At first glance, Dolphin Cove Resort looks idyllic. It’s situated on five picturesque acres in Anaheim, conveniently located near Disneyland. It has a free mini-golf course, a pool, two hot tubs and an awesome clubhouse. It offers free on-site laundry and beautiful views. You can even see the Disneyland fireworks from the pool!
The resort itself looks absolutely delightful… but looks can be deceiving. The customer service is absolutely deplorable. That’s why it’s important to always read reviews when deciding where to stay. This is a review of Dolphin Cove Resort.
Here are three major, absolutely outrageous reasons why you should avoid Dolphin Cove Resort.
1. Dolphin Cove Resort disregards people with disabilities.
When we booked a total of 14 nights in two separate reservations. We had asked to be in one room during the entire stay and we had called ahead to make it clear that we needed a ground-floor unit due to my husband’s disabilities. Unfortunately, when we arrived at the resort, we were given an upstairs unit.
My father-in-law arrived a few days later. He is dependent on a mobility scooter, yet they also attempted to place him in an upstairs unit even though there is no elevator to the top floor! This would have been physically impossible for him to access.
They were able to reassign him to a ground-floor unit but it was frustrating that they didn’t even notate that we had called ahead for two ground-floor units. We had even discussed this at length during our check-in two days prior. Despite the repeated contact, there were no notes taken nor any communication among the staff about these specific and critical needs.
2. Dolphin Cove Resort discriminates against families with young children.
I didn’t notice until my extended family checked into the hotel but everyone was treated differently than we were. We have five children and our experience with the front desk has been absolutely horrid. Brooke is the only employee that has been respectful, helpful and courteous to us.
Nevertheless, when my father-in-law checked into his room (at the same time that I checked into our second reservation), he was handed a personalized welcome package. He received a personalized bottle of sparkling cider and other materials that were never even mentioned to us.
Ironically, my father-in-law booked both rooms at the same time through the same site. We had identical reservations. The only difference? We have young children.
3. Dolphin Cove Resort employees are dishonest, inconsistent and do not communicate.
One of the most frustrating things about our stay has been the utter lack of communication between the employees at Dolphin Cove Resort. One employee will say one thing but the next person will give us an entirely different story. It has been a train wreck.
When we confirmed our reservation before we left home, we were promised that we would have one bottom-floor room the entire stay. After we drove over 1,000 miles to get here, everything changed.
For example, we were assigned a top-floor room when we checked in. We were told this would only be our room for two days. This was not consistent with the confirmation phone call we had made just a few days before.
The next day, we were ushered into a bottom-floor room. We were promised that we would be in this room for the next twelve days, so I unpacked everything into the closets and drawers. Since it was going to be our home for almost two weeks, it didn’t make sense to keep living out of suitcases.
However, on the second day of our stay, we were told that management had ordered us to move rooms yet again. Brooke was the one who informed us of the move. When I objected and said we were told we would be in the same room all 12 days, she said, “Yeah, that’s what I thought too… but my manager just told me we need to move you guys again.”
Our first two rooms had exactly the same size and floor plan. It wasn’t until our third room, which was much smaller, that we were told we had been in a deluxe room. It seemed like a downgrade when we moved but they claimed that we had indescribably been provided a better-than-average room for reasons nobody can explain. After all the lies and miscommunications, I’m not even sure that’s true.
This communication breakdown has caused us endless headaches here at Dolphin Cove Resort over the duration of our trip. As anyone who travels with young children knows, it is a real pain to move between rooms with all of their luggage and things. It’s also difficult to get the kids settled and comfortable into a new place. And, of course, there’s the headache of checking every single bed for bed bugs every time we move! This was a needless stress and difficulty on what was supposed to be our first real family vacation.
There are other issues with Dolphin Cove Resort, too.
Of course, there were other minor issues that we encountered throughout our stay. On their own, these minor issues could have been ignored or overlooked… but in conjunction with the bigger problems we experienced, they seem worth mentioning.
One of our rooms wasn’t available until after the scheduled check-in time. Ironically, this is a room that management had said was going to receive an expedited cleaning… but housekeeping had no idea about any expedited request when we asked about it.
The fixtures are old and worn down. Paint is peeling in many places. All of the doors are dented and damaged in such a way that it looks like the housekeeping staff is very careless. Since extended stays include one full housekeeping service, this carelessness could result in an incidental room charge if you are falsely accused of causing those damages.
Because I always check every hotel room we stay in for bed bugs, I noticed that the bed bug covers on the couch mattresses had holes and tears. I also noticed that it was absolutely filthy behind and around the headboards. On the bed bugs front, we did find one bug on a mattress. It was only one, so it was clearly not a total infestation. Although I thought it looked very similar to a bed bug, the housekeeping and maintenance staff assured us that it was not.
Another thing I found somewhat irritating was the inconsistent features within the rooms. One unit had a locking master bedroom door but the other two did not. Most of the metal fixtures, including the bedroom lamps and the mirrors, are rusted. Although they were meticulous in keeping the furniture and artwork identical, many smaller details were very inconsistent and poorly maintained.
Ironically, the best hotels we’ve stayed in are the cheapest ones.
It’s true that Dolphin Cove Resort is not the cheapest place you can stay during your Disneyland vacation. We splurged on this specific resort because my father-in-law wanted to stay here. We also have a large family, which requires us to have a larger hotel room. This hotel was about $20 more per night than the cheapest room I was able to find that would meet our needs. It also had more amenities, so it appeared to be worth the additional cost. If anything, this hotel experience has proven that more money does not necessarily equate to a better experience and that you should always read the reviews before reserving your room.
So far, the best experiences we’ve had on this trip have also been the cheapest hotels. In my experience, you are not missing out if you book a cheaper room and you certainly do not need a timeshare to enjoy a vacation. We’ll cover more on all that in the rest of our Disney on the Cheap series, which is coming soon!