Everything I've read about the Access series rods is that they are a lot of bang for the buck. I have never cast one but have looked at them in a shop. How did it feel to you when you cast it? Have you tried any other rods beyond the Orvis? Not saying that it's not a good choice, many of our members seem to like them. Just saying there could be other options that to YOU feel better.
There's a recent discussion about the 9'0 5wt here on our form that's pretty recent.
Once you get to a certain price point, you're generally getting higher grade components--cork, spacer, hardware, guides, hook keeper, winding check, sock, tube, etc.
Have you thought about taking a casting lesson by chance? As mridenour mentioned, getting instruction will pay huge dividends in the long run. It may also allow you to test some various rods and spend time with some them before you make a purchase.
Honestly, since you don't know what you want, or what you're looking for, you should probably buy the Redington CT. A) it's a very nice rod, many of us have them and like them. B) it's more than $300 less than the access C) it a pretty slow action stick which generally suits beginners D) it's a mid to full flex, which seems to work well with what the Orvis dealer told you E) once your casting stroke develops if you want a faster rod you can hold onto the CT as a backup, or a loaner, or for smaller water, or resell it for a minimal loss, no big deal at that price F) buying a CT will prevent you from spending $300 for a rod that's too fast for your skills and will frustrate you and drive you away from the sport while eating up your whole budget G) you can set the rest of the money aside and save it until you have developed your skills and have a better sense of what you actually want, and what fits your style once it's actually developed a bit (or you can use it to buy a whole lot of beer, or sausage, or cheese, or kale... whatever your poison happens to be).
All that aside, if you're looking for a nice American made rod well within your price range, you'd do well to check out some of the St. Croix models, the Imperial in particuler is American made and well within budget.
Ok - I went by a shop earlier today - Orvis. the guy there watched my cast and said the Access with Mid flex fits my motion.
Does that change anyone's opinion?
It did not change my opinion one bit.
Disclaimer: I worked in the fly fishing retail biz for six years.
To stay consistent with what I have told others, I usually respond by telling a forum member to visit a local fly fishing shop or an Orvis specialty shop. You have the ability to test some rods out in order to help narrow down your selection. You can put various reels on those rods to help figure out which reels complement the rods the best. You can sometimes test fly lines to see which ones work best for the rods you are trying out.
There are other perks, as well. You can learn of local waters that you would not even consider fishing (don't push your luck on secret spots). A sales associate can tell you of the hot bug that all of the fish are targeting. You can learn a bit of entomology to understand why that bug is working. You can have someone analyze your cast (didn't that Orvis guy do that for you?) or even give you a casting tune up.
There are other services that are associated with shops. If you need a formal casting lesson, fly tying lesson, or want to go on a guided or destination trip, the shop can arrange them.
The reality is that you will most likely pay a bit more at a local fly shop or Orvis store, but you the relationship between you and the shop will be priceless. Feel lucky that you have access to a fly fishing retailer near you because there are some regions don't even have fly shops.
If you really liked that Access, that should be the rod for you. It will work well for you now, but it should be a fine stick as you progress.