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.”

 

 

 

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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!

Disney Vacation Club Announces Moonlight Magic Dates for 2018

Members will enjoy more Moonlight Magic event dates than ever in 2018, with parties already confirmed for every month from January through November, with more dates still to come! To help you plan accordingly, Disney Vacation Club is pleased to share confirmed party and booking dates.

The confirmed slate includes the first Moonlight Magic events at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, where the highly anticipated Toy Story Land is scheduled to have made its playful debut by the time Members take over the park. Also confirmed is a return to Disney California AdventurePark, where Paradise Pier is scheduled to have become Pixar Pier – headlined by the highly anticipated transformation of California Screamin’ into The Incredibles-inspired Incredicoaster!

Introduced in 2017 as part of Membership Magic Ever After, complimentary Moonlight Magic events invite Disney Vacation ClubMembers and special guests to turn Disney Parks into their own personal playgrounds at the end of the parks’ operating days. While attendees may get a jump start on the fun by mixing in with the regular crowd earlier in the evening, the real magic happens after the park has closed to the public. It’s then that privileged partiers discover shorter-than-usual wait times on popular attractions, meet off-the-beaten-path Characters, enjoy complimentary refreshments, let loose at dance parties and more.

Here’s a look at the confirmed 2018 Moonlight Magic schedule, including the dates on which online reservations will open for each event:

  • Jan. 11 and 28, and Feb. 6 at Magic Kingdom Park
    (Booking begins for Members with Resort reservations on the event dates Dec 7. Pending availability, booking opens for all Members on Dec 21.)
  • March 21, April 17 and May 16 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park
    (Booking begins for Members with Resort reservations on the event dates Feb 8. Pending availability, booking opens for all Members on Feb 22.)
  • May 30 and June 11 at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park
    (Booking begins for Members with Resort reservations on the event dates April 19. Pending availability, booking opens for all Members on May 3.)
  • July 16 and Aug. 13 at Epcot
    (Booking begins for Members with Resort reservations on the event dates June 6. Pending availability, booking opens for all Members on June 20.)
  • Sept. 19 and 26, and Oct. 3 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
    (Booking begins for Members with Resort reservations on the event dates Aug 30. Pending availability, booking opens for all Members on Sept. 13.)
  • Nov. 15 at Disney California Adventure Park
    (Booking begins for all Members on Oct. 4.)

Please note that, in order to allow as many Members as possible to enjoy Moonlight Magic, only one event date for each participating park will be available per Membership. Watch disneyvacationclub.com for additions to the Moonlight Magic event slate, as well as party hours and transportation information.

 

Disney Launches Vacation Gifting Site

Disney has launched GiveDisneyVacations.com. The site is a new way to gift someone something as little as a $25 gift card and other gifting options all the way up to to an Adventures by Disney vacation or even a membership with Disney Vacation Club.

Guests can choose from Disney Gift Cards, Theme park tickets, and entire vacations with Adventures by Disney, Aulani, Disney Cruise Line, Disneyland Resort, Disney Vacation Club and Walt Disney World Resort.

As a special introductory offer, available now through November 15th, guests can purchase a special Walt Disney World Resort package for any time during the 2018 calendar year. The package will consist of a 6-Night/7-Day room and ticket package at one of Disney’s All-Star Resorts for $96 per person, per night. The resort package will be delivered in a special holiday gift box, and delivery is guaranteed before December 15th.

Walt Disney World Extends Annual Passholder Dining Promotion

Walt Disney World’s 45th Anniversary Annual Passholder dining promotion has been extended until late December of this year.

The promotion that was announced on October 1st was originally planned to expire in September increased the discounts that are in effect for both Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members.

A 20% discount is available for Annual Passholders at the following Walt Disney World table and quick service restaurants.

  • Lottawatta Lodge, Blizzard Beach
  • Disney Food Trucks, Disney Springs
  • D-Luxe Burger, Disney Springs
  • Flame Tree Barbecue, Disney’s Animal Kingdom
  • Tiffins, Disney’s Animal Kingdom
  • The Mara, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • Jiko, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • Sanaa, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • Beach Club Marketplace, Disney’s Beach Club Resort
  • Boardwalk Bakery, Disney’s Boardwalk Resort
  • Boardwalk Pizza, Window Disney’s Boardwalk Resort
  • ESPN Sports Club, Disney’s Boardwalk Resort
  • Flying Fish, Disney’s Boardwalk Resort
  • Contempo Café, Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • The Wave Disney’s, Contemporary Resort
  • Trail’s End Restaurant, Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
  • Gasparilla Island Grill, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Citricos, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Grand Floridian Café, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Narcoossee’s, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • ABC, Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  • Backlot Express, Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  • Hollywood & Vine, Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  • The Hollywood Brown Derby, Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  • Olivia’s Café, Disney’s Old Key West Resort
  • Capt. Cook’s, Disney’s Polynesian Resort
  • Disney’s Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show, Disney’s Polynesian Resort
  • Kona Café, Disney’s Polynesian Resort
  • Boatwright’s Dining Hall, Riverside Disney’s Port Orleans Resort
  • The Turf Club Bar & Grill, Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
  • Roaring Fork, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Artist Point, Disney’s Wildnerness Lodge
  • Whispering Canyon Café, Disney’s Wildnerness Lodge
  • Cape May Café, Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts
  • Captain’s Grille, Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts
  • Electric Umbrella, Epcot
  • Liberty Inn, Epcot
  • The Garden Grill, Epcot
  • Biergarten Restaurant, Epcot
  • Coral Reef Restaurant, Epcot
  • Rose & Crown Dining Room, Epcot
  • ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
  • Peco’s Bills, Magic Kingdom
  • Jungle Navigation Co., Ltd. Skipper Canteen, Magic Kingdom
  • Leaning Palms, Typhoon Lagoon

The Artist’s Palette at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Debuts Family Meal Kit

The ability to prepare and enjoy a family meal in a spacious Disney Vacation Club villa has long been part of the magic of Membership … and a new meal kit at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa is making it easier than ever to take advantage of a villa’s kitchen and dining area.

Priced at $49 plus tax and available for a limited time at the resort’s Artist’s Palette marketplace, the meal kit for four features Rigatoni Fiesolana (Rigatoni pasta with creamy tomato sauce, sausage, portabella mushrooms, parmesan and fresh basil) and comes with a large garden salad, garlic bread sticks and baking instructions.

Note that full kitchens are available in one-bedroom villas and larger accommodations at Disney Vacation Club Resorts. Deluxe Studios are not equipped to prepare this meal option.

Disney’s Vero Beach Resort to Re-Open Today

The Disney Vacation Club has announced that Disney’s Vero Beach Resort on the east coast of Florida is reopening today after being closed for nearly a week due to Hurricane Irma.

DVC has also announced that it’s other beach-side resort, Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort will tentatively reopen on September 18th.

New Disney Vacation Club Riviera Resort to be Built Near Epcot

Disney announced at D23 Expo 2017 that they have plans to build a brand new Disney Vacation Club Resort near to Epcot called Disney Riviera Resort.

The new resort is scheduled to open in the fall of 2019, featuring 300 accommodation units, and linked via the new Disney Skyliner gondola system.

“We’re thrilled to announce plans for a new Disney Vacation Club property called Disney Riviera Resort coming to Walt Disney World Resort,” Chapek said. “Our Vacation Club Members are among our most loyal fans, and we think that they will love what we have planned, especially the rooftop restaurant that will offer unbelievable views of nighttime spectaculars at both Epcot and Hollywood Studios.”

Ken Potrock, Senior Vice President & General Manager of Disney Vacation Club, said, “The opening of Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge in just a few days and the announcement of our next planned development, Disney Riviera Resort, demonstrate the incredible momentum underway at Disney Vacation Club. Our members tell us over and over again how much they love the outstanding accommodations and the value and flexibility of a Disney Vacation Club Membership, as well as the unique location to our growing and evolving theme parks and the exclusive member experiences and benefits they get from our Membership Extras program.”

Land for the new Disney Riviera Resort will come from the recently demolished section of Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort.

Disney’s Vero Beach Resort Awarded AAA Four Diamond Rating

If you’ve ever visited Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, you know this Disney Vacation Club resort, oozing with Old Florida charm, is the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing beach vacation.

AAA, one of the leading sources of travel ratings in the industry, has recognized Disney’s Vero Beach Resort and its cast members with a coveted Four Diamond rating, an honor that goes to fewer than six percent of the nearly 28,000 hotels approved by the travel company. According to AAA, “A Four Diamond hotel is refined and stylish, providing upscale physical attributes, extensive amenities and a high degree of hospitality, service and attention to detail.”

We are honored to receive such a coveted rating and proud of the resort’s cast members for achieving such high marks!

Located on Florida’s East Coast just a two hours’ drive from Walt Disney World Resort, Disney’s Vero Beach Resort immerses visitors in its themes of citrus, treasure and the environment. The resort boasts a variety of water-themed activities, including access to the warm waters of the Atlantic, a children’s water play area, a miniature golf course, a Mickey Mouse-shaped swimming pool complete with a water slide and so much more.

Situated on one of the most active sea turtle nesting beaches in Florida, sea turtles are an important part of Disney’s Vero Beach Resort. As part of Disney’s overall commitment to sea turtle conservation, a team of Disney researchers track sea turtle nests on several miles of the beach near the resort to help protect them and study what factors contribute to the successful hatching of sea turtle nests. From May to October, members and guests can observe the nesting season of threatened or endangered sea turtles such as loggerheads and leatherbacks during special outings with Disney sea turtle experts.

New to the resort is Wind & Waves, a dining experience that includes a grill focused on fresh, local seafood and produce, a market with grab-and-go meals and a poolside bar. This Florida-themed food experience offers something for every dining style.

Not only is the food amazing, but the accommodations at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort are stunning. Situated along the beautiful Atlantic coastline, Deluxe Studios, Inn rooms and one- and two-bedroom villas offer an assortment of options for your family, making this resort a truly unique Disney retreat.