DVC Resale Market’s Disney News for November 2018
We have huge Disney Vacation Club (DVC) news this week and a lot of other Disney tidbits, too. Let’s start with the one that matters the most.
New DVC Property Coming! – Disney’s Riviera Resort
Disney’s Riviera Resort won’t even open until roughly a year from now, but The Walt Disney Company’s already planning the next thing. After months of rumors, DVC officials have officially announced the location of their 16th resort.
Disney’s River Country closed in November of 2001. Over the past few years, images and videos have leaked of the abandoned property. Parts of it were a blight, while others were depressing more than anything else. Several months ago, people noticed when park officials unexpectedly began to drain the overrun parts of the old water park. Speculation began about what Disney would do with unused land.
We now know that a currently unnamed DVC resort will reside at this location. It’s on the shore of Bay Lake somewhat between Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. Since Disney already has infrastructure and transportation in place in this area, it seems like a natural fit for a DVC property.
The property will be huge, too. Disney has indicated it will feature 900 hotel rooms and villas onsite. The target date for its opening is 2022. The DVC property will have a nature focus, which sounds lovely. It’s smart business, too. Since the plants and the trees in the area were allowed to grow unabated for more than 15 years, Disney saves money by leaning into the natural ecosystem. They’ll work with what’s already there to create the most beautiful campus since, well, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.
DVC Increases Price of One-Time Points
You’ll soon realize that this statement is part of a broader discussion, but I’ve separated the part that matters most to DVC members. Disney has once again increased the price of one-time points. You may recall that DVC one-time usage points went up to $17 each last year, a $2 increase from the original 2010 price of $15 per point.
Apparently, this price wasn’t a significant enough increase. As of now, DVC one-time points cost $19 each, another $2 increase from 2017. Over the last 13 months, the price has gone up by almost 27 percent. The most logical solution is the one that Disney wants DVC members to select. They’re incentivizing guests away from one-time usage points toward larger or additional DVC contracts.
Date-Priced Ticket Pricing and Other Price Hikes
The past month was everyone’s least-favorite on the Disney calendar. It was when they raised prices on many park necessities. DVC members are acutely impacted by the one-time usage points, but you’ll feel the price changes in several other ways, too.
As previously discussed, Disney has switched to a calendar-based pricing structure at Walt Disney World. The cost of admission at each park will depend on the day that you visit. You can check the prices on the official Disney website.
Beyond the cost of admission, Disney also raised the price of parking to $25 for the basic option. The Preferred parking is now $50 per day, while oversized vehicles such as buses, shuttles, and limos are $30 per day.
With these heightened parking fees, you may want to weigh your options with ride-sharing services in Orlando. Speaking of which, Disney’s Minnie Vans also increased in cost. They no longer have a flat fee. Instead, guests pay $15 as a base plus a per-mile charge. The new rates almost always cost more than the previous cost of $25 per one-way trip.
While I’m raining on your parade, I’ll also point out that many of the foods and snacks at Walt Disney World also went up in cost. Mickey Pretzels cost $7 now as opposed to $6 last month, while Mickey Ice Cream Bars increased from $5 to $5.75. Bottled soda went up a dollar to $4.50, and bottled water is now $3.50 rather than the prior $3 charge.
Friendship Boats on Hold
Are you staying at one of the DVC resorts at Epcot over the next couple of months? If so, you need to be aware of something important. The Friendship water taxis will be unavailable for an undisclosed amount of time. These boats transport guests from Disney’s Hollywood Studios to Disney’s Boardwalk Villas, Disney’s Beach Club Villas, the Swan & Dolphin, and Epcot.
The Swan & Dolphin has literature posted that indicates the downtime will occur starting on November 28th and will last through December 18th. Disney hasn’t officially confirmed these dates yet, but they have acknowledged that the boats will experience downtime during the holiday season.
The good news (that talked my brother down from the ledge) is that the International Gateway will remain open while the Friendship boats are out of service. So, if you’re like him and staying at Beach Club or BoardWalk during any of those dates, you can still walk to Epcot’s rear entrance. You just can’t ride a boat to this spot. In other words, you’re not out anything. It’s just a minor inconvenience at two resorts that have some of the best logistics possible.
Reunion Station Changes Policy
The special concierge service lounge at Disney’s Wilderness Lounge has changed its policies. Said changes may prove interesting to you as a DVC member. When Reunion Station first opened, it had the unwieldy rule requiring guests to pay for access each day of their trip. Also, guests had to stay at one of the DVC villas at Wilderness Lodge to use the concierge lounge.
This odd, stringent decision led to a lot of reports about Reunion Station oftentimes having more cast members on duty than guests visiting the lounge. Recognizing their miscalculation, Disney has altered the policy a bit. DVC members staying at villas across the Walt Disney World properties are now eligible to purchase a day at Reunion Station.
The cost is $50 per day per adult and $33 for children ages 3-9. While this may seem a bit steep, you do get a continental breakfast each morning from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Also, you can eat a modest albeit early dinner from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. And the fee includes alcoholic beverages like beer and wine. You even receive concierge services if you want to do something special while you’re at Walt Disney World. The cast members on duty at Reunion Station are highly trained, even by Disney standards. They’re probably antsy to do some work, too, given the slow start to Reunion Station.
You can read more about the official offerings on the Disney Parks Blog.
Interesting Happenings at Disneyland Paris
Something noteworthy was just announced at Disneyland Paris. The park had experimented with some pricey per-ride FastPasses over the summer. Park officials clearly liked the performance of the new practice, as they’ve made it permanent. And this change could feasibly become the blueprint for other parks around the world.
The new system is a paid FastPass akin to the upsells you know at Disney parks. It’s not like MaxPass, though. At Disneyland, guests pay $10 per person per admission ticket to access digital FastPasses and PhotoPass features. Since PhotoPass service has always come at a cost, MaxPass is more of a package deal than something you’re paying to get on its own.
At Disneyland Paris, the new options are exclusively related to FastPasses. The Super FastPass gives guests the ability to ride three different rides whenever they want for a set fee. The Super FastPass only entitles guests to a single ride, though. The cost is £26, the equivalent of $33.30 at time of publication.
One package is for three family attractions. They are Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast, Peter Pan’s Flight, and Ratatouille: The Adventure. The other package is for thrill rides. They are Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain, and Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. So, you can pick the Super FastPass that best suits your traveling party’s needs. The catch is that you’re paying roughly $10 per person to guarantee that you get to ride them. It’s an upsell where you bypass the line for a set fee.
The superior version of the same concept at Disneyland Paris is the Ultimate FastPass. It’s not cheap, but it is awesome. For a set price, you can ride nine different attractions as much as you want in a single day! The list of rides includes the six previously mentioned plus Big Thunder Mountain, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril, and Star Tours: The Adventure Continues.
The cost for the Ultimate FastPass varies depending on the calendar. During slow periods, it’s £53, the equivalent of $67.87 in American dollars today. During peak periods, it’s £79, roughly $101.17 in American dollars. If this price sounds familiar, it’s roughly the same cost as Universal’s Unlimited Express FastPass, which gives guests the run of the place for an extra $100 per person per day.
Since Disney now owns more than 97 percent of Disneyland Paris, the new FastPass is their idea and theirs alone, not some joint decision with the local French government. For this reason, it’s fair to think that they’ll explore the idea elsewhere if it prefers successful in Paris. Would you as a DVC member use it? Feel free to discuss this hot-button issue in the comments.