Happy New Year to fellow Disney Vacation Club owners (and prospective owners). Welcome to the latest installment of our monthly DVC preview. You can view last month’s preview here. The new year has brought a plethora of news, so let’s get to it.
This month, here are some booking window dates to keep in mind. For your home resort (11-month booking window), in January, you will be able to book for dates in December 2018. Plenty of DVC members plan their trips around the holidays, particularly during the less point-costly first part of the month. If you’re counting on a December trip, best to lock it in early. For all other DVC resorts (7-month booking window), this month you will be able to book for dates in August 2018.
For last-minute trips, the second half of January has select dates available in Walt Disney World at Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa and Old Key West Resort at DVC’s last-minute resort availability page. Aulani and Hilton Head also have limited availability.
Hard to believe, but we’re just a month away from being able to start booking 2019 dates. In preparation, DVC has released its 2019 point charts, accessible here. Some notable changes: Animal Kingdom Villas Jambo House has slightly increased the point cost of club level rooms and decreased the point cost of value rooms. Also, Vero Beach and Aulani resorts have switched the seasons on some of their dates. Be sure to use the correct year’s point chart for planning purposes. In case you were wondering, DVC has a set number of points for each resort, so any increase in point values must be offset by an equal decrease.
The DVC community has been buzzing over the recently announced housekeeping change. As DVC owners know, one major difference between staying on points versus conventional rooms is that daily housekeeping service is not provided. DVC guests would previously get trash and towel service on the fourth day of their stay. Under a new policy, housekeeping will remove trash from rooms on a daily basis. The new policy began at select resorts on December 22, 2017 and will happen at all resorts on January 7, 2018. Guests can still pay an additional fee for full housekeeping service.
DVC has brought back the popular Moonlight Magic after-hours parties in the parks for 2018. Booking is already available for parties at Magic Kingdom on January 11 and 28 and February 6. These events typically fill up, so if you want to go, reserve your spot as soon as possible. Other Moonlight Magic parties will be at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on March 21, April 17, and May 16; Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park on May 30 and June 11; Epcot on July 16 and August 14; Disney’s Hollywood Studios on September 19 and 26 and October 3; and Disney’s California Adventure on November 15. Find more details here.
A reminder that annual dues must be paid by January 15 to avoid late fees. Check under the annual dues section under My DVC Membership on the DVC member website for more information. You can pay by credit card, Disney gift card, or you can enroll in automatic monthly payments from your checking or savings account.
Finally, if you’re in the market to purchase DVC or add points to your existing membership, time is of the essence. DVC will increase the price per point for those buying direct on January 17. For the first time, three DVC properties will break the $200 barrier with big increases at locales with high demand and limited supply. Grand Floridian and Polynesian surge to $220, and Grand Californian tops all others at $235 per point. Other properties will see more modest increases with current sales at Aulani and Copper Creek increasing from $176 to $182 per point. Some of these increases are so dramatic that you wonder whether DVC is trying to goose Aulani and Copper Creek sales by making them more attractive price-wise. Current purchase offers can be found here.
For the new year, we’ll take a look at the newest DVC addition, Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, which just opened this past year. Copper Creek is actually the second DVC property attached to the Wilderness. The previous Villas at Wilderness Lodge, located in a building adjacent to the main lodge, are now known as the Boulder Ridge Villas. Those contracts and points are separate from the Copper Creek points.
Sales for Copper Creek began in March 2017 and opened officially in July. As I mentioned in the DVC News section, the price per point is about to increase.
Copper Creek includes 345-square-foot studios, 761-square-foot one-bedroom units, 1,105-square-foot two-bedroom units, and massive three-bedroom grand villas at 3,204 square feet. All those units are within the main Wilderness Lodge building. I had the chance to enjoy a studio unit last month and being closer to the amenities is a big plus, particularly if you’re walking over to Roaring Fork to refill a drink mug. It can be quite a trek to do that if you’re on the far end of the Boulder Ridge Villas.
Following the wow factor of the Polynesian Bungalows, DVC looked to do something similar at Copper Creek with 26 1,737-square-foot Cascade Cabins set along Bay Lake. These two-bedroom cabins include a wraparound porch with built-in hot tub. The porch takes advantage of the waterfront views, where guests can watch the nightly Electrical Water Pageant.
One big selling point for Copper Creek, and Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, is both its proximity to and isolation from Magic Kingdom. Cinderella’s Castle is just a short boat or bus ride away. And yet, the grounds of the resort, with the tall pines, rock work, and soaring buildings, feel like a world away. You’re not in Florida, but in the majestic national parks of the Pacific Northwest.
Along with the existing amenities at the Wilderness Lodge, Copper Creek’s development included the opening of Geyser Point Bar & Grill a quick-service dining spot and lounge next to the main Wilderness pool. Another new addition is Salon at the Springs, providing manicures, pedicures, hair styling, and other spa services.
One more addition for DVC members early in 2018 will be Reunion Station, opening adjacent to Geyser Point. It will function as a concierge lounge serving a light breakfast and happy hour offerings for a nightly fee. It’s a different approach for a concierge service, which is typically offered only to people staying in “concierge” or “club level” rooms. The space will also host activities like wine tastings and photography classes.
Have you had a chance to stay at the Copper Creek Villas, or are you a Boulder Ridge Villas owner who is enjoying the latest changes at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
That’s it for this month’s preview. We’ll be back in February with more DVC news and another resort spotlight.