DVC Resale Market’s Disney Parks News for January 2019
Welcome to 2019! I sincerely hope that your new year is off to the most wonderful of starts. Even during the holiday season, The Walt Disney Company provided plenty of headlines, including two that directly impact Disney Vacation Club (DVC) members. Here’s your monthly news update to bring you up to speed.
Studio Costs Increasing in 2020
One of the best aspects of DVC ownership is that your prices are primarily set for life. Once you’ve paid off your points, you’re only responsible for maintenance fees for the lifetime of your contract. It’s a wonderful system that makes me proud to be a DVC member.
Disney will occasionally change something that tweaks the system, though. One recently announced modification to the system will have ramifications for all DVC members, especially those of us who prefer studios to suites.
In 2020, Disney will modify the DVC points chart, increasing the nightly points cost of many studios. These changes will impact all Walt Disney World and Disneyland resorts during all DVC seasons, while the three standalone properties are mostly unaffected. In many instances, the nightly increase is only one point, but it’s as high as three points for some nights/resorts.
You may wonder how a rate change is possible. Disney’s DVC system has a zero-sum structure, meaning that when they add points somewhere, they must remove them somewhere else. The cheaper points costs in 2020 are at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows and Copper Creek Villas & Cabins. The most expensive DVC rooms at these two locations, the bungalows and cabins, have had price decreases. So, the news isn’t all bad, especially for high-volume DVC points owners.
Top of the World Lounge Package
What’s the best definition of a great salesperson? It’s someone who can sell you something that you could already get for free. DVC members are wondering whether they’re in the midst of something similar right now.
One of the best amenities of DVC is Top of the World Lounge access. This space on the top floor of Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort is open to members during the Happily Ever After fireworks presentation. It’s a remarkable view that’s directly across from Cinderella Castle, only you’re 150 feet up in the air. You have a direct line of sight to the fireworks. My family tries to watch Happily Ever After from the Top of the World Lounge at least once per vacation.
Disney understands the popularity of this amenity. They’ve recently added an upsell that combines dinner and the show. Yes, for $59 per person, guests can dine at The Wave…of American Flavors just off the lobby of the Contemporary. Then, you’ll walk over to the first floor of Bay Lake Tower and take the elevator up to the Top of the World Lounge.
The dinner is a prix fixe menu, and you’ll get an extra benefit from the package. During Happily Ever After, cast members will serve desserts and beverages. It’s actually a nice package, especially since buyers receive reserved seating at Top of the World Lounge. The amenity is still available to card-carrying DVC members, but Disney ropes off a section of the lounge for paying guests, thereby reducing the occupancy space for everyone else. Currently, this package is available for purchase from January 14th through June 30th. Its popularity will determine whether it’s extended or not.
Star Wars Land Updates
The past 30 days were particularly enlightening with regards to everyone’s favorite subject. Disney used their annual Christmas Day Parade broadcast on ABC to unveil a new Star Wars Land video. By watching this two-minute Star wars Land clip, you’ll have a much better idea of what you’ll see at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
You should pay particular attention to the 1:10 mark of the video. It shows the new ride carts for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. Disney is now billing it as the most advanced attraction that they’ve ever built.
Of course, the bigger Star Wars Land news came from a Barron’s interview with Disney CEO/Chairman Bob Iger. In it, he revealed that Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will open at Disneyland in June. You should book your summer vacation sometime toward the end of that month or the start of July if you want to be one of the first guests ever at Star Wars Land.
Storybook Dining Opens
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is home to not one but two different DVC properties: Boulder Ridge and Copper Creek. With so many members owning points here, any additions at the hotel are important. The latest one is a doozy, though.
Disney has livened up one of its slowest Signature Dining experiences, Artist Point, by introducing a prix fixe dinner. Oh, and it’s a character meal…starring Snow White. The new dining experience at Artist Point was announced during the summer but didn’t open until mid-December.
Called Storybook Dining at Artist Point with Snow White, the character meal immediately spiked attendance at the formerly flagging restaurant. Guests relish this opportunity to interact with four different Disney characters. Snow White is joined by two Dwarfs, Dopey and Grumpy. The Evil Queen also holds court for those who prefer Disney Villains.
Storybook Dining is now one of the most challenging meals to book at Walt Disney World, but don’t worry! The meal is worth the effort! The early reviews for the character meal are absolutely glowing. Disney clearly has a massive hit on its hands, and DVC members should make every effort to dine here during your next vacation.
A Bus Crash and a Flying Santa on Disney Property
Disney suffered through a strange month, with a pair of unlikely accidents garnering a lot of headlines. The company’s exhaustive safety measures generally keep negative park stories out of the news. In December, they caught a couple of bad breaks. Incidents occurred on both coasts, and while one was more severe than the other, they were both of the “Wait, what???” variety, the kind that goes viral on social media.
The poorly timed one happened at the Happiest Place on Earth. Right in the middle of the 12 Days of Christmas, Santa Claus got ejected from his sled during a parade. Seriously.
During December, Disney hosts a parade entitled A Christmas Fantasy. One performance was more of a nightmare. Santa’s sleigh broke down in the middle of the show. Due to the nature of the sled design, Santa was propelled into the air, something that a few Disney fans caught on video.
The good news is that Santa was strapped into a safety harness, so he didn’t get injured. In fact, he was back at the front of the parade the following day, albeit it on a different float. Without the help of North Pole elves, Disney couldn’t repair the broken sleigh in a single day.
Amazingly, Santa getting forcibly ejected from his sleigh was only the second worst transportation story for Disney in December. At Walt Disney World, a cast member driving a bus crashed into a different Mears bus, injuring 14 passengers plus the Disney driver.
The situation occurred near a toll booth at Epcot. The Mears driver had stopped in the wrong spot, and a 21-year-old cast member driving the Disney bus didn’t expect to see anything there. He didn’t see the immobile vehicle until it was too late, causing a fender bender strong enough to crack the windshield of the Disney bus.
Fortunately, no one was seriously injured in the accident. While neither driver handled the situation correctly, the Disney cast member was charged with Careless Driving. On the plus side, no Santas were harmed in this crash.
Garden Rocks Lineup Posted
The 2019 Flower & Garden Festival is only a couple of months away. The event will start on March 6th, and Disney has already lined up most of the acts for the Garden Rocks concert series. They’ve announced the schedule for Garden Rocks, which will run every day of the week this year. Historically, it’s been more of a weekend event.
As Epcot fans know, these concerts are hosted at America Gardens Theater at The American Adventure pavilion. Famous musicians from the 1970s through today play three shows an evening, starting at 5:30 p.m. Each performance lasts about an hour. Whether you arrive during the first show or the ones at 6:45 p.m. or 8 p.m., the set’s usually the same. And the audio is surprisingly good. Epcot guests a couple of pavilions over can often hear the music.
Here’s the current lineup:
- March 6-8: Journey former lead vocalist STEVE AUGERI (NEW) “Don’t Stop Believin’ ”
- March 9-10: Glass Tiger (New to Garden Rocks) “Don’t Forget Me (When I’m Gone)”
- March 17-20: Simple Plan “Welcome to My Life”
- March 25-27: Air Supply (New to Garden Rocks) “All Out of Love”
- March 28-29: Berlin featuring Terri Nunn “Take My Breath Away”
- March 30-31: The Smithereens (NEW to Garden Rocks) “Top of the Pops”
- April 1-2: Rick Springfield “Jessie’s Girl”
- April 3-4: Christopher Cross (NEW to Garden Rocks) “Sailing”
- April 5-7: The Spinners “Working My Way Back to You”
- April 12-13: Sister Sledge (NEW to Garden Rocks) “We Are Family”
- April 17-19: Sister Hazel (NEW to Garden Rocks) “All For You”
- April 20-21: Steven Curtis Chapman (NEW) “Cinderella”
- April 22-23: TobyMac (NEW) “The Elements”
- April 24-26: Lonestar “Amazed”
- April 27-30: The Orchestra starring former members of ELO “Evil Woman”
- May 1-4: Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone “I’m Henry VIII I Am”
- May 5-7: Don Felder, Formerly of the Eagles “Hotel California”
- May 8-9: A Flock of Seagulls (NEW) “I Ran (So Far Away)”
- May 14-15: Richard Marx (New to Garden Rocks) “Right Here Waiting”
- May 16- 19: STARSHIP starring Mickey Thomas “We Built This City”
- May 20-21: Colin Hay of Men at Work (NEW) “Who Can It Be Now?”
- May 28-29: Jon Secada “Just Another Day”
- May 30- June 1: Blood, Sweat and Tears “Spinning Wheel”
Tokyo Disneyland Updates & Beauty and the Beast
Finally, a news item that will appeal to some of you involves Tokyo Disneyland. Regarded by many theme park insiders as the best theme park in the world, Tokyo Disneyland is currently in the midst of a major renovation. The multi-billion dollar expansion is the largest one in the history of the 35-year-old park.
With that much capital involved, many of the changes are groundbreaking in nature. Disney seems especially proud of one new attraction that they recently highlighted on the official Parks Blog. A Beauty and the Beast ride will debut in the spring of 2020. And it looks SPECTACULAR. See the future of Disney theme park design here. Hopefully, this attraction gets duplicated at one/both of Disney’s American parks very soon.
That’s all the news for this month. Have a wonderful 2019, my friends!