Terri Schultz, Disney Vacation Club VP Promoted. Bill Diercksen Promoted as Replacement

In an email sent out to Disney Vacation Club members it was announced that Bill Diercksen, a longtime leader with Disney, has been promoted to head up Disney Vacation Club as its new senior vice president and general manager.

Terri Schultz has been promoted to senior vice president of Commercial Strategy for all of our Disney Signature Experiences businesses, including Disney Vacation Club.

Diercksen is a 20-year Cast Member, he most recently served as vice president of finance for our Disney Signature Experiences portfolio of vacation experiences after working for several years as a director at Disney Vacation Club.

Thomas Mazloum, President, Disney Signature Experiences added –

Bill is very passionate about DVC and is absolutely dedicated to delivering the most magical Member and Guest experiences while bringing new perspectives and creativity to our organization. I know that he will continue to chart a course for success at DVC and build on the many strides that Terri and the team accomplished over the past few years.

Disney Vacation Club Expanding Presence at Disney’s Grand Floridian

Earlier today, Disney Vacation Club announced plans to transform Building 9 at Disney’s Grand Floridan Resort, Big Pine Key, into 200 resort studios.

The work is expected to begin in the spring of 2022 with an opening during the summer of 2022  The new resort studios will join the Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridan Resort as part of the Disney Vacation Club.

In the announcement Terri Schultz, senior vice president of Disney Vacation Club stated –

This is great news for Disney Vacation Club and our Members. It will provide us with new and diverse inventory at a resort that is cherished by our Members and their families.

The Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa to Re-Open

In a email sent out to Disney Vacation Club Members, Disney Vacation Club has announced that The Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa  will re-open to members on May 2nd.

In the email DVC said –

Our Cast Members on the West Coast are excited to make their magic once again and “welcome home” Members with enhanced health and safety measures based on guidance from health authorities and appropriate government agencies.

It is important for guests to note that while the Disney Vacation Club Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa will open for Members and their guests, the rest of the hotel, as well as the Disneyland Hotel, Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel, Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park, remain closed for normal operations and will re-open at a later date.

The Downtown Disney District is currently open with select shopping and dining experiences.

DVC pointed out that it has successfully re-opened Disney Vacation Club resorts and other Disney hotels at destinations around the world since last June, with each of them prioritizing the health and well-being of our Cast Members and those who visit us.

Guests will need to remember that during the initial re-opening period of The Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, most dining, amenities, activities and services will be modified, limited in capacity or unavailable based on physical distancing and health guidelines. In addition, some areas and offerings will remain temporarily closed or unavailable.

Disney Vacation Club Cancels Moonlight Magic Events

One of the perks of being a Disney Vacation Club member are the exclusive Moonlight Magic events that are hosted at Disney theme parks throughout the year.

These after-hours events are only for Disney Vacation Club members and their guests, giving the DVC community a chance to experience various Disney Parks, including Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, and the Typhoon Lagoon water park, without the usual crowds.

DVC has announced that they have canceled events scheduled for this summer.

From the Disney Vacation Club website –

“Update: Events Cancelled in June, July and August

With the safety and well-being of our Members, Guests and Cast always top of mind, Disney Vacation Club continues to evaluate our upcoming slate of Membership Magic events and make necessary adjustments. Moonlight Magic events previously scheduled for June (during the park closure period), July and August will be cancelled.

Thank you for your patience and kindness as we all navigate the challenges surrounding COVID-19.”

The full list of cancelled Moonlight Magic events are below –

 

Walt Disney World Updates Plans for Re-Opening its Resort Hotels

Walt Disney World has released new information about is plans to re-open its resort hotels on June 22nd.


Disney has confirmed the list of resort hotels re-opening on June 22 will include:

  • Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort – including The Wave, Contempto Cafe and Cove Bar.
  • Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge – including Whispering Canyon Cafe and Roaring Fork.
  • Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village – including Sanaa, Maji Pool Bar.
  • Disney’s Beach Club Villas – including Beaches and Cream, Beach Club Marketplace and Martha’s Vineyard. Stormalong Bay will NOT be available.
  • Disney’s BoardWalk Villas – including Trattoria al Forno, Pizza Window, BoardWalk Bakery, Leaping Horse Libations, AbracadaBar.
  • Disney’s Fort Wilderness – including P&J’s Southern Takeout, Meadow Snack Bar, Crocket’s Tavern.
  • Disney’s Old Key West Resort – including Olivia’s Cafe, Good’s Food to Go, Gurgling Suitcase.
  • Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows – Kona Cafe, Capt. Cook’s ,Pineapple Lanai, Barefoot Pool Bar.
  • Disney’s Riviera Resort – including Topolino’s Terrace, Primo Piatyo, Le Petit Cafe, Bar Riva.
  • Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort – including The Artist’s Palette, The Paddock Grill, On the Rocks Pool Bar.
  • The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort – including Grand Floridian Cafe, Gasparilla Island Grill, Enchanted Rose, Beaches Pool Bar.

Guests will need to be aware of:

  • Disney will waive its change and cancellation fees up to the date of check-in for reservations with arrivals through October 3, 2020.  
  • Guests entering a resort hotel will require a confirmed room reservation or a confirmed dining reservation for day guests.
  • Online check-in will be encouraged but not required.
  • Masks will be required in all public areas expect for swimming or dining for ages 2 and over.
  • Staying in a resort hotel does not guarantee access to the parks from July 11.
  • Temperature screening may be in operation.
  • Before the parks reopen, bus transportation will be available to Disney Springs, and then to the parks once they open.
  • Magical Express will be available.
  • Minnie Van Service will not be available.
  • Bell Services will deliver but luggage but will not escort guests.
  • Club Level service will be unavailable.
  • Resort airline checkin will be unavailable.
  • Valet Parking will not be available.
  • Feature Pools and Fitness Center will be operating at reduced hours.
  • Restaurants will not be operating any character dining with the exception of Topolino’s.
  • The Electrical Water Pageant will not be available.

The following will not operating at any of resorts:

  • Arcades
  • Campfires
  • Character experiences
  • Dog parks
  • Electrical Water Pageant
  • Marina rentals
  • Pin trading
  • Playgrounds, spas, salons and Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique

Disney Vacation Club Resorts at Walt Disney World to Re-Open on June 22

Earlier today Disney announced that some of its Disney Vacation Club Resorts will re-open to members and guests on June 22nd.  DVC locations at Vero Beach and Hilton Head will be re-opening on June 15th.

Disney has also announced information on theme park reservations and how this will impact ticket sales and Annual Passholders.

The full release is below –

Because theme park capacity will be significantly limited as we welcome guests back to the magic, we will manage attendance through a new theme park reservation system that will require all guests to obtain a reservation for park entry in advance. At this time, we are temporarily pausing new ticket sales and Disney Resort hotel reservations so we can focus on guests with existing tickets and reservations (Disney Vacation Club members can still make new reservations). Existing ticket holders and Annual Passholders will be able to make reservation requests in phases before new tickets are sold; we’ll be reaching out to these guests soon to provide additional details. We will resume new ticket sales and hotel reservations after that period of time. Theme park reservations will be limited due to attendance limitations and will be subject to availability. More details about this new reservation system will be available soon.

Additionally, Disney Vacation Club resorts at Walt Disney World will reopen to members and guests and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground will begin to reopen on June 22. Disney Vacation Club resorts in Vero Beach, Florida, and Hilton Head, South Carolina, will also open to members and guests starting on June 15. Plans to support required physical distancing as well as enhanced cleaning measures, along with a number of other safety and cleanliness protocols, will be implemented as part of this planned phased reopening.

 

Walt Disney World Increases Prices on Annual Passes and Overnight Parking

Ahead of today’s opening of bookings for 2020 and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge   opening on August 29th, Walt Disney World significantly increased the prices on their annual passes overnight.

Perhaps hardest hit were out-of-state Annual Passholders. Florida residents’ and DVC members’ prices are still markedly lower but have increased as well.

Here’s the breakdown (you may want to sit down for this) –

Non-Resident Annual Passholder (Pre-Tax) –

Platinum New  – was $894  now $1119 (25.2% increase)

Platinum Renewal – was $759 now $951 (25.3%)

Platinum Plus New – was $994 now $1219 (22.6%)

Platinum Plus Renewal – was $844 now $1036 (22.7%)

Florida Resident and DVC Member Annual Passholder (Pre-Tax) –

Silver (FL Resident) New – was $479 now $519 (8.4%)

Silver (FL Resident) Renewal – was $407 now $441 (8.4%)

Gold New – was $609 now $699 (14.8%)

Gold Renewal – was $517 now $594 (14.9%)

Platinum New – was $749 now $899 (20.0%)

Platinum Renewal – was $636 now $764 (20.1%)

Platinum Plus New – was $849 now $999 (17.7%)

Platinum Plus Renewal – was $721 now $849 (17.8%)

So what do you get with your Walt Disney World Annual Pass?

The passes get you access to the applicable parks for the year, effectively giving you a park hopper. They’ll also get you certain discounts on food and nonalcoholic beverages and merchandise, special event ticket discounts, and AP resort room offers. By having an annual pass you will also get access to exclusive Passholder merchandise, early runDisney registration, certain VIPassholder ticketed events, and giveaways,  such as car magnets and other items given out during Epcot’s festivals.

While not a direct monetary value, but we should also mention that when the parks reach capacity the current process is to restrict entry in four phases, AP holders are not blocked from entering the parks until the fourth and last phase. So AP holders are effectively given preferential treatment on the parks’ most crowded days.

By being a Passholder (or DVC member or Florida resident) you also have access to the Tables In Wonderland card, which currently costs $150. TIW gets you 20% off food and drinks (including alcohol) at most table service restaurants on property and some others. That adds up quickly, especially as a local.

Also announced today was that Walt Disney World is increasing the prices for overnight parking at its resorts.

For reservations made before June 18, 2019 for arrivals in 2019 or 2020:

  • Disney Value Resorts: $13 per night
  • Disney Moderate Resorts: $19 per night
  • Disney Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts: $24 per night

For reservations made on or after June 18, 2019 for arrivals in 2020:

  • Disney Value Resorts: $15 per night
  • Disney Moderate Resorts: $20 per night
  • Disney Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts: $25 per night

Guests with cars staying at the Value Resorts seem to be getting hit the hardest with a 15.4% increase.  Guests staying at a Moderate and Deluxe resort will be seeing rates increased by 5.2% and 4.2% respectively.

Walt Disney World Announces Plans to Build New Nature-Themed Resort

Earlier today Walt Disney World announced plans to build a nature-inspired resort along the shores of Bay Lake.  The new resort will be located between Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground and Disney’s Wilderness Lodge on land that previously was the long time closed River Country water park.

The deluxe resort will be themed to complement its natural surroundings.

Disney said the new resort, which has not yet been named, will open in 2022.  The new resort will include 900 hotel rooms and Disney Vacation Club villas.

“Walt Disney World is in the midst of our most significant expansion in the last two decades and the combined 1,700 new hotel rooms and proposed Disney Vacation Club villas we are building at four different resorts will create thousands of new construction and permanent jobs and will drive economic opportunity and incremental revenue for Central Florida,” said George A. Kalogridis, president of Walt Disney World Resort. “We continue to add new attractions, new lands — and these beautiful accommodations will be right in the heart of all that magic.”

The resort has not been named as of yet will be Disney’s 16th Disney Vacation Club property.

“This resort experience will be a celebration of Walt Disney’s lifelong love and respect for nature, with some fun and even surprising accommodation types that families will find irresistible,” said Terri Schultz, senior vice president and general manager of Disney Vacation Club. “It will give our members and guests yet another opportunity to stay in close proximity to all the newest attractions and experiences in our theme parks, and with the flexibility, value and world-class service families expect from Disney.”

 

 

 

Walt Disney World to Begin Charging Hotel Guests for Overnight Parking

On Wednesday Walt Disney World announced that with all reservations made starting March 21 they will begin charging guests for standard overnight parking at their resorts. This charge will vary depending on the resort category and will be applied to guests’ hotel folio upon check-out.

The Standard Overnight Parking charges per resort category will be:

Value Resorts: $13 per night

Moderate Resorts: $19 per night

Deluxe Resorts and Deluxe Villa Resorts: $24 per night

Disney Vacation Club Members will not be charged for parking when they are staying at a DVC Deluxe Villa regardless of whether they are using points at paying cash for their stay.  Members also will not be charged for overnight parking if they are using points to stay at any Walt Disney World Resort hotel.

As you can imagine this is raising quite a stir in the Disney fan community.

Why is Walt Disney World doing this? No one really knows for sure, but Disney has publicly stated that charging for overnight parking is becoming an industry standard and they are just falling in line.

This could be true and if it is it could be another indication that Disney is caring less about the total guest experience and leading the industry. Back in the late 1950’s having pay stalls in bathrooms was the “industry standard” yet, as the story goes, Walt Disney saw that no one was using them at Disneyland and guests were standing in line to use the free stalls. Walt had the pay stalls all converted to free ones. Guest experience mattered…at least it did then.

Some people have speculated that Disney is doing this to reduce the number of cars at the hotels and on property. Others have speculated that its because Disney doesn’t want you wandering off property for food or visiting Universal.

There have been dozens of other guesses as to why Disney is doing this.

In my mind I think the explanation is much more simple…its a cash grab that they feel that they can get away with.

Face it…the fees that they are planning on charging aren’t ridiculous or insane. I’m sure Disney has done their research and looked at the industry and figured what they can charge and not have major objections.

Also, think about who visits Walt Disney World and has a car.

There are the people who live close enough to Walt Disney World that driving is practical and flying isn’t worth the little bit of time saved. These people will still bring their car.

There are those where driving (even if it’s 12-20 hour drive) is significantly cheaper than flying. This is my family when everyone is going along and we have the luxury of time for the trip. This parking charge isn’t going to push anyone over the edge towards flying. It just isn’t.

Then there are those (me included when we don’t drive) who fly but rent a car because they like the convenience and flexibility and don’t want to hassle with the Disney busses. My guess is a huge majority of these people will still rent a car and bring it onto property.

I have no data, but I’ve talked to people…people who have had a car on property and even though inconvenient, this charge is not going to keep many people from still having their own car or renting a car while staying at a Disney Resort.

And this is the key..I think Disney knows this. They know the vast majority of people who are inclined to have a car on property will continue to do so and just pay the fee. They will just build the charge into the price of their vacation.

Now…in full disclosure, we’re DVC members and for most of our trips we’ll be exempt from the charge. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it or agree with it.  Honestly even if I’m paying for at hotel room I’m still going to want a car and I’ll end up paying the charge. This isn’t going to keep me from taking a car on property. I’m being honest….it’s just not.

Disney Vacation Club Changes Trash Pick-Up & Walt Disney Resorts Changes Security Policy

Hey there everyone!  Disney News Today is back!

A week or so ago, I wrote that the site was going to be re-imagineered into reporting the news and happenings of the Disney Community along with my take on the stories.  This will be the first installment of the new site with hopefully a lot more to follow.

Last week Friday Disney Vacation Members were sent an email from Ken Potrock, DVC Senior VP & General Manager, extending Holiday Wishes to members.  Along with the holiday sentiments, Potrock  also mentioned the “big plans” for the future that DVC was thrilled to tell us about.

The item in this list that drew my attention was the mention that DVC would begin removing trash on a daily basis.  This change would begin immediately at Bay Lake Tower, Polynesian Villas and Bungalows, The Villas at The Grand Floridian, Disney’s Grand Californian and Aulani.  The change would be implemented to all remaining Disney Vacation Club Resorts on January 7, 2018.

We’ve been Disney Vacation Members since 1995, and frankly we’ve gotten used to ‘Mousekeeping’ not showing up every day.  So, understandably my first reaction was, “who complained about not having daily trash pick up” and what was this going to do to my dues.

Being the way that I am I had to find out why this was happening.  I just didn’t believe that this was just about trash pick up.  So, I contacted Membership Services.  While the answer that I got from them was not completely forthcoming, it did shed some light onto the situation.  In a statement that I got from a Cast Member at Member Services I was told, “It is important for us to visually inspect every room for maintenance, safety, security and other purposes.”

Within days sources were saying Walt Disney World was changing the security policy at this time for the Monorail Resorts (Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Village  .  Reports stated that Disney would be removing “Do Not Disturb” signs.  According to the Orlando Sentinel, guests at these locations can now use “Room Occupied” signs. Using the new door tag does not preclude maintenance or housekeeping staff from entering.  Guests are now being informed that Disney staff will now enter rooms at these properties daily. If guests are not comfortable with Disney staff going into their rooms when they are gone, the company will coordinate with those people on an individual basis.

While Disney has not specifically said so, there is a lot of rumors and chatter that sooner than later this policy change is going to be extended to other resorts.

When the security policy at the Monorail Resorts was reported, the trash policy change at the Disney Vacation Resorts started making more sense.

So, why is Disney making these changes?

Like I mentioned earlier, I was initially confused why DVC was doing this.  Then I thought it might have to to with it was taking Mousekeeping longer to clean out the trash when they did come because there was a significant number of guest not taking out their own trash between trash pick ups.  Then I started thinking that maybe this way that maintenance/housekeeping staff and check on things that need to be fixed and get them fixed before guests check out, thereby not holding up guests checking into their new rooms.

Now, even though Disney has not “officially” stated so, the new policy appears to be a response to the October shooting in Las Vegas that killed 59 people and injured more than 500.

I have seen some blowback by a small amount of people on the Internet that they are not happy about this change….stating that they won’t be staying at any of the Monorail Resorts anymore.

Personally, I think that this is very short-sighted.  While Disney has not officially said so, it appears that this change is going to spread to the remaining Disney Resorts.

Honestly, while inconvenient, I’m fully in support of this change.  Unfortunately, this is the world we live in now.  It’s why “we can’t have nice things.”  Disney has to do this because they would end up being liable if they didn’t implement something like this and something like Las Vegas did happen on property.

What is surprising me is why Disney hasn’t come out front and said this is why they are implementing the new polices.  I think as Disney Vacation Club Members, we’d be more understanding why the trash pick-up is being changed if management at DVC would just tell us it’s out of concern for guest safety.  I also believe that guests staying at the Walt Disney Resorts would be less reactionary and more understanding of the security changes if Disney was more upfront about why the change is occurring.

Okay….that’s it for for today.  I’ll be back soon with another story soon.

See ya real soon!