Welcome to our second installment of the DVC Monthly Preview here on the TouringPlans blog. If you missed last month’s debut, you can read it here. Read on for a quick recap of DVC news and other information about Disney’s best kept secret.
This month, here are some booking window dates to keep in mind. For your home resort (11-month booking window), in December, you will be able to book for dates in November 2018. It’s a great time to catch the end of Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival, or to attend some of the first Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Parties. For all other DVC resorts (7-month booking window), this month you will be able to book for dates in July 2018. If you are planning a Fourth of July trip, you’ll want to start looking at availability right away.
For last-minute trips, besides Aulani, there is very little availability listed for December at DVC’s last-minute resort availability page. You sometimes can get lucky searching for resort availability in case of last-minute cancellations.
On the first two Mondays in December, Disney Vacation Club is hosting Moonlight Magic at Epcot, a free after-hours celebration for members. The event will include a DJ dance party, refreshments, Disney characters, and access to select attractions. Reservations are currently full for the event, but you can check here for an opening in the event of cancellations. DVC began offering these after-hour parties as part of its 25th anniversary celebration in 2016, then continued them in 2017. News is coming out about a full slate of Moonlight Magic events in 2018, and we’ll have more details in next month’s installment.
As of this writing, availability remained for DVC’s Christmas Eve holiday dinners, the Frozen-themed event at Disney’s Contemporary Resort from 3 to 5 p.m. and the Wild West Winterland at Disney’s Grand Californian Resort from 4-6 p.m. Price is $74.95 for adults and $39.95 for children (ages 3 to 9), plus tax and gratuity. Call Member Services at (800) 800-9800 to book the dinner.
If you’re celebrating the New Year at Walt Disney World, DVC has a Screamin’ Monsters New Year’s Eve Eve Dessert Party from 10 p.m. to midnight on Dec. 30. Along with tasty snacks and desserts, characters from Monsters, Inc. will visit, and there will even be a selfie station with Boo’s door. Price is $82.50 for adults and $42.50 for children, plus tax and gratuity. Call Member Services at (800) 800-9800 to book the party.
We know a lot of DVC members have been clamoring for this next item. Just in time for holiday shopping, resort-specific merchandise is now being sold at the Shop Disney store. Don’t forget that members get a 20 percent discount on purchases.
If you’re interested in the current Walt Disney World ticket offers for DVC members, purchases must be made by Jan. 3, 2018. Members can get 25 percent off a Platinum Plus Annual Pass–that’s the one that gets you into the water parks. Members can also get a 7-day ticket for the price of a 5-day ticket. The bonus to this offer is that once the ticket is activated, guests get six months to use the other days, perfect for DVC members that take multiple shorter trips.
Annual dues projections were released in early November. The highest increase was at Aulani, which saw its dues go up 7.19 percent. Most other increases were in the 4 to 5 percent range. One property, the brand new Copper Creek Villas, actually saw a slight decrease.
Budgets will be formally ratified at the 2017 Annual Meeting for the Disney Vacation Club Condominium Association. Members can attend the meeting and ask questions afterward at 2 p.m., Dec. 7 at Disney’s Contemporary Resort Convention Center. RSVP here if you’re interested in attending.
Finally, if you’ve been thinking about purchasing DVC resale, this is a good time of year to keep an eye on the resale sites, as owners look to sell their contracts before having to pay annual dues in January.
This month, we take the monorail over to the perfect resort to celebrate the holidays, The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. If you’re visiting Walt Disney World this time of year, few resorts are more festive, with the giant Christmas tree and life-size gingerbread house in the lobby of the main building adjacent to the DVC building.
Sales for this upscale entry in the DVC portfolio began in June 2013 at $150 per point with the DVC section of the resort opening in October 2013.
Rooms at the resort are larger than most other DVC resorts with the studio at 374 square feet, the one-bedroom at 844 square feet, the two-bedroom at 1,232 square feet, and the grand villa checking in at an expansive 2,800 square feet. You can choose from standard views or lake views, which look out over Seven Seas Lagoon toward Magic Kingdom at a point premium.
Decor is Victorian elegance with Disney whimsy, typified by the lobby’s bronze fountain featuring the penguins from “Mary Poppins.” Rooms feature pull-down beds that reveal a Dumbo or Mary Poppins mural when opened. Another nifty feature of the villas is the television that can be viewed in the bathroom mirror, because why wouldn’t you want to watch Stacey in “Must-Do Disney” while you brush your teeth?
Between the villas and the main building is the Beach Pool with water slide, overlooking Seven Seas Lagoon, a water play area themed after Alice in Wonderland, and the Beaches Pool Bar & Grill. Farther north is the Courtyard Pool.
In the main building, you’ll find some of the best dining on Walt Disney World property. With its AAA Five-Diamond rating, Victoria & Albert’s is one of the most critically acclaimed restaurants in the state. Citricos and Narcoossee’s offer signature dining options. For a character buffet, check out 1900 Park Fare. The Grand Floridian Cafe is an option for a more casual meal. Finally, the Garden View Tea Room offers its unique afternoon tea experience.
The DVC villas are conveniently located near Senses – A Disney Spa, a full-service spa and health club offering massages, body treatments, and more. They’re also the closest rooms to Disney’s Wedding Pavilion. Guests also have access to watercraft rentals and specialty cruises on Seven Seas Lagoon for an additional fee.
Considering the rooms, dining, recreation, and the spa offerings, a stay at the Villas at the Grand Floridian is as deluxe as you can get on Disney property. But ask guests, and they’ll likely tell you that just as important is the convenient access to Magic Kingdom, either on the monorail or by boat.
Have you stayed at the Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa or is this your home resort? Share your thoughts in the comments and let readers know what they can expect from a stay at the “Grand Flo.”
That’s it for this month’s DVC preview. We’ll be back in another month to talk about January, or as DVC members know it, “pay your dues month.”