Welcome to the September 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 September, you will be able to book for dates in August 2020. For all other DVC resorts (seven-month booking window), this month you will be able to book for dates in April 2020. Bear in mind that we’re now well into the range for booking in the Christmas season 2019. If you’re planning to enjoy the park decor and parties during the holidays, now’s the time to get organized.
Booking a last-minute fall trip directly through Disney, there is virtually no DVC studio availability in September or October. Throughout the early fall, there are plentiful openings at Aulani in Hawaii in one-, two-, and three bedroom villas. There are some two- and three-bedroom villas open at Hilton Head in both September and October. Within Disney World, there is minimal availability. I’m seeing a few bungalows and 2-bedroom villas at Old Key West and Saratoga Springs in September and during the last week of October. The early weeks of October have extremely limited availability anywhere at Walt Disney World.
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
Galaxy’s Edge is now open at Disney World, the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is in full swing, and the NBA Experience is now open at Disney Springs. We’re in a small lull for new events as we wait for the Skyliner gondola transportation system to begin operating, the Riviera Resort to open, and for the Rise of the Resistance Ride to debut at Galaxy’s Edge, all of which are happening later this fall and into early December.
As far as upcoming closings go, Club Cool will say goodbye to its current location this week, and Illuminations will have its last performance on September 30, both at Epcot.
Until October 30, 2019, Disney is running reduced-cost promotions for points purchases at the new Riviera Resort at Walt Disney World and at Aulani in Hawaii. The larger the purchase, the greater the savings. Call 888-681-6028 for details. I had the opportunity to see the models for the Riviera Resort room a few days ago. I have to admit that I didn’t give much thought to buying points there myself, but after seeing the models – WOWZA! In my opinion, the Riviera rooms are more attractive and more comfortable than the rooms at the Grand Floridian villas. Seriously, they are gorgeous!
If you were thinking of purchasing points at Copper Creek Villas, act NOW. The resort is more than 90% sold out and ownership access is going fast. (As a reminder Copper Creek is a division of the DVC rooms at Disney World’s Wilderness Lodge.)
On October 4, 2019, Disney will be offering a special showing of Frozen on Broadway for DVC members and special guests, with reduced-price seating. As a New Yorker, I’m always thrilled when DVC offers perks close to home. Call the Disney on Broadway Hotline at (866) 870-2717 and ask for the Special Member Offer for Frozen on Broadway. You’ll need to provide your Home Resort and party size. Party size is limited to Member plus 5 Guests, for a total of 6 per Membership.
There is limited availability on the DVC member cruises on Disney Cruise Line. The member cruises currently announced 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 dates for theme parks Moonlight Magic have now passed. The last Moonlight Magic events of the year will take place at Typhoon Lagoon on September 18 and October 16, 2019, with registration open for all members.
Recent TouringPlans DVC Coverage
If you want to scope out DVC accommodations and perks, take a look at some recent posts where we explore DVC rooms and other amenities:
- The DVC Lounge is a Beautiful Retreat
- Moonlight Magic DVC Merch at Epcot
- DVC “Member Since” Buttons Available Free to DVC Members
- PHOTOS: Studio Villa at Disney World’s Polynesian Resort
- One-Bedroom Villa Tour: Disney’s Boardwalk Villas
- PHOTOS: One-Bedroom Villa at the Grand Floridian
- One-Bedroom Villa Tour: Disney’s Old Key West Resort + Video
- Studio and One-Bedroom Tour: Disney’s Copper Creek Villas & Cabins + Video
Here’s where we tackle a frequently asked question or two about Disney Vacation Club.
Question: We’ve book at Walt Disney World stay on DVC points and a hurricane is headed toward Florida, what do we do?
Answer: Funny you should ask, because that’s the exact situation many guests are facing right now with Hurricane Dorian hovering off the Florida coast. I myself just cut a DVC stay short, skipping the last two nights of a scheduled stay at Saratoga Springs because my original flight home was cancelled and parts of Disney World were closing because of the storm.
Disney and DVC have generous hurricane reimbursement policies. Of course you’ll want to keep in touch with Disney about your stay, but in my recent personal experience, DVC will refund points to your account if you cancel or modify a reservation due to the impact of a hurricane.
This policy also applies to properties at Hilton Head and Vero Beach, both of which were temporarily closed due to Dorian.
Additionally, be aware that if you decide to stay at Walt Disney World during a hurricane, there is some possibility that you will be relocated on property for your own safety. Guests staying in the Saratoga Springs treehouse villas or in the cabins and bungalows at Copper Creek or the Polynesian Village will likely be moved to rooms inside larger buildings for the projected duration of the storm. Similarly guests at Fort Wilderness will be relocated.
Here is DVC’s official hurricane policy:
“From June 1 to November 30, in the event a hurricane warning is issued by the National Hurricane Center for the Orlando area, Vero Beach area, Hilton Head Island, Oʻahu or for the Member’s place of residence within 7 days before the scheduled arrival date, the Member may call Member Services at (800) 800-9800† or (407) 566-3800† prior to Check-In to cancel or reschedule, based upon availability, their Disney Vacation Club Resort reservation without any cancellation or modification penalty. Just call Member Services at (800) 800-9800† or (407) 566-3800† as indicated above. If you were planning on staying at a Member Getaways destination and a hurricane warning is issued for that destination, please also contact Member Services. We cannot guarantee availability of similar accommodations for the new travel dates. The policy does not apply to certain special events and dining experiences (e.g., the Member Cruise). This policy pertains to hurricane warnings only. Other weather advisory levels are handled on a case-by-case basis and Members should contact Member Services.”
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.