Like all of us, my mind began racing with thoughts and confusion when Disney Vacation Club decided to raise the price at sold-out resorts for direct purchase. Here I was, fresh off of purchasing a 50 point add-on contract at Disney’s BoardWalk Villas. The contract cost more than Disney’s Riviera Resort and was likely already extremely overpriced, but Amy and I loved the resort, and that was all that mattered.
So are more people choosing to make their add-on purchase at older resorts like we did? Are more people choosing to bypass an add-on at Riviera due to concerns they have about the resort restrictions? These were questions I was determined to answer, and after spending some time searching, I think I have found the answer.
Before we get too far into this, I do want to state that by no means do I intend for this to turn into a post about why you shouldn’t buy at Disney’s Riviera Resort. From the artist renderings and other information we have received, I have absolutely no doubt that the resort will be beautiful, and I cannot wait to check it out first hand! So, with that being said, let’s dive in…
Riviera Resort is now the crowned jewel of Disney Vacation Club. In basically every piece of promotional material where you previously heard about Disney’s Copper Creek Villas and Cabins, you will now see Riviera in its place. This advertising will become more and more noticeable as the resort opens, especially on property at the hundreds, if not thousands of Disney Vacation Club booths and counters throughout Walt Disney World. I emphasize this to make one point loud and clear: regular sales of Disney’s Riviera Resort will do just fine. At the end of the day, the highly educated debates we have about this resort are things that new buyers walking up to a booth during their Disney vacation will never be aware of when purchasing. They will still likely be sucked in by the sales pitch, free Fastpass’s, gift cards, and the promise of enjoyable vacations for their family for many many years.
This fact brings me to my primary conclusion over the past few weeks, which is that the area in which Riviera is struggling is with add-on purchases from current DVC Members.
First, as I mentioned above, current owners are highly educated when it comes to Disney Vacation Club. Most are likely actively involved in some way on forums and other groups such as the DVC Forums on DISboards, or the DVC Fan Facebook Group, taking in as much information as they can about this significant investment they have made. To get an understanding of how these individuals feel, we can look at a poll started by DVC Show contributor Pete Scheidle over on DISboards earlier this year. This poll asks whether current owners plan to add-on points at Riviera. Of the 429 individuals who have voted thus far, 84.9% selected that they are not planning to purchase here due to reasons ranging from restrictions, point charts, and buying at either a different resort direct or via resale. Clearly, what is typically a highly motivated base of purchasers thanks to “add-on-itis” have their concerns with this new resort.
Second, add-on savings and discounts are continuing to be lucrative at Disney’s Riviera Resort. While the general discounts and incentives for Riviera are on par with what we saw in 2018 for Copper Creek, there continues to be a slightly higher incentive being offered to add-on purchasers as compared to new members. Members looking to add-on at Riviera can currently save anywhere from $500-$5,000 as part of Disney Vacation Clubs holiday promotion running now through December 16th, 2019.
Lastly, it is my opinion that the sold-out price increase that occurred recently was a direct shot at add-on purchasers choosing to forgo Riviera for a different Disney Vacation Club property. If we look at what our poll above has indicated, there is a large percentage of current owners looking to buy more points and choosing to do so at a resort besides Riviera. Although they get more money selling some of the sold-out resorts, it does not look good that current members are electing to purchase a contract at a resort with a fast-approaching expiration date, versus their new shiny property. To me, it’s kind of like the difference between buying an antique American muscle car versus something modern, sleek, and made of plastic parts. Similar to DVC, the muscle car gives you something you already know and love, and promises not to lose its value.
The data nerd in me really wishes there was a simple way of compiling this metric to determine if it is true. If some DVC executive reads this and would like to send me that data so that I can sleep better at night, I’d greatly appreciate it. Until then, I’ll scratch my head, wondering what the real plan is with these new changes, while looking forward to my upcoming first stay in what looks to be one of the most beautiful properties Disney has ever built.
I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below! Is Disney’s Riviera Resort missing the mark with add-on contracts? Have you decided to purchase direct or resale at a sold-out resort instead of adding on at Riviera?