DVC Parks and Resorts Update for December 14th
This past week included two significant events for Disney fans. The Disney Vacation Club held its annual condominium association meeting on Thursday, December 10th. Only two hours later, The Walt Disney Company presented its 2020 Investor Day.
We learned a great deal from both events, and I’ll recap it all in the latest DVC Parks and Resorts Update.
News from the Annual Meeting
Let’s start with an update that impacts all DVC members. As you know, DVC resorts didn’t operate for part of the year. However, you paid your annual dues in January of 2020, before the pandemic disrupted so many aspects of Disney’s business.
In short, you overpaid. You likely recognized this fact and wondered how DVC would address the matter. Well, I’m happy to state that members will receive a credit for their 2020 maintenance fees. DVC will apply it directly to the 2021 annual dues.
In other words, you’ll pay less for your membership in 2021 than expected. Last month, DVC Resale Market published the proposed 2021 annual dues for each resort. You’ll receive a discount for your Home Resort(s) depending on where they are.
Obviously, each property accrued different expenses. So, the credit differs per location. Owners at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort will receive a $0.25 per point adjustment. Meanwhile, those who bought early at Disney’s Riviera Resort will gain a $1.70 per point credit.
Thanks to my friend Tim at DVC News, who always attends the meeting, here’s a picture from the meeting that shows the credit you should expect:
Please understand that if you purchased a contract during calendar 2020, you might receive only partial credit, as it reflects 12 months of membership.
DVC Refurb Schedule Altered
DVC also announced an updated schedule for resort refurbishments. Obviously, management adjusted some plans due to the pandemic. Still, three resorts will undergo Soft Goods refreshes in 2021. They are:
- Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa
- Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
- Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort & Spa
Due to the pandemic, Disney won’t perform any Hard Goods refreshes in calendar 2021. Earlier this year, I’d noted that Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge had scheduled a Hard Goods refurbishment in 2020.
Not only did DVC have to skip it, but management also isn’t planning it for 2021, either. Instead, it’ll occur in 2022, along with Disney’s Beach Club Resort. Also, DVC has advanced the Polynesian Soft Goods refurb timeline since the resort’s undergoing other renovations right now anyway.
DVC Unveils 2022 DVC Points Charts
DVC also released the 2022 Points Charts for the various resorts. You may recall that the program had introduced a seven-season system for 2021. This strategy will continue in 2022.
Disney posted an explanation for the changes, which you can read on the official site. I’ve also pasted it here for your convenience:
“After a thorough analysis of Member travel patterns and Resort demand, the 2022 Disney Vacation Club Vacation Points Charts were adjusted to continue to encourage travel throughout the year with the goal of improving availability.
The 2022 Vacation Points Charts will again feature 7 seasons with modified travel options. Similar to the 2021 reallocation, travel periods with greater demand will require more Points and travel periods with less demand will require fewer Points. For example, Members can enjoy stays for fewer Points than the year before when traveling during the summer period. On the other hand, Members who wish to travel in certain weeks in October, November and December will require more Points than the year before.
The 2022 changes only affect Disney Vacation Club Resorts at Walt Disney World Resort. They do not impact Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort, The Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and Aulani, Disney Vacation Club Villas.”
You should check the Points Chart for your home resort to determine whether these changes will impact your standard vacation habits.
Disney Investor Day News
When DIS stock closed for the day on December 10th, the stock cost $154.62. When the stock closed on Friday, it was $175.72. What happened in the interim to cause such a bump? CEO Bob Chapek laid out the direction of his company from now through the end of fiscal 2024. Suffice to say that investors loved what they saw.
Earlier this year, Chapek pivoted his company into a streaming media business, first and foremost. Don’t worry. Parks, resorts, and Disney merchandise aren’t going anywhere, as they’re still anchor parts of the company’s revenue stream. However, Disney has committed to attaining most of its revenue from digital platforms.
The early results have proven overwhelmingly positive. When then-CEO Bob Iger committed to the plan, he projected that the linchpin product, Disney+, would gain between 60 and 90 million subscribers by 2024. As of December 2nd, it’s already reached 86.8 million subscribers.
Meanwhile, Hulu+ has gained 38.8 million customers, and ESPN+ has exceeded all expectations with 11.1 million. In April of 2019, Iger had projected eight million subscribers by 2024, 12 million at the most.
High Hopes for Digital Disney
All these revenue streams have proven that Disney is a force to reckon with in the over-the-top (OTT) streaming service industry. In fact, Chapek has vastly increased the company’s Disney+ expectations through 2024. He believes the service could gain 260 million subscribers by then. If he’s correct, three percent of the world’s population, one out of 33 people, would be Disney+ customers.
Should this optimism prove accurate, Disney+ alone could net $1.6 billion per month. Starting in March, a subscription will increase to $7.99 a month in the United States. At 260 million subscribers and its current net profit rate of 75-80 percent, it’d gain nearly $20 billion a year…just for Disney+.
That’s before we factor in ESPN+ and Hulu’s successes, the latter of which has doubled its ad-supported monthly viewer totals to 92 million. Disney has positioned itself to become a dominant player in content creation and distribution, perhaps better than ever before.
For years, the company’s Achilles heel was the erosion of cable/network television, which hinted that Disney would lose lucrative advertising dollars and carriage fees. In one fell swoop, the three-headed OTT service strategy has turned the company into a powerhouse.
Coming Soon to Disney+ and Hulu+
For Disney fans, this means that the company will soon have extra capital to use on park improvements and expansions. Oh, and it also means that your Disney+ subscription will include upcoming TV series and movies like:
- Alien TV series based on the film franchise
- Armor Wars
- Beauty and the Beast live-action prequel
- Disenchanted, a sequel to Enchanted
- Dug Days, a TV series sequel to UP!
- Hocus Pocus 2
- I Am Groot
- Marvel’s What If…?
- Moana sequel series
- Peter Pan & Wendy live-action film
- Pinocchio live-action film
- Secret Invasion, a Marvel comic series event
- Star Wars: Ahsoka
- Star Wars: Andor
- Star Wars: Lando
- Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kinobi
- Star Wars: Rangers of the New Republic
- Tiana sequel to The Princess and the Frog
- Willow TV series sequel
I just haphazardly selected 25 projects, and I didn’t even cover half of the projects Disney just announced across Hulu and Disney+. Over the next two years, the streaming service will feature at least two must-watch programs each week. I’m talking Marvel/Star Wars/Pixar/Disney Animation stuff.
I’m telling you right now that one of the best gifts you can give a loved one this holiday season is a gift subscription to Disney+. During Investor Day, Disney laid its cards on the table, and we learned something remarkable.
The company’s not trying to replace its TV programming like Disney Channel, Freeform, ABC, and ESPN. Instead, Disney will relocate it to digital subscription services. Three years from now, we’ll view Disney the same way that we once utilized an entire cable package. It’s evolving into a one-stop location for all content consumption needs. That’s why the stock spiked.
Flying Traveler Updates
Strangely, this past week was relatively quiet at the parks. Disney was kind enough to refresh its Park Passes for the rest of December and early January. So, if you need something for the holiday season, the window of opportunity just reopened.
In next week’s update, I’ll discuss the coronavirus/vaccine situation in detail. However, the amazingly wonderful news is that the FDA has given emergency authorization for the Pfizer/BioNTech candidate. That’s not quite the same as FDA approval, but it’s plenty good enough for our needs. Some Orlando health officials could administer treatments as soon as THIS week.
Orlando International Airport (MCO) also added a helpful amenity. You can now take a rapid results COVID-19 test at the airport. This information will tell you whether you’re safe to fly. And it’s particularly handy for DVC members flying to Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa. You may remember that Hawaii requires tourists to prove that they’re virus-free before entering the state.
Speaking of which, Hawaiian Airlines will add a new route at MCO in March. You can fly round trip from Orlando to Honolulu or vice versa. It’s a direct flight, too. So, Aulani trips just got a whole lot easier for DVC members. In fact, I’m looking forward to hearing how well Walt Disney World/Aulani split stays work. That’ll legitimately be possible starting next spring.
Park and Resort Updates
At Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, The Turf Club Lounge recently reopened. As with many resort lounges in operation right now, Turf Club features a limited menu. If you’re hungry for pizza, burgers, or chips and dip, you’ll be fine. If not, well, the bar remains fully stocked here.
At the parks, we recently had another arrest incident, this time involving a celebrity. Harvard graduate and former boy band member Spectacular Blue Smith pulled what he thought was a funny prank at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. He took off his mask and fake-sneezed while saying, “coronavirus.”
A cast member wasn’t amused by the joke. This person twice asked Smith to leave the ride’s line queue. The entrepreneur refused on both occasions. At this point, the Disney employee blocked the line. Smith reacted by punching the cast member twice in the face. Unsurprisingly, the celebrity is now banned from Disney theme parks. Folks, please be nice to cast members. Their jobs are hard.
Finally, the other park story this week amuses me a great deal. Some guests have gotten a kick out of removing their masks for ride photos. They don’t realize it, but they’re jeopardizing the health of surrounding guests. Disney wants to discourage such actions, and it’s tested a brilliant approach. For a time, ride photos digitally added face masks to the pictures of unmasked guests. How great is that???
Alas, some guests complained, forcing Disney to release an official statement. Here it is:
“In response to guest requests, we tested modifying some ride photos. We are no longer doing this and continue to expect guests to wear face coverings except when actively eating or drinking while stationary.”