Welcome to the July installment of our monthly Disney Vacation Club preview. This month, we round up the latest news, including dates for the DVC member cruises. 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 July, you will be able to book for dates in June 2020. For all other DVC resorts (seven-month booking window), this month you will be able to book for dates in February 2020. Bear in mind that we’re now well into the 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 get organized.
With Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opening at Walt Disney World later this summer, fall bookings may be particularly tight. Personally, I have been planning a trip to WDW in mid-October and have already encountered periods with literally no availability in a studio or 1-bedroom unit anywhere at Disney World.
Booking a last-minute summer trip directly through Disney, there is virtually no DVC studio availability in July or August. There are one-, two-, and three bedroom villas, as well as Treehouse villas, open at Saratoga Springs during most of July and August, as well as one- and two-bedroom openings at Old Key West, and some Grand Villas at Bay Lake Tower. The bungalows at the Polynesian Villas have openings throughout the remainder of the summer. There is minimal availability elsewhere.
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
As I mentioned above, Galaxy’s Edge is opening at Disney World this summer. The last weekend in August will see both the debut of Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the opening of the 2019 Food & Wine Festival at Epcot. In other words, late summer is going to be bonkers with new things to do, see, and taste at Walt Disney World. If your kiddos don’t go back to school until after Labor Day, and you can deal with the Orlando heat, it could be a good time to experience a lot at once.
DVC sales are now in full swing for the new Riviera Resort, opening this winter. If you want a jump on buying merchandise for this property, head on over to Epcot to find Riviera tees, mugs, and other items.
There are currently price reductions available for DVC members wishing to add points at Riviera or Aulani. The rates below are available for purchases now through October 30, 2019. Call 888-681-6028 to add on to your membership.
Some of the biggest WDW news in the past month was the surprise, and surprisingly steep, increase in annual pass prices. Here’s a big reminder that DVC members are given discounts on AP prices. See the savings!
If you’re thinking of staying at Old Key West, Angela has posted a terrific video overview of the resort over on our YouTube channel. This is a companion to her earlier video tour of a one-bedroom unit at Old Key West. Old Key West has some of the largest rooms on Walt Disney World property and are an economical use of your points. We also have a video tour of the entire Yacht & Beach Club resort. It’s not DVC specific, but many of the Beach Club’s amenities are available to guests staying at the Beach Club DVC villas.
There is limited availability on the DVC member cruises on Disney Cruise Line. The member cruises currently available are a 7-night Bermuda sailing from October 5-12, 2019, out of New York on the Disney Magic and a 7-night Alaska cruise out of Vancouver from August 24-31, 2020. 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.
In addition to the member cruises, there are select regular DCL sailings (some 4- and 5-night Bahamian cruises, some 7-night Mexican Riviera cruises, and some 7-Night Western Caribbean cruises) that are available for 30% off the original price when paying with points. Additionally, some Adventures by Disney river cruises and general trips are available for 20% off the original points price. Call member services for details.
If you decide to book a member cruise (or any other Disney cruise sailing), you may want to kickstart your planning with the 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, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot nights have now passed. Animal Kingdom will host three events: July 18, August 8, and August 22, 2019, and registration is now open for all members. The event is currently full, however DVC suggests checking back in case of cancellations. The last Moonlight Magic events 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 reservations, and on August 28 for all members.
Here’s where we tackle a frequently asked question or two about Disney Vacation Club.
Question: Many of the DVC villas now have a single “pull down” bed available in addition to a “pull out” couch. What’s the difference and which is better?
Answer: You are correct that in addition to the pull-out couches (a queen-size sleeper sofa) that have long been a part of the DVC villa experience, many of the villa resorts also include a “pull down” single bed. These single beds are typically located directly under the television. These beds often allow studio rooms to sleep five guests instead of four, which can be a terrific point savings for families like mine with three children. The addition of the third sleep surface can also be a boon for guests who are fine sharing a room, but not a bed, with their traveling companions.
The pull down beds are slightly smaller than a standard twin-size bed, and they are promoted as appropriate for children. But to test out the comfort level, I slept in the pull down bed two nights during a recent villa stay. I’m a 5’6″ slightly “fluffy” adult and found the pull down bed to be perfectly fine. While a tall adult or teen might find the pull down bed too small, certainly children and many adult women would find it works for them.
I have also slept on the pull-out sleeper sofa during many DVC villa stays. Given the choice, I would very much prefer the pull-down single over the pull-out sofa. The sofas tend to have thinner mattresses and a support bar that you can feel when you roll over. My three young adult daughters often bicker about who gets the pull-down single because they all prefer having their own space rather having to share the sofa bed.
That does it for this month’s wrap-up. Got any DVC questions? Current members, do you have any advice for someone deciding whether to purchase points for the first time? Let us know below.