Holiday Inn Main Gate East Hotel Review
We arrived at the Holiday Inn Main Gate East hotel after a long day of travel around 7 in the evening and were looking forward to a quick check-in so we could stretch out and finally relax. My first impression of the hotel was the front desk staff; she was more than courteous, very friendly and eager to answer all of our questions. She quickly checked us in, offered us a Disney shuttle schedule and a map of the hotel with instruction to find our rooms without any trouble. While we were in the process of checking in Baby Girl ran into the large floor to ceiling window they had at the entry of the hotel; I suppose she thought she could walk through to the other side of the lobby. The front desk clerk was very sweet when this happened and wanted to be sure that our little girl was okay; Baby Girl had her feelings hurt more than anything but she was physically fine.
I was impressed by the exterior of the hotel; the grounds were very well manicured and maintained; I had seen grounds workers picking up garbage several times throughout our stay and noticed how clean the area looked. The the main floor of the hotel was very nicely decorated and also well maintained. Guest Services was on the opposite side of the lobby where we could conveniently grab any Disney park tickets, vehicle rental information or any other local area information that we inquired about. We also noticed a small store off the front desk where we could grab snacks, laundry soap, Disney souvenirs and various other things people might need during their hotel stay.
Being that we are a large family of 6 and the limit per room was 5, the hotel required us to have two rooms to accommodate our family, done by connecting rooms. We decided, since we already had two rooms, to invite my in-laws along to help us with the 4 kids and were more than happy we did; the extra pairs of hands were very appreciated. Our room was located on the 6th floor overseeing the back parking lot and fenced off pond/standing water pool which was okay but I would have preferred a room overseeing the outdoor hotel pool area instead; had I known, I would have requested this. This is where our older kids spent most of their time when we were at the hotel; our 12 year old was in charge but I still checked in on my kids throughout swimming.
The first thing I noticed about our hotel room was actually before we walked in; the hallway walls on our floor looked like they were in need of fresh paint. Our hotel room doors looked like they were in older condition or had modifications to their lock systems previously. Naturally a secure door is something of concern. I will point out that both doors were secure and offered additional safety locks once inside the room however one of the doors to our two rooms caused some concern. The door did not close like other hotel room doors where it swings shut automatically and closes securely behind you. This door had to be pulled shut then pushed on and the handle jiggled to be sure the door was actually shut. The first time we left our room, we came back to find the door looked closed but hadn’t actually latched shut. My Mother-in-Law was very concerned about this because she was the one staying in that room with my 2 older girls so we tried only to use our hotel room door when coming or going to avoid the chance of leaving the door open by mistake. Usually I left last to make sure both doors were shut all the way before we left but I knew the maid would come and although I’m sure she made sure to close the door tightly, the worry was always on my mind.
The next thing I noticed when entering the rooms was that the air smelled fairly musty and not like a freshly cleaned hotel room. We immediately turned the air conditioners on, they pulled the moisture out of the air and by the next day the rooms already smelled better. Coming from a drier area, we noticed Orlando to be quite humid on most days. The beds were made and the rooms were tidy but the carpets looked like they might need a good steam cleaning or to be replaced. Having stayed in many hotels in my adult life, I expect hotel rooms to have some “usage” to their look but in my opinion these hotel rooms could use a fresh coat of paint. The air conditioner was a bit noisy but much needed in combination with the comfortable beds, we all slept very well. Overall the decor was fairly updated and modern.
The bathrooms were nice, offering an in room safe for all our valuables like passports, hair dryer, a single cup coffee maker with fixings and some necessities in case we forgot our own Shampoo and lotion. The bathrooms offered ample space for a large family. The towels were fresh and looked new and crisp and the bathroom looked clean. I’m fairly particular when it comes to cleanliness, especially when I have a toddler who wants to sit, lay or play on the floor so although most people wouldn’t look in the corners or under the table, I do. Overall the rooms were very clean when we checked in. One thing noticeable was when I went to bath my toddler, the tub drain stopper was missing. I didn’t bother to call the front desk because I just took the stopper from the other room, everyone else showers anyway. There was also plenty of hot water to go around for our large family.
One of my pet peeves about the maid service was that she didn’t restock everything each day. Some days we were missing coffee or fixings (creamer packs), one day we were completely out of tissue, another day we were completely out of toilet paper in one room and almost every day we weren’t left enough towels for everyone. She continually left 3 towels in each room; there were 8 of us between the two rooms. A couple days I called the front desk and these items were immediately sent up, a couple times we stopped the maid in the hall to ask her to make sure she left us 4 towels in each room; by the end of the trip I was completely annoyed and just made my daughters share towels. Every other day throughout our stay we had left the maid tips ; the days we left tips did not make a difference if we had our room completely stocked or not. Obviously we expect the odd thing to be missed but when it’s the same thing over and over and something we were specific about, it’s a bit frustrating, especially when you are exhausted walking the parks all day and just want to take a shower. I do have to repeat that as soon as we called the front desk, these items were sent up and the staff was very apologetic.
When we were at the hotel we spent a lot of our time in the pool area of the hotel where the kids enjoyed swimming and meeting new vacation friends. The area was very nice with a large swimming pool and hot tub for the bigger kids or adults and a paddling pool for the little ones, Baby Girl had a blast splashing around in there; there were plenty of towels around the pool area to use afterwards as well. The hotel bar had a waitress/bartender that came around the pool area; an added bonus to the hotel and I must mention that she was yet another very friendly staff member. In fact all of the staff we dealt with, front desk, maid, bartender, guest services, maintenance and restaurant staff were all extremely friendly, helpful and courteous; we cannot praise the hotel enough in this regard. Great staff means an even better hotel stay.
There were a few added bonuses to this hotel which make this a great family friendly option when staying in Orlando, FL. One of my kids favorites was the kids theatre room where they could hang out with friends they met at the hotel watching Disney movies together or in the games room where they could play air hockey or other various arcade games. A couple of the better games weren’t working which was disappointing to the kids but the kids, and Hubs on a couple nights, spent some time playing around; this was great for the adults to get some relaxation time after long days at the parks.
The hotel also offered a very nice playground for the kids, a gym, if you have time for that during your trip, and a full service restaurant/A & W/Pizza Hut right in the hotel. We found out the first night that kids eat free with each entree that is ordered. Throughout our trip we ate in this restaurant several times; the food was always good and the service friendly and quick. One of our favorites was the morning breakfast buffet the hotel offered; we always left the hotel with a full belly and energy for a full day at the Walt Disney Parks.
One of the other great benefits to this hotel was that it offered laundry facilities right on our hotel floor. With 4 kids and an 8 night stay, naturally we had to do a couple loads of laundry. The lobby convenience store came in handy for laundry soap and dryer sheets and the laundry machines worked well. The only complaint I have about this has nothing to do with the hotel and everything to do with my eldest daughter Miss Priss. Miss Priss asked ME if I had sorted the laundry correctly….what 10 year old asks her mother that?! Oh, Miss Priss!
One of the reasons we wanted to stay at this hotel was because they are a Walt Disney Good Neighbor Hotel which means they offer daily shuttles to the parks for free. This is an excellent option when you want to save money on renting a vehicle, especially if you are only planning to attend the parks during your trip. We had a rented jogging stroller with us to allow Baby Girl to remain comfortable during our days at the parks and were prepared to take it on the shuttle with us when we were approached by the shuttle organizer/staff that we could not take the stroller on the shuttle because of it’s size. Ironically this jogging stroller folded up smaller than our regular stroller we left at home; basically all they would allow were umbrella strollers. I was not impressed to say the least. The hotel staff was very good about offering us an umbrella stroller to use in it’s place but I refused and decided to take my chances renting a stroller at Walt Disney World that day. I understand the rules, although not really accommodating in my opinion, the problem I had was that the jogging stroller we rented was dropped off by the rental company on our arrival date to the hotel staff. Surely they could have mentioned to us that it had arrived in the first place, instead of us having to ask, and that the stroller wasn’t allowed on the shuttle; obviously we would be using it at the parks. After a day in a rented park stroller we decided to rent a vehicle so we could take the jogging stroller with us and ensure our Baby Girl would be comfortable all day; we didn’t think it was fair to her.
Overall we enjoyed our stay with the Holiday Inn Main Gate East hotel. If you have little ones, one recommendation would be to inquire about your stroller and the shuttle service before hauling it along or ask the guest service desk about renting a vehicle and they will put you in touch with a rental company. There were a couple of things as mentioned above that I would recommend the hotel management take care of but ultimately it would not affect my recommendation of staying at this hotel. With all that the hotel offers and the economy value, this is a great choice for families on a budget. The Holiday Inn Main Gate East hotel helped make our magical memories, lasting ones.