DVC Parks and Resorts Update for August 3rd
The tide has turned for Disney Vacation Club members. I come bearing quite a bit of good news in the latest DVC Parks and Resorts update.
For several months, Disney resorts remained closed. During this period, DVC executives discontinued some of its member emails, as they didn’t feel appropriate.
One of the ways we can tell that Disney’s back is that it emailed its first DVC Insider since the pandemic began.
As part of the renewed focus on membership satisfaction, Disney has requested feedback from its customers.
If you use the feedback system, your question may get answered in a future edition of Disney Files Magazine.
So, feel free to drop Disney a note and point out any ideas you have to improve the membership experience.
DVC Resorts Updates
The one complaint you will NOT have involves DVC resorts. When these facilities reopened on June 15 and June 22, only DVC members could stay there.
Since then, some of them have reopened to the public while others have remained closed to regular guests. Disney had previously indicated that these facilities would allow non-DVC guests soon after the parks reopened.
The other day, Disney changed course on the subject. Three DVC resorts will remain closed to the general public for an unspecified length of time.
The first two resorts will stay closed to non-DVC members through October 1. The Polynesian won’t allow regular guests until October 4. Also, Disney could feasibly delay these reopenings again.
So, DVC members who stay at these three resorts will have the run of the place for the next three months. If you’ve watched any vlogs or read any Disney articles over the past month, you should know by now that resorts are as empty as anyone can ever remember.
You have a rare opportunity to visit Walt Disney World right now, at least as long you’re comfortable with the safety measures in place. I am and will visit in October, but I realize that it’s a decision that everyone must make for themselves.
By the way, I should mention two other aspects of this reversal. The delay impacts one other non-DVC property, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. Also, it applies to Stormalong Bay as well.
Yes, I’m sorry to inform you that your favorite DVC pool will apparently remain closed until early October.
Hopefully, Disney reconsiders on this subject, but I suspect it’s too expensive to operate the pool without high guest volume.
DVC Restaurant Updates
Speaking of guest safety, Disney has altered one of its policies to protect guests. This one involves coronavirus safety measures at resort restaurants.
You may know that Disney hasn’t required temperature checks at the resorts. The company hadn’t felt the need since it introduced these requirements at the parks and Disney Springs.
However, some guests never go to the parks or entertainment complex. Instead, they hang out at the hotel resort all day. In fact, many guests dine at resort restaurants even though they’re staying somewhere else.
Disney hasn’t disclosed the reason why it recently began temperature tests at resort restaurants. I’m not sure whether this happened due to guest requests or cast member safety concerns, both of which are viable reasons.
Still, you should be aware that when you visit any Disney hotel restaurant, you must prove that your temperature is lower than 100.4 degrees. Otherwise, you won’t be allowed into the dining room area for safety reasons.
On a different restaurant note, the Tables in Wonderland program has updated its policies, too. Like many other annual memberships, Tables in Wonderland faced questions about how it will address the four-month park closure period.
Technically, the program became available again when DVC resorts reopened on June 22. Thankfully, Tables in Wonderland has followed the lead of other Disney programs. It has extended annual subscriptions by 117 days. Yes, that’s the same extension length as annual passes.
Also, if you’re thinking about buying a Tables in Wonderland subscription, they remain unavailable for now. Similarly, you still can’t buy an annual pass at the moment. I presume that Disney will open the sales window again soon-ish, but it hasn’t happened yet.
By the way, in case you’re wondering, Tables in Wonderland and annual pass discounts remain valid. So, if you already own one of these subscriptions, you’ll still get your discount.
Yes, Hurricane Season Has Arrived
According to the National Weather Service, hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30. The way that hurricane naming conventions work, the first tropical storm’s name begins with an A, the second starts with a B, and so forth.
Well, August just started, and we’re already talking about a hurricane named Isaias. If we get another tropical storm by August 21, it’ll be the earliest ever for 10 of them. And that’s 2020 for you.
How does this apply to Disney? If you didn’t hear, Isaias’s path carried it dangerously close to the Florida coast. Late Sunday evening, forecasts called for it to remain away from the mainland. Currently, Isaias includes winds of 70 miles per hour, though. So, the situation remains precarious.
The National Hurricane Center has tracked its path as north/northeast of Cape Canaveral. However, the stormfront proved formidable enough that NASA performed its first astronaut splashdown since 1976.
Disney lovers are in “What now?” mode about this tropical storm. Orlando appears likely to avoid the brunt of the inclement weather, but that statement presumes an accurate forecast. So, it’s going to be another stressful day in Central Florida.
In recent years, hurricanes have challenged park officials with their frequency. Thankfully, park managers have become proactive in taking preventive steps to safeguard everything from hurricane conditions.
Realistically, the last thing that anybody needs during a pandemic is a hurricane. So, we’re all hopeful that hurricane season will take the year off.
A Few Disney/Universal Updates
Here are some of the other interesting Disney stories this week.
TripAdvisor lauded Magic Kingdom as Best Theme Park in the Traveler’s Choice Awards. Universal’s Islands of Adventure had won five straight years before TripAdvisor finally got it right with this vote.
Speaking of Universal, this week was a brutal one. I know that many DVC members (including me) sometimes take a joint trip to Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort.
Sadly, the pandemic obliterated Universal, as park revenue fell a staggering 94% to $87 million. NBCUniversal, the parent company, delivered some brutal honesty during its quarterly earnings call.
CEO Jeff Shell stated that the “financial impact has been most significant and immediate and the operational challenge the most daunting.” Soon afterward, Universal revealed that it’s placing its previously announced theme park, Epic Universe, on hold until the economy normalizes.
Since Universal park attendance remains lackluster, the company also laid off an undisclosed but reportedly significant number of park employees. To the company’s credit, it did offer these former workers reemployment assistance, severance pay, and subsidized health benefits.
Still, this move hints at the struggles that theme parks will face until coronavirus becomes less problematic to society. The Walt Disney Company will report its quarterly earnings on August 4, and the news will be similarly horrifying.
In fact, The Oriental Land Company, the owner and operator of Tokyo Disney Resort, already reported its revenue, which was down 95 percent year-over-year. Thankfully, the worst is over, but theme park revenue from March through June will stick out like a sore thumb in future years.
Okay, that’s all the updates for this week. Stay healthy and smart, everyone!