DVC Resale Market’s Disney Parks News for January 2020
Welcome to 2020, everyone! I hope that you’re having/will have the happiest of years! Here are the most important Disney Vacation Club (DVC) news stories of the month. This batch features fewer stories than usual since they’re much more significant than we typically see.
Disney’s Riviera Resort Is Now Open
The first DVC resort opened in 1991. That’s more than 28 years ago. In that timeframe, Disney introduced a total of 14 properties to the lineup. Yes, that works out to a new DVC resort every other year.
The trend has continued with the arrival of Disney’s Riviera Resort. Four days short of the 28th anniversary of Disney’s Old Key West opening, DVC introduced its 15th property. Yes, it’s that big of a deal, and we won’t get another one until 2022. So, Disney follows that “every other year” timeline for DVC.
The most important aspect is that it’s the first DVC property on the Disney Skyliner. Technically, Disney’s Boardwalk Villas and Disney’s Beach Club Villas come close, but neither one has a station at the hotel. With the Riviera, you walk out of the building and are on a gondola within two minutes.
Of course, the Disney Skyliner continues to make the wrong kind of headlines for its performance issues. Throughout Christmas week, the new system has suffered shutdowns that have thrown a wrench in the plans of Riviera guests. Please be aware of this when you plan to stay/visit the hotel.
Otherwise, the reviews of the Riviera are quite positive. Some guests feel that it’s not Disney enough, but that’s the same complaint that a few believe about Disney’s Contemporary Resort. On the whole, the consensus is that the hotel grounds are immaculate, the restaurants are terrific, and the European theming is undeniably elegant.
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance Debuts at Walt Disney World
A year ago, this headline would have sounded strange for a couple of reasons. At the start of 2019, Disney officials still believed that Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge would open with two attractions. We didn’t learn until March that Disneyland wouldn’t operate Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance during phase one of Star Wars Land.
In July, the story changed again, as Disney executives revealed that Disney’s Hollywood Studios would open the attraction first. At the time of publication, Disneyland is still approximately two weeks away from its version. And Anaheim guests should feel extremely jealous.
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance has immediately entered the conversation as the greatest theme park attraction of all time. Seriously, I have a vacationing friend who arrived at Hollywood Studios at 5 a.m. on New Year’s Eve just to ride it.
Even though he had a cranky four-year-old with him, he regretted nothing and instead raved with the following:
“It’s simply the best ride/experience I’ve ever had at any theme park. It’s amazingly well thought out and put together.”
Friends, that’s the majority opinion here. I’d struggle to name a viable theme park analyst with disparaging words about Rise of the Resistance. Universal agreement is rare in this industry, but everyone believes that Imagineers have done something miraculous here. They’ve built a multi-section ride experience that works unlike anything else that came before it.
The one caveat here involves getting on the ride. Disney’s already changed the rules several times as the company tries to satisfy demand. At this point, your best strategy is the one my friend employed. Show up an hour before the park opens. Then, the instant that you’re in Hollywood Studios, try to book a Boarding Group pass through the My Disney Experience app.
Disneyland will work similarly when its version opens. Don’t worry, though. Rise of the Resistance justifies the effort you’ll expend trying to ride it.
Dues Confirmed/Maintenance Fees Due
As usual, DVC held its annual meeting in December. During the 2019 Condominium Association Meeting, the management team revealed some interesting data. For starters, the renovations at Old Key West proved so popular that hotel guest satisfaction either improved or maintained the status quo in all major categories.
Disney also confirmed that two other properties will receive renovations this year. Aulani, Disney Vacation Club Villas, and Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge will both change their look a bit. Aulani gets a modest refresh, while Boulder Ridge will undergo a full refurbishment.
We learned that the DVC Member Lounge at Epcot’s Imagination! pavilion will return for 2020, as well. And Disney announced something surprising that we’ll address in the next section.
However, the most important information that came from the meeting involved maintenance fees. Disney has announced the 2020 prices, which you should now see in your membership listing on the DVC site. You can also look at them on this helpful chart at DVC Resale Market.
DVC management acknowledged that a few resorts experienced higher rate increases than normal. Some of the changes stem from increased cast member pay as part of recently negotiated salary increases. Others are due to the renovations I just mentioned.
Old Key West owners, in particular, witnessed their maintenance fees increase by more than average. Disney explained it as a need to rebuild capital reserves after the renovations. Transportation costs associated with the resort play a factor, too.
Still, an 8.4 percent increase angered some of the members attending the meeting. We’ll see whether their complaints make Disney more sensitive to the matter in future years.
New Points Chart for 2021
Generally, changes to the DVC Points Charts are modest. Disney infamously tried to overhaul some aspects for 2020, only to recant after angry members rebelled. Given this turn of events, the condo meeting delivered one total shock.
DVC will have an entirely new Points Chart for Walt Disney World properties in 2021. Historically, Disney’s split the annual calendar into five seasons like Magic Season and Adventure Season. During the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World, the company has altered the structure.
For at least 2021, the Points Chart divides into seven “Travel Periods” that will require a bit of study on your part. Some of the changes will prove extremely beneficial to DVC members who can visit whenever they want.
For example, Travel Period 1 occurs from September 1st–19th. It’ll have the cheapest point outlay for a DVC hotel stay in years, possibly ever. Other dates aren’t as good, and you may need more to spend more points for your annual stay in 2021. Please study the 2021 Points Chart carefully before your 11-month window opens at the start of February.
Right now, nobody’s sure whether this change will be permanent or not. It’s entirely possible that Disney’s only doing this for the 50th anniversary since it exclusively impacts Walt Disney World resorts. Alternately, DVC might have changed its Points Chart permanently. We probably won’t know until the company releases the 2023 Points Chart after the year-long anniversary has ended.
Beaches & Cream Soda Shop Is Back
Finally, let’s relish a bit of great news. One of the most beloved DVC resort restaurants has returned after a refurbishment. Beaches & Cream Soda Shop re-opened in an expanded space on December 26th.
This information should warm your heart for a couple of reasons. First of all, more room means more tables. You should have an easier time booking a reservation at Beaches & Cream when you stay at Disney’s Beach Club Villas.
Also, the eatery only recently began taking Advanced Dining Reservations again. For this reason, you might have a chance to get one at the last minute. This past weekend, my family got a reservation for late January, something that certainly wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.
Okay, that’s the DVC News for this month. Good luck getting to ride Rise of the Resistance, everyone! The early bird definitely gets this particular worm.