WDWMagic.com is reporting that, starting today, free in-room wireless internet access will be available for the following resorts:
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Disney’s Beach Club Resort
Disney’s BoardWalk Resort
Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Disney’s Old Key West Resort
Disney’s Polynesian Resort
Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort
Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
I’m going to go against the current here and give this one a thumbs down. Not because I feel I use the internet on my phone too much already on vacation and this will only further enable the behavior, but because Guests are going to pay for this one way or another. Either by virtue of an increase in room rates, or because Disney used a portion of the resort budget it could have used for other purposes for wireless internet infrastructure. As has been said on this website before, there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and Disney certainly doesn’t make moves that affect the bottom-line out of sheer benevolence. Make no mistake, Guests are paying for this, whether it be through a coming (or past) room-rate increase, or by foregoing some other upgrade at the resorts.
I know a lot of people will disagree, wondering, “how does he not want FREE internet! It’s internet, and it’s FREE!” They might say that free wireless internet is standard in nice hotels nowadays (it’s not), but I feel those wanting or needing internet should pay for it, rather than the cost being spread among everyone. If you’re a business owner who “needs” internet, it’s worth it for you to pay $9.95 per night. If you’re not a business owner who doesn’t have internet on your phone and think you “need” internet, you should pay to use it. Free internet encourages wasting time online by those who don’t need it (like me), and Disney should want that time being spent by Guests in Disney parks, where they’re more likely to be spending money.
The only way I see this as a plus is if it has been demonstrated to Disney that it is losing business at its resorts because it’s not offering free internet, and the gain in Guest satisfaction and business will more than offset the lost revenue and infrastructure, operating, and maintenance costs of offering “free” internet.