DVC Parks and Resorts Update for December 21st

Keister Coaster Typo Boardwalk Pool Disney World

Welcome to Christmas week! Yes, 2020 is mercifully coming to a close, and we have plenty to celebrate. While you’re sipping eggnog and shaking Christmas presents to guess what you’re getting, let’s look at everything happening at Disney. Here’s the latest DVC Parks and Resorts Update.

The Tide Has Turned with COVID-19

First, let me stress that none of this helps you until you’ve taken the vaccine and waited two to four weeks for efficacy. After that period has passed, you’re in business, though. Yes, the moment we’ve all awaited throughout the year has finally arrived.

Modern medicine has crafted two vaccines that stave off serious COVID-19 infections. Both treatments have received emergency authorization to distribute in the United States. This aspect proves beneficial to all of us, including DVC members who want to visit Walt Disney World for the 50th-anniversary celebration.

As I promised last week, I will provide full details on what’s happened here. The short explanation is that Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine has already started American distribution. The other medicine comes from Moderna, and it earned approval this past Friday. So, we’re skiing downhill from here.

From this point forward, Americans will collectively take millions of doses of vaccines to ward off the possibility of COVID-19 infection. I’m not a virologist and won’t pretend to understand the full science here. If you’re curious, you should watch this presentation from a doctoral candidate:

Also, if you don’t mind a substantial amount of salty language, you can read a dumbed-down explanation in this series of tweets:

Realistically, the how of it is less important than the when. You want to take the vaccine as quickly as possible. I have phenomenal news on this front, as some Floridians have already taken the vaccine. According to the Orlando Sentinel, “more than 32,700 Floridians” received this preventive treatment thus far.

What Happens Next?

As a reminder, both versions of the vaccine require two shots. You’ll get one, wait 2-4 weeks, and then take another. Otherwise, your efficacy rate falls significantly, meaning you’re less protected against coronavirus. So, you want two shots and then a multi-week wait while your body processes the treatment. Afterward, you have nearly a 19 in 20 chance of avoiding significant COVID-19 symptoms, the ones that have tragically proven fatal to millions of people.

One of the businesses administering the vaccine is AdventHealth, which operates Disney AdventHealth for Children, and nearly fifty other hospitals in Florida. Not coincidentally, the Orlando Sentinel indicates that at least 3,200 Orange County residents have received Pfizer’s vaccine.

Once Moderna arrives—which has probably happened by the time you read this—the options will double. You can review the differences between the two here. The most important part is that they’re highly effective. With two available on the market, society will get treated twice as quickly.

By the summer, a large percentage of the population will have taken the vaccine. When/if herd immunity kicks in is a longer conversation, but it’s a side point. Once you have the treatment, you won’t have to worry about your safety while traveling.

Obviously, DVC members are watching another Orange County, too. Disneyland remains closed. Help is on the way, though. Orange County has received its first shipment of vaccines.

Photo Courtesy of DisneyTouristBlog.com

How big a deal is this? The LA Times quotes a healthcare worker as saying: “We can finally see an end to the storm.” Presuming that distribution goes well, California’s government should relent on its current theme park regulations. Yes, the Happiest Place on Earth should return over the next few months.

The Keister Strikes Back

For many years now, DVC members have debated one of the most infamous amenities at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn. The Kiester Coaster at Luna Park Pool has divided guests over two admittedly trivial issues that are still fun to argue about.

One is the spelling of Kiester. I’m using the incorrect version right now to make a point. Most dictionaries indicate that this spelling is fine, as is Keister. However, Disney has preferred the E before the I in its documents, even though it’s not coming after C! Yes, our English teachers have let us down here.

In fact, Imagineers recently learned of the debate when they showed images from the modified water slide at Luna Park Pool. They spelled it Kiester Coaster, which isn’t the way that their bosses have used since the slide’s introduction. Imagineer Zach Riddley cheerfully updated regarding his mistake.

More importantly, Disney revealed the new look and style of the Keister Coaster. The malevolent sewer clown look is officially gone, replaced by the more stylish look of recent Mickey Mouse cartoons. Imagineers have aped The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse, which conveniently mirrors how they’ve styled Disney Skyliner merchandise.

Keister Coaster at Disney World

So, the Boardwalk’s water slide facing matches well with the nearby Disney Skyliner. As someone who owns a Skyliner Funko POP! and despised that creepy clown, I’m in love with this change. However, I must acknowledge that some Boardwalk loyalists do NOT approve of this update. Alas, they must learn to live with it because the modified Keister Coaster is here to stay, correct spelling and all.

DVC Will Raise Prices Again

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Even though millions of people have lost income due to the pandemic, DVC is charging forward with another price increase. This update will affect two properties, Disney’s Riviera Resort and Aulani, Disney Vacation Club Villas.

Disney will increase the price of direct purchase by $6 at each property. This price hike takes both resorts over the $200 mark, at prices of $201 per point each. The raise will go into effect on February 6th and make the entry price for direct purchase higher than ever.

Riviera Resort at Disney World

Photo Courtesy of DisneyTouristBlog.com

On that date, 9 out of 15 DVC resorts will cost more than $200 per point for purchase, including all the ones that Disney pushes as not sold out. If you’ve ever wondered how much better DVC resales are, there’s your proof.

Better DVC News

As an act of contrition, Disney will throw its members a bone in 2021. Starting on January 5th, you can get two free days added to your admission ticket. This package is available to DVC members who buy a four-day park ticket and book a room via DVC.

Anyone who qualifies for Membership Extras can take advantage of this deal, which turns four-day admission into six days of park fun. Remember that you must book a Park Pass for each day of your visit.

However, Park Hopping will be available starting on January 1st. So, the timing is advantageous. You will receive access to two different parks for a total of six days while only paying for four.

While we’re on the subject of 2021 vacations, please be aware that Disney has confirmed the reopening dates for two DVC resorts. You will be able to book cash rooms again at Disney’s Beach Club Resort, starting on May 30th, 2021. The following week, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge will return on June 6th.

Disney's Beach Club Resort

Photo Courtesy of DisneyTouristBlog.com

Obviously, you can book DVC rooms at both properties right now. These dates reflect when regular guests will return. And it’s also when you can book a discounted room without using DVC points.

Park Updates

Let’s start with wonderful news for fans of Chef Mickey’s. The characters have returned to your favorite restaurant! No, they won’t come to your table and thereby violate social distancing practices. Instead, Disney has set up a central area where the characters appear and pose for photographs. They also dance around and wave a bit.

Disney also provided new information about New Year’s Eve. The parks won’t stay open until midnight, something we already knew. However, Disney resorts want to keep guests entertained. So, some Quick Service Restaurants, hotel stores, and lounges will remain open until 1 a.m.

With this change, those of you visiting for the holiday won’t feel stuck in your room. Of course, I mentioned last week that you can watch special holiday fireworks in your villa if so inclined. Otherwise, you can roam the hotel grounds and even buy a glass/bottle of champagne. Basically, you’re moving the New Year’s party back to your hotel.

Since crowds will increase through the start of 2021, Disney has also changed its ride boarding practices on at least two roller coasters. Slinky Dog Dash and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith now seat guests on every row rather than skipping a row as before.

Those of you visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios should know that the park has changed the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance Boarding Group rules again. Don’t worry. This update is minor. You still book the first time from wherever you are at 7 a.m. However, the second Boarding Group lottery now occurs at 1 p.m. instead of the previous time, 2 p.m.

I presume this alteration is a preemptive strike against the upcoming Park Hopping option, which allows guests to enter a new park at 2 p.m. By making this move, Disney ensures that the only people receiving Boarding Groups are the ones with Hollywood Studios Park Passes for the day.

In other terrific news, the Electrical Water Pageant will return to Seven Sea Lagoon this week! Disney tested the boats, lights, and sounds last week. With the holiday approaching, park officials must have wanted to bring back a little magic for monorail resort guests.

Okay, that’s everything for this week. I hope that you all have the merriest Christmas possible and get all the gifts you want!

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