So this week we are adding the WDW resort satisfaction data for the most recent three months and we are presenting the power ranking of the 2021 winter WDW resort! We’ll see if any resort is better or worse compared to the fall so you can make better decisions when you go to the travel agency TouringPlans to book your next trip!
Explain the math!
After each visit to Walt Disney World, you can fill out a post-visit survey that gives us lots of data to analyze. Specifically for today’s publication, we are analyzing the satisfaction data of the resort. One of the sections of the survey asks you to rate your resort (and your specific room) based on several factors. There are very specific questions, such as the quality of the bar or the size of the room or bed, and then there is an overall satisfaction score. You can answer this question with anything from “Very Dissatisfied” to “Very Satisfied,” and there are five different answer options to choose from. To compare the scores statistically between resorts, I need to convert them into some numerical equivalent. In this case, it makes a lot of sense for Very Unsatisfied to be equal to 1, Very Satisfied to be equal to 5, and so on. Thus, overall satisfaction can be represented as a number that is the average of all these scores in each complex.
The concept of power classification, however, is to emphasize more recent experiences. Because we know that resorts are always changing: aging, renovations, staff turnover, and so on. To emphasize some scores more than others, we will use a weighted average. This allows me to consider all the scores that have been submitted, but older scores will affect the result less than newer scores.
For WDW Resort Power Rankings, we keep the weighting simple. Any revision in the last 3 months manages to maintain its full weight. It counts as a whole answer. But if a review was over 3 months ago, we’re starting to get some of its impact. The weighting system is as follows:
- 3 to 6 months ago: 1/2 weight
- 6 to 9 months ago: 1/3 of weight
- 9 to 12 months ago: 1/4 weight
- 12 to 15 months ago: 1/5 weight
- 15 to 18 months ago: 1/6 weight
This makes the reviews of the last 3 months six times more “important” than those of 15 to 18 months ago. Thus, our power rating will reflect recent scores much more strongly, albeit taking into account the past. We can compare this winter’s scores with those of autumn, and also with those of spring to see how things change over time.
What are the WDW Resort Power rankings for value-added and moderate resorts?
In this graph (and each graph in this publication), the red dots represent the weighted satisfaction of each complex in the fall of 2021, three months ago. For example, the weighted satisfaction in the fall of 2021 for Port Orleans – French Quarter was almost 4.8. The blue dots represent the weighted satisfaction of the winter of 2021. For example, the weighted satisfaction of the winter of 2021 for Port Orleans – French Quarter has dropped to 4.73. Thus, we can quickly see that, compared to the fall, the weighted satisfaction in French Quarter has dropped. But did any of our power rankings change?
For well-priced resorts … almost nothing changes. We have not included campsites in Fort Wilderness in the fall 2021 rankings. But after receiving some feedback in the comments, we will include them later. In both cases, the campsites are classified as the first Value resort. And they are the only Value resort that has experienced a significant improvement in satisfaction from fall to winter. That said, you will know whether or not the Campsites are suitable accommodation for your traveler. They’re certainly not for everyone, but they have a devoted fan base.
The next two Value resorts experienced slight drops in satisfaction. Art of Animation tends to have higher rates than other Value resorts due to its spacious (and expensive) family suites. The only power ranking that changed from fall to winter was that All-Star Movies fell below All-Star Music for the first time. The difference between the two is negligible, however. All-Star Sports keeps its rankings at the bottom and will likely stay there for the spring rankings, as it is not expected to reopen until the end of March.
And for the moderates, we added the Fort Wilderness cabins, which would have secured second place in both the fall and winter rankings. Like Values, there is only one change in the power rating for moderate stations. As the two Port Orleans resorts reopened after calculating the fall power rating, their reopening scores caused a clear drop in satisfaction for the winter. We have seen that this trend is played out in every reopened resort, so it is not surprising. And the fall is not enough to get the French Quarter out of first place. But it was enough for Riverside to fall below Coronado Springs in fourth place.
What are the WDW Resort Power rankings for luxury resorts?
Things get a lot more interesting when we move to Deluxe! Suddenly, several resorts have seen some changes in their satisfaction, and not all in the same direction. When the blue dot is above the red dot, it means that weighted satisfaction has increased, as in Swan, Dolphin, Wilderness Lodge, and Contemporary. When the blue dot is below the red dot, it means that weighted satisfaction has decreased, as have Shades of Green, BoardWalk Inn, Polynesian, Jambo House, and Beach Club. Ugh. So how did all this change affect the ranking of power?
All of these changes mean that many power rankings were affected. The most important positive move was made by the Swan, which went from 10th to 5th overall among all Deluxe complexes. This is due in part to its own increase in satisfaction, but also in part to the downfall of many other complexes that had previously advanced. And it makes sense: in a world where on-site benefits are disappearing, Swan retains the benefits that still exist, but does so at a potentially much lower price. It’s an option that’s hard to ignore, especially if you stay at Marriott regularly and have a few points to spend. The other big positive winner here is the Contemporary, who went from 7th to 3rd place between fall and winter. Contemporary remains the preferred luxury in the monorail loop.
Jambo House saw the biggest drop in the luxury crowd. Now, that hurts my AKL-loving heart. Deep down. After all, Boma has reopened with rave reviews! But unfortunately, Jambo has just reopened towards the end of the fall poll period. And as always after the reopening of the complex, satisfaction has waned. It was probably inevitable. Jambo – # 8 on the chart, # 1 on our hearts (or at least mine). Beach Club and Boardwalk also experienced a two-point decrease, and Yacht Club was not immune to the demise of this Boardwalk area as a whole, with a one-point decrease. Looks like if you want to stay close to EPCOT / Hollywood Studios, Swan is the perfect new place to stay.
What are the WDW Resort Power rankings for DVC Resorts?
Like Deluxes, DVC complexes see a lot of movement compared to value and moderate complexes. Satisfactory resorts include Grand Floridian villas and Polynesian, Old Key West and Treehouse villas. There are notable declines in Riviera, Copper Creek, Kidani Village and Boulder Ridge.
But are these increases and decreases large enough to affect power rankings? They absolutely are! Riviera was rejected from the first place it occupied in the fall and was passed through both the Grand Floridian Villas and the Polynesian Villas. For most of the fall survey period, transportation from the Poly was a pain. And recently, Polynesian Studios received a soft product update, plus a new large Murphy bed! All good reasons to increase satisfaction.
Old Key West saw the biggest rise in the rankings from 9th in the fall to 5th in the winter. Interestingly, however, their weighted satisfaction only increased by 0.04, to 4.71. There are a lot of gated resorts around this number of 4.70, so any small change will dramatically affect the ranking.
The biggest drop, perhaps in the dive, took place at Copper Creek. Decreased satisfaction is not as bad as the fall in the power ranking seems. Weighted overall satisfaction remains a very respectable 4.70. But the increases at Beach Club Villas, and especially at Old Key West, were enough to surpass it. I refuse to accept that Kidani has dropped to 9th place. I need to schedule a visit and stay there so I can give it some spectacular reviews.
What does this mean for you?
- The art of animation and the pop century still reigns supreme for Value resorts, unless you would like to stay in a campsite.
- The moderates also remained fairly stable, but both Port Orleans resorts suffered the same reopening problems that some resorts have experienced and, as a result, had decreases in weighted satisfaction. We’ll see if this trend can be corrected in the spring.
- If you don’t qualify for Shades of Green, Wilderness Lodge is the luxury resort to choose from. That said, stay tuned for the swan, especially as deals become more plentiful than through Disney and the benefits in situ are drying up.
- Villas at Grand Floridian regained their top spot as a DVC resort with the utmost satisfaction, and recent improvements to the Polynesian also seem to have had a positive impact.
- Keep in mind that no matter what resort you choose, your satisfaction can vary greatly depending on your expectations, what is important to you, and your location within the resort, especially in larger resorts. Use the room finder to find the best place and customize a request for your stay.
Do you have any predictions about what will happen to resorts in April? Are you surprised by any of the power rankings? Have you had any personal experiences (positive or negative) at the resorts since September? Let us know in the comments!