Welcome to the April installment of our monthly Disney Vacation Club preview. This month, we round up the latest news, including info about the points chart at the new Riviera Resort at Walt Disney World. 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 April, you will be able to book for dates in March 2020. For all other DVC resorts (seven-month booking window), this month you will be able to book for dates in November 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 virtually no studio units available at any DVC property in April. There are 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom villas open at Aulani during most of April and May, and there are 1- 2- and 3- bedroom units open at Saratoga Springs at WDW during much of April and May. Scattered large rooms are also available in late April and throughout May at Bay Lake Tower, Old Key West, and Hilton Head.
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
Unless you’ve been living under a Jabba-the-Hutt-sized rock, you’ll know that Disney recently announced the opening dates for Galaxy’s Edge, the new Star Wars land. Galaxy’s Edge will open at Disneyland on May 31 and at Walt Disney World on August 29. Needless to say, guest interest in these areas is unprecedented. Disneyland visitors will initially require reservations to visit Galaxy’s Edge and Disney World will not offer FastPasses for Galaxy’s Edge attractions at the outset.
Some guests are altering plans to be among the first to experience the new land, while others are altering plans to avoid potential crowds around the Galaxy’s Edge debut. Expect that there will be some some fluidity in room reservation availability during this time. If you’re looking to make a Disney hotel reservation during the rest of 2019 and you’re not finding your preferred room type, keep checking back.
There’s also big news related to the new Riviera Resort, which is adjacent to the Caribbean Beach resort. Points purchased at Riviera are now available to current DVC owners. The initial base price here is $188, the same rate as the base rate at Copper Creek Villas at the Wilderness Lodge. There are incentives for buying early. The DVC website states, “Save $1,000 or more when you Add On at Disney’s Riviera Resort through May 31, 2019. Plus, save an additional $750—for a total savings of $1,750 or more—when you Add On by April 30, 2019!” If you want to add-on here, it pays to do so early in the offering.
Along with sale pricing, the points chart for Riviera is now available. The 2-person Tower Studio rooms have the least expensive points requirements I’ve seen at WDW: just 11 points per night for a weekday during Adventure Season. That pricing all but ensures that the Tower Studios will never be available to DVC owners without Riviera contracts. Consider whether that will influence any purchase decision.
While ostensibly less of a “big news” item, Disney’s recent clarification of park entry rules for strollers, generated massive social media interest among families with young children about the definition of the word “stroller.” Enforcement of a ban on “stroller wagons” will begin in earnest on May 1. If you’re planning a visit with young kids after May 1, you’ll want to revisit stroller size restrictions.
There is 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 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. The 2019 Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios nights have now passed. Epcot events will take place on May 13 and 20, 2019, with registration open 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 heard the recent news about a ban on Keenz-style stroller wagons in the parks. I already own a Keenz, can I use it at my DVC resort or Disney Springs if I don’t take it into the theme parks?
Answer: Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the stroller-wagon ban applies to all areas of Walt Disney World and Disneyland, including the hotels, water parks, shopping, and entertainment areas, as well as to the theme parks.
Question: I am bringing a toddler with me during my DVC resort stay. Will there be a high chair available in the room?
Answer: High chairs are an amenity that’s included with DVC villas. The vast majority of one, two, and three-bedroom villas I’ve stayed in have had a high chair already stashed in a closet in the unit. Some studios are pre-stocked with high chairs, but many are not. Whatever size villa you’re in, if there is no high chair in your room when you arrive, just stop by your resort’s front desk, or touch “housekeeping” on your resort phone, and ask them to bring you one. There’s no charge for this.
That does it for this month’s wrap-up. Got any DVC questions? Comments? Let us know below.