotel industry clearly show, the employees cannot be counted on to clean and sanitize anything. I know that individuals will wash their own dishes for their family, and that’s fine, but what if the housekeeping service drops the ball between guests, and instead of clearing all those mugs and plates out to replace them with sanitized ones, just gives them a swipe with that ol’ towel they just wiped the toilet seat with?

    In a perfect world, Disney would simply make certain that their hirees will follow the rules, dogging them through every part of their routine, but as we’ve all seen on those sensational TV shows, it ain’t gonna happen. I’d personally rather have the disposables, if there’s no dishwasher in the room. Not STYROFOAM, certainly, but a more ecologically-sound paper product.

    Either that, or get a mini-dishwasher installed in those studios. That would be my preference.

  • mommyceratops

    Yea John blogged! :)

    You know I am so torn on this issue. I am working on making our school greener and it is amazing how much dispobable products are filling up our landfills…but off that soap box…as Green as Disney is that doesn’t cut it with me.

    Also being a germ phobe it is gross thinking a dishwasher didn’t clean that.

    Now what Disney can do is make their own disposable products and recycle them and then turn them into purses and things like that! They can make money off of it! Now that sounds like Disney!

  • kab407

    Below is an email that many of us who have gotten from DVC in the past few hours. It’s a step in the right direction.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Hello Kathy,

    Thank you for contacting Disney Vacation Club.

    We appreciate you taking the time to share your feedback with us
    regarding the glassware changes in our studios. We continually review the cleaning practices in our resorts. Upon reviewing the dishware and glassware washing process for the studio units, we realized that hand washing wasn’t sufficient to meet our cleanliness standards.

    Glassware and ceramic mugs in the studios were replaced with disposablesbecause dishwashing machines are not available in those units. We wanted to take action quickly and using disposables was the most
    expedient solution.

    We have since determined that we will be able to provide glassware and ceramic mugs at resorts where glass washing equipment is available. This includes Disney’s Beach Club Villas, Disney’s BoardWalk Villas, The Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas and the Inn rooms at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort.

    For all DVC stand-alone campus properties (Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, Disney’s Old Key West Resort, Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort and the villas at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort) that do not have glass washers available, we will continue to utilize the disposable cups until we can source a more environmentally friendly product. We are
    investigating the possibility of installing glass washers at specified locations throughout the stand-alone campus properties.

    The disposable cups are replenished upon request. If a Guest/Member calls to request glassware, we will provide it and remove it upon
    checkout.

    Your comments are important to us. Please be assured that we have shared your concerns with the appropriate individuals.

    Thank you again for your message.

    Sincerely,
    Magdalene
    Disney Vacation Club

  • UrsulasShadow

    Now that’s a reasonable response, IMO.

  • jpeka65844

    That’s about the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.

    When they say “customer demand” I think it’s a highly subjective phrase. I think when they say that, it’s a “nice” way of saying “we have so many CUSTOMERS that DEMAND to stay at our studios, we can do whatever we want” It’s like Kevin pointed out about the Akershus $$ raise. According to a CM it was b/c of “customer demand”?? Well, the CUSTOMER DEMAND isn’t about raising prices, it’s about filling Disney’s restaurants so why not raise the price?

    I think the context of “customer demand” is a thinly veiled euphemism for “business is good, let’s milk it for all it’s worth”

    Denice

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