DVC Resale Market’s Disney Parks News for July 2019

Filed in Annual Pass, Disney Vacation Club, Star Wars

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Star Wars Galaxy Edge

The summer season is always wildly busy at Disney theme parks. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is now open for everyone, and a few changes have occurred at various Disney Vacation Club (DVC) properties. Here’s everything you need to know in this month’s DVC News.

Disney Price Increases Explained

In recent years, Disney has become more aggressive with their price increases. Generally, the rise in cost for admission tickets and the like have come annually, but 2019 is different. This year is when Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge finally opens at Walt Disney World.

In anticipation of unprecedented demand, park officials have added as much as 20 percent to the cost of annual passes. This comes after an October 2018 increase of four percent or less. Two hikes in eight months are less than ideal, but it’s the total change in pricing that has upset some guests.

Simultaneously, Disney raised parking fees by $1-$2 per night, too. These changes come after the price of admission tickets occurred in March. While these two changes are modest, the passholder increases are dramatic.

Why did Disney raise the prices so much? Around the same time, park officials revealed that Star Wars Land will offer passholder previews. Yes, those of us lucky enough to own top-level annual passes (i.e. Platinum) have a chance to visit Galaxy’s Edge before it officially opens to the public on August 29,, 2019. You can’t put a price on that sort of once-in-a-lifetime experience, although Disney kind of just did when they increased the cost of these passes.

Galaxy’s Edge Smooth Opening

“No one ever goes there because it’s too crowded.”

I’m reminded of that famous Swingers movie quote when I discuss the opening of Galaxy’s Edge. Yes, the thrilling themed land based on the Star Wars cinematic universe technically opened in May. June 24th was the second significant milestone, though.

Galaxy's Edge Millennium Falcon ride view

Photo Courtesy of DisneyTouristBlog.com

On that date, Star Wars Land opened to everyone. Guests no longer needed reservations to enter Black Spire Outpost. Instead, they used their Disneyland app to see whether Galaxy’s Edge was accepting new guests from off planet.

To the surprise of everyone, especially Anaheim locals, the first week of open access at Star Wars Land went remarkably smoothly. At several points, Disney didn’t even use their planned system of scheduled admission to Galaxy’s Edge. Instead, guests could simply walk into the world of Batuu.

Apparently, the expectations of massive crowds scared away some guests. Perhaps Universal Studios played a factor in this perception. Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure at Universal’s Islands of Adventure famously had a 14-hour (!!!) wait on its opening day on June 13th.

When Galaxy’s Edge became accessible to everyone on June 24th, memories of that fiasco were still in the minds of potential Disneyland visitors. It had the unexpected ripple of effect of making the first week of Batuu unexpectedly pleasant for everyone. The lines were short, and the cast members had mastered the craft after a four-week trial run during the soft opening. Its situations like this that exemplify how far ahead of the competition that Disney theme parks are.

A New Attraction – Pixar’s Inside Out

Thus far in 2019, Disney has introduced three new attractions around the world. Hong Kong Disney has a huge hit with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Nano Battle!, while Disney’s Hollywood Studios has a crowd-pleaser with its show, Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy.

Concept art for Ant Man ride at Disney with visitors shooting laser pistols

The third offering just arrived the other day when Disney California Adventure performed a surprise opening for Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind. This attraction is a part of the Pixar Pier rebranding wherein Disney split the themed land into four themed sections.

Inside Out Headquarters is one of the three movie-specific neighborhoods, joining The Incredibles and Toy Story. The fourth section is everything else Pixar. Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind is the first attraction ever based on the popular, award-winning movie.

The new ride is really just a re-theming of Flik’s Flyers, the attraction that got relocated when Disney shuttered A Bug’s Land. It’s the same general ride experience, only with much more flair. Imagineers have constructed impressive real-life renderings of your favorite Inside Out characters, including Joy and Sadness. It’s a kid-friendly attraction that all Inside Out fans will adore.

Disneyland Park News

Beyond Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind and Galaxy’s Edge, Disney had plenty of other exciting park news this past month.

Early in the summer, Disney California Adventure brought back one of its signature attractions, Soarin’ Over California. While Soarin’ Around the World has since replaced it, the California version was the one thing that DCA did right during its disastrous opening year.

Fans of the attraction received a rare opportunity to experience the first version starting on June 1st in what park officials billed as a limited-time event. Due to the success of the return engagement, Disney’s now decided to extend it through the end of August. You have two more months to smell those wonderful orange orchards, everyone!

Disney California Adventure has also added a new presentation. Called Tale of The Lion King, it’s a show that recounts the story of Simba’s ascension to the leader of his pride. Storytellers recount the events while almost 20 cast members sing and dance through your favorite Lion King tunes.

The other significant change at Disney Resort involves the parade. Yes, the legendary Main Street Electrical Parade will also have a return engagement this summer. Starting on August 2nd, guests have two full months to watch the nighttime gala before it goes away again on September 30th.

Disneyland electrical parade with castle and pumpkin carriage lit at night

Photo Courtesy of DisneyTouristBlog.com

Of course, Disney has to make room this parade. To do so, they’ll retire Mickey’s Soundsational Parade on July 17th. Coincidentally, that date marks the 64th anniversary of Disneyland’s opening! Clearly, this summer is a great time to go to Happiest Place on Earth.

Walt Disney World Park News

Disney’s Orlando executives are shaking things up, too. The biggest news is actually something that apparently won’t be happening, though.

Last week, reports surfaced that Disney might end the run of one or both of Country Bears Jamboree and Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room. Suffice to say that an outcry of support for both attractions forced park officials to re-evaluate their plans, presuming that the reports were based in fact.

The Disney Parks Blog took the unprecedented step of shutting down both rumors. On consecutive days, they announced that the Tiki Birds would keep their home at Magic Kingdom, although that statement left some ambiguity about a potential overlay. Their denial about Country Bear Jamboree emphatically stated that it would remain an integral part of the park, too.

The entire situation sounds like much ado about nothing, although we may re-evaluate that statement after the 2019 D-23 Expo, the time when Disney is most likely to announce attraction changes.

With regards to confirmed news, Epcot’s World Showcase will shake things up this summer. Liberty Inn at The American Adventure will close permanently on July 8th. Its replacement is a meatier offering called Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts & Barbecue. Yes, burgers are out, while BBQ & brews are in.

At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, an old favorite is returning with a twist. Conservation Station will re-open on July 11th. When it does, a new experience called The Animation Experience will delight guests, especially children and fans of Disney animation. This exhibit will show guests how various animals inspired many of your favorite Disney sidekicks.

Also, Disney’s signed a new contract with a ride-sharing service. You may know that Lyft provides the software that powers Minnie Van orders at Walt Disney World. Apparently, this agreement worked well, as Lyft is now the official ride-sharing service of all Disney parks. It’s unclear whether this will impact current ride-sharing practices onsite.

DVC Resort News

Finally, three different DVC resorts had a touch of news this month. Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa will open on August 6th. Sure to be an immediate hit, this salon is already accepting reservations. You should book one if you want your child to get dressed up like a princess or knight.

At Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas, an unexpected piece of good news got confirmed. Pool hopping is once again allowed at the resort! Many years ago, DVC disallowed this amenity, but they recently recanted. Given that the trend is to take away pool hopping at more and more DVC properties, a positive change is definitely welcome. Plus, the Uzima and Samawati Springs pools are both phenomenal.

On a stranger note, Disney’s Grand Californian Resort & Spa is closing the Mandarin Spa, the one that’s part of its official name. The staff has informed guests that its last day will be July 10th. This story is still developing at the time of publication. The Mandarin was run by a third party, and it’s possible that Disney will re-open the spa with a different vendor or even run it themselves.

For right now, however, you’ll have to find a different place in the greater Anaheim/Los Angeles area to get a spa treatment. Somehow, I don’t think you’ll have a problem.

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