During our most recent trip to Walt Disney World, Amy and I finally had the opportunity to visit the Disney Vacation Club Preview Center at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa. To many, including our guide, it all probably looked a little strange. Here were two current DVC owners walking into the preview center to purchase another contract (thanks add-on-itis) who called after the fact to see if they could still do a tour. Looking back on it now, I can see where it was a bit odd, but we still had fun!
Our journey began earlier that same day when we peeked our heads into the preview center at Disney’s BoardWalk Villas. Touring a 1-bedroom accommodation, we quickly confirmed what we already knew: we were adding more points! Although we attempted to begin this process with the cast member showing the room, we were surprisingly given a lecture on the many reasons NOT to buy points at the BoardWalk. Perhaps we didn’t make it clear enough that we were current owners looking to purchase a small add-on contract. Nonetheless, we thanked her for her time and went back to our room to call our DVC Guide – Gib McCain.
One hour later, we were loaded into a van and on our way to the official preview center for a small tour and to sign paperwork. I tried to take in the experience as if I were a guest experiencing Disney Vacation Club for the first time. With that attitude in mind, the van ride already began to set the tone towards why you needed DVC in your life. Our driver talked about how he has been a member since the beginning, owning a large contract at Disney’s Old Key West Resort. Conversation then turned to the newer resorts and although he would not admit to it, I swear the van slowed down a little as we cruised by the site of Disney’s Riviera Resort which is scheduled to open December 2019.
Upon our arrival, we were each given a nametag and invited to enjoy the amenities being offered until they were ready for us. The nametag is a small subtlety that should not be overlooked. Each cast member we encountered while at the preview center made the experience feel more personal by addressing us using our first name. Although a small detail, it made it seem as if you knew them for years and that you truly were ‘home’.
The front lobby is what I quickly dubbed as the “Ode to Riviera”. A large beautiful picture of the resorts concept art hits you in the face as you walk through the door. To someone not already familiar with the resort, this is likely breathtaking. Also on display is a preview of some Riviera merchandise that can be purchased at the nearby Saratoga Springs gift shop as well as armchairs and other furniture styled to the European theming of the resort.
The waiting area also featured a wide variety of snacks and refreshments for guests to enjoy. These include a selection of pastries, fruit, coffee, and everyone’s favorite, POG juice!
Once we finished signing paperwork for our new contract, we were escorted to the DVC model villas located in a building adjacent to the preview center. The foyer of this building features a full model of Disney’s Riviera Resort, as well as various pictures of other Disney Vacation Club properties. Since we were not on an official tour, we were encouraged to spend as much time as we would like exploring the various rooms available for preview. Although we focused our personal attention to Disney’s Riviera Resort, model rooms for Aulani and Copper Creek were also on display. We were blown away by the beauty and elegance of the Riviera model rooms and can’t wait to stay there someday.
Here is a great overview video of the Riviera models on display:
Ending our time at the preview center, we were brought back to the main building and taken to a room I honestly never knew existed. Despite all my reading and writing about Disney Vacation Club, I somehow missed the fact that the cherry on top of your preview center experience was FREE ICE CREAM! At that moment, as I sat enjoying my ice cream, I’m fairly certain they could’ve talked me into another add-on contract (…don’t tell Amy). Once finished, we were asked where we would like to go and whisked away in a van just as another pulled in to begin their DVC adventure.
Regardless of when and where you purchased your Disney Vacation Club contract, I would highly recommend that all members pay a visit to the preview center at least once. Be warned, however, that you may end up leaving with some additional points and free ice cream!
Have you visited the DVC Preview Center? Would love to hear about your experience in the comments below!