DVC Resale Market’s Disney Parks News for November 2019
The Walt Disney Company wants you to be its guest at a new hotel lounge, the Disney Skyliner suffers an oopsie, DVC aids our four-legged friends, Moonlight Magic 2020 dates are official, and telephone dining reservations are no longer preferable at Walt Disney World. It’s been an interesting month for Disney Vacation Club (DVC) members and fans. Let’s take a look at what just happened.
Epcot Forever Debuts
Before getting to an ugly story, let’s start the update with some fantastic news. The latest nighttime presentation at Walt Disney World has debuted, and it’s a resounding success.
Epcot Forever is the temporary replacement for IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. That award-winning exhibition closed permanently in September. During October, Epcot treated its guests to a new but short-lived show that celebrates the music of Epcot.
While fireworks explode in the sky, some beloved Epcot songs play over the loudspeakers. Catchy tunes like One Little Spark, Soarin’, Tomorrow’s Child, and Making Memories provide the soundtrack to the show. And the visuals are quite impressive as well.
Disney employs unprecedented kite technology to create an unforgettable effect. The kites soar through the clouds, as their bursts of white light illuminate the darkness. While HarmonioUS will become the permanent Epcot presentation in 2020, you have a while to catch Epcot Forever. Lifelong Epcot fans owe it to themselves to watch the show while it’s available.
The Disney Skyliner Incident
In last month’s DVC News update, I discussed the opening of the Disney Skyliner along with an unfortunate monorail incident that ended with passengers undergoing emergency evacuation procedures. This time, Disney has accidentally combined the two stories.
As you’ve no doubt heard, the Disney Skyliner suffered a power outage on October 5th, less than one week after it opened. While the details of the incident were a bit unclear at first, social media posts painted a picture.
A pair of gondola carts collided, causing one to get crumpled enough for its windows to shatter. The system automatically shut down, stranding most guests for nearly three hours. As with the monorail last month, the emergency response crew had to deploy cherry pickers to retrieve the trapped passengers. This situation proved a bit more difficult due to the height of some Skyliner carts.
Disney described the incident as a power outage and re-assured the media that no one suffered an injury. In the days that followed, we learned that at least one person required hospitalization, while a mother prone to seizures was also in a precarious state. Overall, the situation could have been much worse for all involved.
Fallout from the Disney Skyliner Incident
From a particular perspective, the entire Disney Skyliner shutdown functioned as an educational experience for Disney. Since nobody was injured, it’s a live-and-learn situation where the company learned all of its stress points.
Most of the passengers during the incident complained about poor communication. The emergency phone system in place suffered some sort of breakdown, as many calls went unreturned at first.
Updates were few and far between, leaving frustrated guests to wonder whether help was on the way. More irritatingly, the automated messages repeated in an endless loop during the shutdown. The contents of the emergency packs also caused a lot of consternation. Nobody wants to learn that they may need to release their bowels in a gondola cart.
Negative headlines continued after that night, especially after the Orlando Sentinel performed a Freedom of Information Act request. The newspaper posted some of the 911 calls made during the three-hour shutdown. Some of them were fairly intense, especially one involving a pre-teen girl and her seizure-prone mother.
Changes to the Disney Skyliner
In the wake of the Disney Skyliner shutdown, Imagineers meticulously investigated what went wrong. Nobody commented publicly during this timeframe, causing some guests – and I’m one of them – to alter their vacation plans. Then, the company caught everyone off-guard by restoring Skyliner operations on Monday, October 14th, eight days after the incident.
Disney altered the operating hours for the Skyliner and also changed a couple of operating procedures. The system no longer plays automated messages during shutdowns, and temporary closures occur slightly more frequently. The current plan seems to control the pace a lot more. It’s a wise decision since the lines at the Skyliner stations rarely get backed up.
In short, the unfortunate Disney Skyliner crash has helped to improve the service. Guests seem to have a lot more confidence riding it now than in the early days when everyone agreed that the gondola station connections were kind of bumpy.
You’re probably wondering whether the Disney Skyliner is safe. Anecdotally, I used my remaining DVC points to switch from a cash stay at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort to Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa. I did this because I wasn’t sure whether the Skyliner would return before my trip. Two days later, it was up and running again. Had it opened sooner, I might not have switched.
I absolutely plan on taking a gondola ride through the sky this week. That’s just one person’s opinion, though. As always, you should do whatever feels right for you and your traveling party.
Welcome to the Enchanted Rose
My brother and I have a difference of opinion about DVC. He’s a devotee of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, while I’m a Disney’s Polynesian Village diehard. I have to score the latest round to him in our debate, as the Grand Floridian just got even better.
Yes, the Enchanted Rose is now open at the most elegant of all monorail resorts. Earlier this year, park officials announced that the intention to build a luxurious lounge on the second floor of the hotel lobby. Better yet, Disney revealed that the theme for this new space would be Beauty & the Beast. At that point, everyone was sold.
The new lounge certainly doesn’t disappoint. Like Be Our Guest Restaurant, Enchanted Rose features several sections, each of which comes with a different theme. During a visit here, you can spend time at a bar, an outdoor patio, a library, or a garden room. Each of them displays elements from the film, with the most recognizable one being a chandelier styled to Belle’s famous golden ball gown.
The Enchanted Rose is a magical space that you can visit easily. Unlike Be Our Guest, which requires Advanced Dining Reservations well ahead of your visit, this lounge is walk-up, but the menu is similarly regal in nature. The drinks and shareables served here redefine haute cuisine.
Please be aware that the development of the Enchanted Rose has led to a reconfiguring of several parts of the hotel lobby. The Grand Floridian Society Orchestra now has a new stage, and some spots on the first and second floors are either gone or moved elsewhere. As always, you’ll feel comfortable the moment that you enter the lobby, though, and you’ll have a lot of fun rediscovering the area.
You definitely have something to anticipate about your next visit to the Grand Floridian, especially if you’re staying there as a DVC member.
Speaking of Advanced Dining Reservations…
Are you a longtime DVC member? If so, I’m confident that you have a similar process as me. You book your DVC stay well in advance, and then you anxiously await the opening of your 180-window. On that morning, you call 407-WDW-DINE the instant that the reservation window opens, and you attempt to book your preferred restaurants for your trip.
I’ve gone through this process more times than I can count, and I’ve only been a member for less than a decade. I would imagine that some of you have followed this method since 1991. And for those people, I’m afraid that I have sad news.
Disney has officially reduced the amount of telephone customer support that it’ll provide for Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs). Instead, cast members instruct guests to utilize My Disney Experience (MDE). Yes, they’ll still perform some bookings via phone, at least for now, but Disney has reassigned many of the employees in this department.
From now on, you’ll have to wait longer to speak to a representative. And I don’t have to tell you how many of the best ADRs book within the first 15 minutes of the 180-day window. So, your best bet is MDE, but you may not even qualify for phone support anyway.
An automated recording suggests that only parties of eight or more may book via phone, save for special situations. You’re only guaranteed to receive service for same-day reservations and cancellations or bookings that aren’t otherwise available via MDE. It’s the end of an era, my friends.
Moonlight Magic 2020 Dates Are Here!
Card-carrying DVC members just received some terrific news. Disney has posted the 2020 dates for Moonlight Magic. This popular event provides exclusive park access on certain nights.
Here’s when you may participate in Moonlight Magic 2020:
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
- January 21st
- February 11th
- February 25th
- May 4th
- June 29th
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- September 15th
- September 22nd
- October 6th
- March 3rd
- April 21st
- April 28th
Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon
- July 27th
- August 10th
DVC Saves Dogs Displaced by Hurricane Dorian
Here’s a story that will make you feel proud of your DVC membership. In the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, many animals in The Bahamas lost their homes. DVC stepped up to provide aid for 83 dogs “and one very special cat” impacted by the tragedy.
Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, along with Walt Disney World Textile Services, donated 600 pieces of linen to give comfort to the animals. Blankets, towels, and sheets provided these animals with some much-needed padding during what must have been a confusing time for them.
An animal shelter required this bedding since the displaced animals were in quarantine for 14 days. You can (and should) watch the YouTube video for additional details.