On Wednesday, July 10, 2013, Disney updated travel agents with an announcement that refrigerators were being removed from resort rooms. Rooms other than DVC villas, suites, and the Cabins at Fort Wilderness were going to be affected. Simultaneously, refrigerators were removed from resort room descriptions on-line. As of this writing, I am not aware of any official press release from Disney regarding this matter.
The removal of the refrigerators is due to a fire started by one at Disney Grand California Resort at Disneyland. Therefore, the same models are being removed at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and the Aulani Resort. Guests currently on-site will not be affected as their refrigerators will remain until they check-out of their resort.
Removal does not fully describe what is happening, it is more of unplugging and informing guests via letter in the room as to what is happening, and then replacing when new refrigerators become available which could take months based on the information Disney gave travel agents.
Facebook and Disney message boards were hopping yesterday as fans, guests, and prospective guests, like us, learned of the news. We were informed via our travel agent.
Disney did indicate the a limited number of portable refrigerators were available for guests with medical needs, but could not guarantee access.
Not having a refrigerator in our room is not life or death, but is a matter of inconvenience. When I received the news via email, I first phoned our travel agent to confirm. I asked if Disney was going to compensate guests for this inconvenience. No information was available. She suggested we take a cooler—hmm. . . not a bad idea and we do have a collapsible Disney Cruise Line cooler, which is going in our luggage.
My next call was to our resort. Yes, they were aware of the issue, which was different than other’s experience when calling the Disney reservation system. I was told that our room was going to be affected. I explained that we had already placed a grocery delivery order and that while the items could be stored outside of a refrigerator, our juice and soda needed to be chilled prior to consumption. I asked if the resort would be providing ice chests or coolers to guests upon check-in. No answer. I explained that one of the reasons we love Disney is that Disney anticipates our needs even before we have them and would hope this issue would be the same. I asked if the gift shop would be selling inexpensive coolers. Again, not sure. I asked if guests would be compensated for the inconvenience, as well as paying for the service upon making the reservation. Again, no definitive answer. I was told that a note was being made on our reservation.
So, prospective Walt Disney World guests traveling in the next few months will experience this particular issue—some sooner than others. Guests driving or renting a car will most likely be stopping at the Hess station which will be inundated with ice chest and ice purchases. I hope they are well stocked. Guest relying on Disney transportation will have to get creative with packing, like we are, or hope that the resorts will have some sort of solution on hand. I just hope the ice machines at the resorts are prepared to handle the volume. In ten trips, we have never used the ice machines or ice buckets in the rooms. With so many guests now relying on various containers to use ice and chill drinks, food, or medicine, housekeeping will certainly be affected, which I also shared with the resort via phone. They didn’t disagree.
The husband knows I am just warming up on this issue, and will inquire again upon check-in at the resort. As one Disney fan put it on the message boards, this week’s Limited Time Magic theme is “Raise the cost of my refillable mug and take away my resort room fridge.” Hmmm. . .