Welcome to the November installment of our monthly Disney Vacation Club preview. This month, we round up the latest news, including changes to WDW ticket pricing and more.
We’ll also take a look at some common DVC owner questions.
This month, here are some booking window dates to keep in mind. For your home resort (11-month booking window), in November, you will be able to book for dates in October 2019. For all other DVC resorts (seven-month booking window), this month you will be able to book for dates in June 2019.
Booking directly through Disney, during the next two months (November and December 2018) there is virtually no availability at Walt Disney World. As usual there is moderate availability at Hilton Head, and nothing at Disneyland, but Aulani is wide open, with 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom, and 3-bedroom villas available nearly every night.
Walt Disney World availability for five consecutive nights doesn’t start to loosen up until late January, with some one and two-bedroom units available at Saratoga Springs. As always, the moral of the story is: BOOK EARLY.
If you want to expand your options, you may want to explore renting points as an alternative to booking through Disney. (If you rent points through the affiliate link to David’s DVC rentals, TouringPlans receives a commission.)
DVC and Disney News
The much-anticipated WDW ticket restructuring happened on October 16. Touring Plans’ Steve Bloom has posted a great analysis of how the new ticket pricing scheme impacts regular guests.
As a DVC owner, you might be more likely to be an annual passholder than a purchaser of day tickets. As expected annual pass prices also increased (about 3% overall), but there are still significant advantages to purchasing passes at the DVC rate. For example, the current (after 10/16/18) Platinum Annual Pass price is now $894 for regular guests. The same pass is $749 for new DVC purchasers (a $145 savings), and $636 for DVC Platinum pass renewals (a $258 savings). Compare this with the current cost of a ten-day, Park Hopper price of $583 in the now peak-price time of mid-April 2019. The $53 price difference can easily be made up with discounts available to passholders. Also consider that the ticket price for two short trips is typically more expensive than the price for one long trip. If you’re a DVC owner that plans to make one long trip, or two or three short trips during any 12-month period, then an annual pass purchase at the DVC rate is well worth considering.
Owners visiting WDW during the remainder of 2018 should remember to purchase Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party tickets soon. And the Epcot Food & Wine Festival continues until November 12. Some events have discounted ticket prices for DVC members. Additionally, remember that the DVC owner website includes a calendar of member-specific tours, classes, and other activities, many of which require advance reservations. Take a look to see if any appeal to you.
Cooking in your DVC Villa
The one, two, and three bedroom DVC Villas are all equipped with full kitchens, including a cooktop, oven, microwave oven, dishwasher, refrigerator, coffee maker, toaster, and a supply of dishes, silverware, pots & pans, and cooking utensils. The studio villas have a much smaller kitchenette equipped with a mini-fridge, microwave, toaster, coffeemaker, and a much smaller supply of mostly disposable utensils. With a little ingenuity and compromise, it’s certainly possible to make a quick breakfast or lunch in a studio and to cook substantial meals in the larger villas. I have a friend who spends every Christmas in a large villa and makes a full holiday dinner in the DVC kitchen. She brings a few supplemental tools, like a roasting pan, with her, but if you weren’t going for fancy, you could easily prepare typical family meals.
The more pressing issue if you want to cook in your villa is getting the food to cook.
DVC offers a food delivery service on the DVC website and on flyers left in the rooms. I can’t recommend using this service. The selection of items offered is extremely limited (the only vegetables available are white potatoes, single onions, and single tomatoes), focusing mostly on snacks and beverages. There is a $10 fee for delivering the items to your room, all of which are available to purchase in the main store of your resort. You could buy and carry your selections to your room yourself for no fee, or ask the bell services desk to help you transport a heavy purchase for a $5 tip or so. Also, buying through the DVC delivery service gives you no opportunity to apply annual pass or DVC member discounts, so the price for the items yourself will be higher as well.
A better food acquisition strategy is to visit a nearby grocery store yourself. This is easy if you have access to a car during your vacation, or if you’re willing to take a cab or Uber/Lyft to and from the grocery. If you’d rather not spend time shopping while you’re in WDW, try using a grocery delivery service such as Garden Grocer or Amazon Prime. Set up your order while you’re at home, and all you have to do in Florida is unpack the bags.
Take a look at our blog post comparing deliveries from Garden Grocer and Amazon Prime for tips on how to be cost efficient with your order.
Here’s where we tackle a frequently asked question or two about Disney Vacation Club.
Question: As a DVC Member, can I really use the pools at hotels other than the one I’m staying at?
Answer: Yes, with a lot of exceptions. Disney Vacation Club members who are staying at a DVC property, using points as their payment method are eligible to “hop” to some of the pools other than the ones at their own hotel, during some dates.
The blockout dates for 2019 have not yet been released, but expect them to be similar to the 2018 dates which were:
- Memorial Day weekend
- The full week that includes July 4
- Labor Day weekend
- The full week that includes American Thanksgiving
- The two-week period including Christmas week and New Years week.
In addition the blockout periods, some DVC pools are entirely off limits for hopping. Unless you’re staying at the property, you may never hop to:
- Bay Cove Pool at Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
- Uzima Pool and Samawati Springs Pool at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Stormalong Bay at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort and Disney’s Beach Club Resorts
- The leisure pool at Disney’s Beach Club Villas
- The Lava Pool and leisure pool at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
- The Copper Creek Springs Pool at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
- The pools at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
- Boulder Ridge Cove Pool at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
These restrictions obviously take a number of the most appealing pools out of play for prospective pool hoppers. The bright spots are that you may hop to the pools at the Grand Floridian and that pool hopping is not restricted to owners purchasing directly through Disney. Resale buyers may also hop, within the rules applying to everyone.
That does it for this month’s wrap-up. Got any DVC questions? Comments? Let us know below.