Welcome to the February installment of our monthly Disney Vacation Club preview. This month, we round up the latest news, including a change to the benefits associated with resale points and information about the opening of the new Riviera resort. We’ll also take a look at some common DVC owner questions.
Here are some booking window dates to keep in mind. For your home resort (11-month booking window), in February, you will be able to book for dates in January 2020. For all other DVC resorts (seven-month booking window), this month you will be able to book for dates in September 2019. Bear in mind that we’re now in range for booking in the Halloween and Christmas season 2019. If you’re planning to enjoy the park decor and parties during the holidays, now’s the time to plan.
Booking directly through Disney, there are only large villas (2-bedroom and larger) available until the end of March 2019 when there starts to be some 1-bedroom villa availability at Saratoga Springs at Walt Disney World and at Aulani in Hawaii. The only Walt Disney World availability at all in February and March is at Saratoga, Old Key West, and the Polynesian Villas Bungalows. There are no studios at all available in February or March.
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
Disney’s brand new Riviera resort, located adjacent to the Caribbean Beach Resort is now accepting cash reservations for stays beginning in late December 2019. Although this is a DVC resort, with DVC-style studio, 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom villa accommodations, as of this writing, Disney was not accepting reservations for stays using points for payment. The DVC website currently lists “Rooms from TBD vacation points per night” as the point requirement at every room category. If you want to stay there for cash, be prepared to empty your pockets. Rates in December (the pricey holiday season) start at more than $500 per night for a room that sleeps just two guests on a queen-sized Murphy bed. Yikes.
Related to the opening of the Riviera resort, Disney has made some substantial changes to the usability of resale points. As of mid-January 2019, new rules in place restrict buyers of resale DVC points at one of the current 14 DVC resorts (Aulani, Hilton Head, Vero Beach, Bay Lake Tower, Grand Floridian Villas, Polynesian Villas, Beach Club Villas, Boardwalk Villas, Saratoga Springs, Old Key West, Boulder Ridge Villas, Copper Creek Villas, Animal Kingdom Lodge Jambo and Kidani, Grand Californian Villas) to using those resale points ONLY at resorts in that group. This means that resale points buyers at Boardwalk Villas, for example, would not be able to use those resale points at Riviera (or, presumably, at other future DVC locations).
Further complicating matters, owners who buy Riviera points via resale will ONLY be able to use those points at Riviera, not, for example, at Boardwalk Villas, or any of the other 14 original DVC locations. If you’re thinking about buying Riviera from Disney, this change is something to consider carefully before signing your contract. If you buy Riviera and you later want to sell your ownership, the interest in your points on the retail market may be depressed.
Here’s another reminder that, while we don’t have news on specific opening dates for Galaxy’s Edge (a.k.a. Star Wars Land), Disney is saying that the Disneyland version will open “summer 2019” and the Walt Disney World version will open “fall 2019.” This puts us within the booking window for DVC members to get rooms during opening season. We’re anticipating HUGE interest in Disney trips when these new lands are introduced, which means that hotel rooms of all sorts may be hard to find. If you want to be one of the first to experience Galaxy’s Edge, it’s time to start paying close attention to booking windows to make sure you’re not shut out of using your points toward the end of the year.
There is still limited availability on the DVC member cruises on Disney Cruise Line in 2019. The member cruises currently available are a 5-night sailing of the Disney Wonder from May 15-20 from San Diego to Vancouver, and a 7-night Bermuda sailing from October 5-12 out of New York on the Disney Magic. In addition to all the fun of a regular DCL voyage, member cruises include loads of perks not available to regular guests, including enhanced stateroom gifts, presentations by Disney-affiliated celebrities, member receptions, and other surprises. Members may book up to four staterooms for these sailings. Call member services at 800-800-9800 for more information. If you decide to book a member cruise (or any other Disney cruise sailing), you may want to kickstart your planning with the just-released Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line 2019, co-authored by yours truly.
One of the perkier perks of DVC membership is Moonlight Magic Nights, evenings where members get the run of a park, plus lots of snacks, for freeeeee! Yep, it’s like those big dollar paid late night evenings, but at no extra cost. While there is no fee, advance registration is required and availability is limited. WDW Magic Kingdom will have Moonlight Magic Nights on February 5 and 12, 2019, registration is now open for all members. Disney’s Hollywood Studio Moonlight Magic will take place on March 20 and 27, 2019, with registration opening on February 14 for members with WDW hotel reservation, and on February 21 for all members. Epcot events will take place on May 13 and 20, 2019, with registration opening on April 3 for members with WDW hotel reservation, and on April 10 for all members. Animal Kingdom will host three events: July 18, August 8, and August 22, 2019, with registration opening on June 5 for members with WDW hotel reservation, and on June 12 for all members. The last Moonlight Magic event of the year will take place at Typhoon Lagoon on September 18 and October 16, 2019, with registration opening on August 14 for members with WDW hotel reservation, and on August 28 for all members.
Here’s where we tackle a frequently asked question or two about Disney Vacation Club.
Question: I’m a new owner and want to buy some DVC merchandise before I arrive at WDW for my first vacation as an owner. Can I buy DVC mech anywhere other than the DVC resorts?
Answer: You’re in luck! Download the shopDisney app from the iTunes or Android store (note this is different from the Disney Store website and the Disney Store app). Search “DVC” on the shopDisney app and you’ll see several dozen items for sale including general DVC tees, totes, luggage tags, caps, and magnets, as well as resort specific items like an Aulani coffee mug, a Vero Beach water bottle, and a Bay Lake Tower tee. Bonus tip: when you set up the app, be sure to input all your Disney affiliations like your annual pass and DVC member numbers; these will give you access to price discounts. Also be sure to look for Free Shipping codes for most purchases over $75.
That does it for this month’s wrap-up. Got any DVC questions? Comments? Let us know below.