DVC Resale Market’s Disney News Update for April 2018
Hello, fellow DVC members! The past month has featured a series of exciting announcements about The Walt Disney Company. Let’s recap what you might have missed.
New Toy Story Experience at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Do your children love the characters from Toy Story? Of course they do! Would you like some alone time during your Walt Disney World vacation? Of course you would! Disney has put two and two together on these two thought processes and come up with a wonderful new solution.
Starting on April 13th, Disney’s offering a paid character experience at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. And yes! Guests of Bay Lake Tower can take part, too. In fact, there’s nothing in the Disney announcement that suggests you have to stay at either resort. Disney’s opened this character experience to all interested parties.
How does the Immersive Character Experience work? Starting at 5 p.m. each night, Disney accepts enrollment for the nightly party. The event runs from 6-10:30 p.m., and children aged 4-12 are eligible to attend. Disney’s charging $65 plus tax per kid, which isn’t bad for 5 ½ hours of professional babysitting.
The children will receive Space Ranger Training from Buzz Lightyear followed by rodeo tips during Woody’s Roundup. And while it’s not Toy Story-based, Cars also has a place at this event. Smaller kids can build a car and then put it into action on Radiator Springs Racetrack. Finally, the character experience will end with a youthful version of the Incredibles Dance Party. It sounds like an eventful night that should guarantee your child sleeps hard afterward. For a vacationing parent, that’s a phenomenal deal.
Resort Parking Fees Added…but You’re Safe!
Recently, Disney surprised all their resort guests by revealing new parking fees. Anyone staying at a Value Resort now pays $13 per night for their parking space. The fee at Moderate Resorts is $19 per night, and Deluxe Resorts pay the most at $24 each night. This move has been rumored for years now, but the suddenness of its implementation caught a lot of people off-guard.
The good news for DVC Members is that they can ignore these fees! Disney confirmed that DVC Members aren’t subject to parking fees regardless if they are using points or cash for a DVC Resort. Also, DVC Members will not have to pay for overnight parking when they use DVC points to book non-DVC Resorts at Walt Disney World.
There are two caveats. Anyone with a disability can park for free. Also, people visiting resorts just to eat at the onsite restaurants receive free parking for the duration of their meals, too.
Expensive but Awesome Airport Pickup
Have you ridden in the coolest vehicles at Walt Disney World yet? Minnie Vans took Orlando by storm when they debuted last summer. They’ve proven so popular that Disney recently raised rates on the service, but the 10 percent increase hasn’t deterred business any. To wit, resort guests have begged for an extension of Minnie Vans.
Yes, people want airport pickup via Minnie Vans and now you can get it! Anyone staying at a Deluxe Resort (i.e. the ones in the Disney Vacation Club program) can book their departures from Orlando International Airport. The only catch is the cost. A party of up to six guests can take a Minnie Van to the airport for $150 plus tax. Minnie Van service runs from 9 a.m. until midnight, so if the price doesn’t scare you off, it’s the coolest way to exit Central Florida.
Positive Affirmation about DVC from an Unbiased Observer
Look, you know that your DVC Membership investment was brilliant. You love getting to travel to Disney theme parks frequently thanks to your one-time purchase. Still, everyone loves to hear that they did something smart, right? Well, timeshare enthusiasts think you’re a genius!
The annual voter poll at RedWeek.com, the timeshare industry’s favorite analysis site, confirmed that DVC’s the best! Specifically, voters selected Disney’s Beach Club Villas as THE best timeshare resort on the planet. For that matter, the area close to International Gateway is the gold standard in timeshare tourism. Disney’s BoardWalk Villas finished third in the voting, giving DVC two of the top three!
DVC had two other entries in the top 15. Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge placed 12th while Disney’s Old Key West Resort finished 14th in the voting. Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort also placed 24th…and that was before they provided a Toy Story babysitting service! Personally, I think Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort was robbed. Let’s all stack the vote next year.
The Redhead Is Back!
Unless you lost internet access for several months while living on a deserted island, you surely heard that Disney changed Pirates of the Caribbean at both Disneyland and Magic Kingdom. The company understandably realized that the women’s auction was a comically outdated, sexist notion. So, they chose to update the attraction by modernizing it.
Over the past few days, the Walt Disney World update has opened to the public. We now know that the Redhead is done with being a wench. In a surprising development, she’s switched sides! Yes, she’s become a pirate named Redd, and let me tell you. Redd loves her rum. She might be the main reason why Captain Jack Sparrow is always asking, “Why’s the rum always gone?” Redd has a few new lines of dialogue that reflect her new job title. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, right Redhead? It sure beats marrying them anyway.
A Salon in the Wilderness
Are you a longtime fan of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge? Do you remember the old Trout Pass Bar at the pool? As you know, Disney repurposed that area in 2017 and no longer needed this bar after the introduction of Geyser Point Bar & Grill. What did they choose to do with Trout Pass Bar? Frankly, you never would have guessed.
Salon of the Springs takes the place of Trout Pass Bar in this section of the property. At this salon and spa, you can get manicures and pedicures, haircuts and styling (including hair coloring), massage services, and skin care treatments. So, you can feel like a lumberjack in the rustic setting of Wilderness Lodge, but you can still get pampered at the salon onsite.
A New Wine Tasting Option
Guests at Disney’s Old Key West are in for a treat. Starting on April 15th, the property hosts a wine tasting experience for DVC Members. This weekly event is held from 3 to 4 p.m. on Sundays. Up to 20 DVC owners can join in on the festivities.
The wine tasting plays on the exiting backstory of Olivia Farnsworth, the fictional founder of Olivia’s Café. As you may know, Farnsworth didn’t own a restaurant per se, as she couldn’t afford to build one. Instead, she invited strangers into her home. These meals became so popular that the Farnsworth cottage at Turtle Krawl evolved into Olivia’s Café.
According to the announcement, the wine tasting will “will further explore the legend of Olivia Farnsworth and the resort that surrounds her namesake restaurant, all while Members enjoy a sampling of wines accompanied by bite-sized foods.” For obvious reasons, this event is only available to guests who are at least 21 years old. The cost of the Old Key West wine tasting is a modest $30, and that does include tax and gratuity. So, for a flat fee of $30, you can enjoy a charming combination of delicious wines and clever Imagineering theming.
The Biggest News of the Week
The news that matters most to DVC Members involves three of your favorite events on the annual Disney calendar. Over the past few days, Disney confirmed the dates of the 2018 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Yes, I have your undivided attention now. Here’s what you need to know.
For the second consecutive year, the Food & Wine event will run for 75 days. Once again, it will also start in August. In fact, the 2018 dates are almost identical from 2017. Last year’s exhibition began on August 31st and ran through November 13th. For 2018, the dates are August 30th through November 12th. This year’s schedule repeats last year’s, with a start date of the final Thursday in August followed by an end date of the second Monday in November.
The reason you should plan a fall visit to Walt Disney World this year is that these dates line up with two of your other favorites. Disney also announced when you can see your favorite ticketed events for 2018. Let’s start with Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, which has a lot of overlap with Food & Wine. The dates for the 2018 version of the Halloween Party are:
- August 17, 24, 28, 31
- September 3, 7, 9, 11, 14, 16, 18, 21, 23, 25, 28, 30
- October 2, 4, 5, 8, 9, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, 19, 21, 23, 25, 26, 28, 30, 31
With some clever scheduling, you could feasibly attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, too. There’s only a gap of eight days from the end of one event until the start of the next one. The Christmas Party dates this year are:
- November 8, 9, 12, 13, 15, 16, 25, 27, 29, 30
- December 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21
Spelling this out for you, a nine-day Orlando trip when you arrive on Halloween is ideal. You’d get to sing Boo to You on your first day, enjoy a week of Food & Wine marvelousness, and then end your trip with a Christmas Party! You’d also get to watch the proverbial changing of the guard from fall decorations to holiday fare. It’s a magical time to visit Walt Disney World. Just remember that the ticketed events cost at least $80 per person, and they tend to sell out. You should book early just to be safe!
August of 2019 Is Sooner Than You Think
While we’re planning Disney trips, clear your calendar for August 23rd through August 25th in 2019. These three days are when the Anaheim Convention Center will host D-23 2019. Held every other year, this event is where The Walt Disney Company makes several bold proclamations about the future of Disney theme parks, movies, and other forms of entertainment.
The 2017 version of D-23 was historic, with 17 huuuuge announcements. The timing of the 2019 version likely places it a few weeks after the debut of Star Wars Land: Galaxy’s Edge. It’s also around the time when Disney will unveil its online streaming service, the presumed Netflix killer. And it’s the biggest opportunity that Disney will have to set the table for the 50th anniversary celebration of Walt Disney World in 2021.
I’m not saying that the 2019 D-23 exhibition will match 2017, but I am saying that I plan to attend…just in case. I missed the last one; I’m not going to make that mistake twice. You should join me…and if you’re wondering, Disneyland is only two miles away from the Anaheim Convention Center. You can watch the D-23 festivities and then spend a couple of days at the Happiest Place on Earth.