Disney Vacation Club is starting to look very different than when we first bought in four years ago. Prices have continued to increase on sold-out resorts as seen by the recent increase for Saratoga Springs, Old Key West, and Animal Kingdom. Brand new resorts like Rivera have been constructed or are under construction like the Disneyland Tower. Some DVC resort plans have slowly ceased to exist like the disappearance of Reflections from all DVC literature.
To me, the new initiative to build more DVC at existing resorts is interesting. This isn’t a new concept for DVC. We have seen it when they added the treehouses to Saratoga Springs as part of the existing condo association. We have also seen it with the start of a new condo association as they did with Copper Creek even though Boulder Ridge was already at Wilderness Lodge. Now, we have villas being added to the existing condo association at Grand Floridan. We also have the newly announced DVC tower coming to the Polynesian. I don’t think the Polynesian tower will be part of the existing condo association, but that’s another speculative article for another time.
What I want to speculate now is where will DVC go next. We have seen the popularity of adding more DVC villas to existing resorts. Grand Floridian gave direct sales guides some of their best sales records ever and the new Polynesian tower is sure to be a hit. My dear husband has already told me if we pay off our new Grand Californian purchase by the time the new Polynesian goes on sale, we can grab a small contract. I nearly fell out of my chair when he told me this and I can promise you will be taking those words to the bank.
But now I’m asking myself if I need to consider selling one of my kidneys or maybe one of our two Animal Kingdom contracts. Because if DVC keeps this up, there may be other exciting prospects to invoke a bad case of addonitis. Here are some of the possibilities. These are merely just speculation (or maybe dreams), some stemming from rumors. But you have to admit, it could happen.
Yacht Club Villas
This idea has been thrown around for a while now. The naysayers claim its status as a convention resort limits its ability to add DVC. I agree with that to an extent. But after having conversations with my dear friend and Dreams Unlimited Travel Agent extraordinaire, Elaine Edwards, I’m left with some hope. As a travel agent, she sees which resorts are popular and book up quickly and which ones don’t. Yacht Club suffers the same issues that the Grand Floridian hotel side did. It just doesn’t book as well as other resorts. This is why Grand Florida took in a lot of people who received upgrades from overbooked resorts last year and why it was such an easy decision for DVC to acquire one of the hotel buildings for more villas. On the hotel side, Yacht Club gets overshadowed by Beach Club.
There are Disney Vacation Club members who are ready to be first in line if Yacht Club Villas ever goes up for sale and I’m afraid I’m one of those people. I get it, Yacht Club is kind of small, but if DVC can take a wing of Wilderness Lodge and turn it into villas, I feel like they can take a portion of Yacht Club. I think I see a nice area over by the lake I would like.
Bay Lake Tower Part 2
This has been a long-standing rumor as well, but it makes sense. Bay Lake Tower is a very popular DVC Resort. You have access to the monorail, a walking path to Magic Kingdom, and amazing theme park and lake views. One look at a map of the Contemporary Resort shows that there is not much space for another Bay Lake Tower. However, we do have the Garden Wing of the hotel side. I think this would make a very good location, and here is why:
First, the Garden Wing doesn’t really fit in well with the rest of the resort. It’s short unlike the A-Frame and Bay Lake Tower and spread out. If they removed it and instead built another DVC tower, they could probably make up for the missing hotel rooms with villas cash inventory. They would gain a lot more rooms through a larger 15-story tower. A new tower would offer great views of Bay Lake and Seven Seas Lagoon and maybe a little bit of theme park views, but it looks like the A-Frame may block some of those views.
This seemed more true when these rooms didn’t get refurbished with the rest of the hotel. But, they were, in fact, recently refurbished. So my dream of Bay Lake Part 2 is a little less likely than I originally thought unless they find some better space.
I saw someone ask about DVC adding more onto BoardWalk. This is one I don’t feel as strongly about. BoardWalk is one of my favorites, but it already has a really nice-sized villas section. I don’t see DVC taking over the hotel side anytime soon, especially with the newly announced hotel refurbishment. While Disney isn’t opposed to the concept of “fill in any and all available space”, there isn’t a whole lot left here. I can see some area to the side of the former ESPN club across from Seabreeze Point. I just can’t see them taking that space especially since it’s no longer on the actual boardwalk itself. This is one I’m unsure of.
This is one of my favorite ideas and it gets a lot of flack. As many members disagree with the idea of adding DVC to a moderate resort. However, Riviera, while is its own resort, does sit on land previously occupied by Caribbean Beach Resort so that they can share some amenities like the Skyliner (I know they each have a station, but both are walkable from both resorts). They even removed some of the buildings at Caribbean Beach Resort to make room for Riviera.
If there is one thing Coronado Springs has going for it, it’s land. All around it is open space. Plus, it’s an amazing resort. Gran Destino feels very deluxe in the theming, lobby, and accommodations. They even have club level. There are great restaurants as well. I know it’s a convention resort, but the Cabanas section largely doesn’t get full. Casitas, Ranchos, and Grand Destino hold a large number of rooms. In my fantasy, I imagine a DVC tower somewhere near Grand Destino, possibly where some of Cabanas sits or in some of the open space back by the main pool and the addition of a Skyliner. I did say the word fantasy, but you never know. This is one of our favorite resorts even though it’s a moderate, an “honorary home resort” as we call it. I would love to make it a real home resort.
Speaking of open spaces, I see available land at Port Orleans for the DVC New Orleans-themed villas. Okay, I’m really dreaming here. I am not one to get hung up on DVC needing to be located at deluxe resorts. If the resort is beautiful and has great amenities, it can be worthy of DVC in my eyes. There is a decent amount of space above the French Quarter. Also, it’s right next to Saratoga Springs which means it could be walkable to Disney Springs. It’s a long walk, but I am not one to shy away from trekking from the Old Key West to Disney Springs. This is a well-loved resort and I do think there are some members who would be interested in buying here.
What Does the Future Hold?
My thoughts were merely speculative. But I definitely see the value of DVC adding on or adding new at existing resorts. There is already a lot of infrastructure in place at these resorts. In some cases, they only need to convert hotel rooms. For others, they need to build new structures, but most transportation and dining are already in place. I’m excited to see what the future holds for Disney Vacation Club and what resorts may be next for a revamp.
Where do you think the next DVC resorts will go? Which of the ideas I presented would appeal to you or not appeal to you? As always, stay tuned to DVC Fan for the latest news and discussion on all things Disney Vacation Club.
12 thoughts on “What Will DVC’s Next Move Be?”
I vote Coronado/Grand Destino with Skyliner expansion over to Disney Springs to connect to the Brightliner, whenever that is finished. Build a Skyliner hub at DS/SS and DVC can do another massive buyback of SS and then do a fire sale on repackaged points and drum up interest over there, also making Port Orleans/Riverside close to another Skyliner station to jack up rates on those moderate rooms, as well as Coronado moderate rooms that now will have great access.
For me, the Skyliner expansion is key. I am hoping they announce the next route coming D23 in September for the 100th.
I’m honestly surprised that Yacht Club hasn’t done it sooner. Interesting article 😊
I would also love to see a DVC addition to Fort Wilderness Campground. Exchanges are hard to come by with points, and the campgrounds fill up so quickly, adding more campsites would be wonderful.
Problem is that if they add on to existing resorts it will put more of a burden on the infrastructure at that resort. Harder to get a dining reservation, longer waits for a bus, no room at the pool. and so on. Until they add another park, I wouldn’t want them to add another resort. Already to many people for the availability in the parks. Again, another example of greed and not focuisng on guest experience!!
I agree with Charlie. Everything is now over crowded and they just keep building or adding on at resorts. It takes away the personality of the resort, the good feeling you have there. It just becomes a large hotel like any other hotel you go to. The parks are so overcrowded now and it would just get worse.
Amy, love your and Pauls articles!!! Vey much enjoyed your “speculation” on DVC expansion! Very fun reading… Here is some of my “speculation” regarding DVC expansion.
1) Convention travel is and has been dying for some time, even prior to covid, many corporations began relying on video conferencing and moving travel dollars to other departments. The conversion of existing convention space into “money makers” like DVC is IMO a given.
2) The conversion of existing Yacht Club space is at the top of the “not so well kept secret” of the DVC imagineers. By the way Polynesian expansion was also at the top of this this list.
3) I am not certain but have read speculation regarding soil sampling that the garden wing of the Contemporary is on much less stable land than where Bay Lake Tower was constructed, thus making construction of a tower cost prohibitive.
Keep up the great work!
This was great information. Number one is something I wondered about and you confirmed it. Number two is exciting. Number three I didn’t know and really makes sense.
Thank you Randy!
Some years ago, there was a rumor of DVC looking at tearing down the Contemporary convention area and putting DVC tower in that location. It would offer Theme park, lake, and standard views.
Belief was Disney looked at this option due to possible issues with the garden wing area foundation.
Great article! Thank you for both your and your husband’s contribution you make to the world of DVC.
Disney expanding DVC by tying into existing resorts serves multiple purposes. Construction is much cheaper as the cost of placing utilities in completely new locations is expensive and something I’d be surprised if you see DVC do again any time soon. It also minimizes labor because there is existing resort staff and bus routes don’t need to be added as guests just use the existing resort bus stop. Think about for each new bus stop, the number of buses that are actively on the road serving each resort/park. Each of those busses add labor costs. Finally, it turns the resort rooms into a supply and demand win/win for Disney, With less supply, rates get pushed up and there is the increase in per capita guest spending. Resort rates will continue to skyrocket if Disney continues with this DVC approach.
Unfortunately, building at existing resorts shows a complete lack of creativity. It seems that the well has run dry with resort architectural design and theme. We can all conclude that the proposed Polynesian building is nothing more than a rehashed Reflections design, which was lackluster to start with. Sadly the proposed Polynesian building will destroy something that Walt Disney and early Imagineers always focused on, an effective transition of theme between different themes. The new Polynesian building is not only going to destroy the aesthetic from the water of the individual resorts of the Grand Floridian and Polynesian, but the graceful transition along the walking path will be destroyed. Those of us who walk that path understand this transition. Look at how uncomplimentary the aesthetic is with Riviera touching Caribbean Beach. There’s two resorts that shouldn’t exists within eye-sight of each other.
I don’t see DVC building or converting at a moderate resort for one reason. People who buy DVC today don’t want to be limited to bus transportation. It would be a challenging sale if transportation didn’t include the monorail, Skyliner, boat or just the ability to walk into a park (or in the case of Saratoga to walk to Disney Springs). None of us want to be 100% dependent upon the bus system (or Ride Share for those of us who have pretty much dumped the busses).
Disney learned from major over construction mistake of 2007-2009 era. Opened AKV Kidani, BLT, SSR THV, and VGC all within a year. Added well over 10 million points for sale at a time they were starting foreclosures and had to close some hotels to try to survive.
Disney fired the person leading DVC back then. It was foolish to be trying to sell 4 brand new properties. It took several years to get through all those points.
Hotel room requires major discounts when the economy crashes. Once DVC points are sold, DVC owners tend to still vacation during difficult economic times. After all, they already spent tens of thousands to make future vacations less expensive. Consider DVC sales as insurance to keep WDW parks with tens of thousands of guests during every single day of the year. (Excluding a pandemic)
For BLT II, there is another option. Before the pandemic, there were already discussions about the Contemporary convention demand already declining. Rather than build in the remaining garden wing area (which may or may not be economically feasible due to the ground), the rumor was to tear down the convention building and add BLT II tower in on that land. Location would allow it to generate more revenue with the same 3 view categories as BLT (Theme Park, Lake, and Standard).
Using prime location land (CR convention building) for conventions does not make sense in today’s world. Far better to host conventions at Coranado and use the real estate for hotels/DVC.
Besides costing less to build on property with infrastructure, Disney knows hard economic times force them to offer heavier discounts on hotel rooms. DVC has been popular with Disney because it guarantees rooms will be fully booked most of the time. People don’t spend $30K plus annual dues to not stay at the resorts. For reference, look at post 9/11 (40% discounts) and great recession (buy 4 nights, get 3 free = 43% discount and they also offered 40% discount for other dates). They shut some hotels and upgraded guests who were booked at resorts to nicer resorts.
DVC may be wise to slow down a bit on the construction. They still have Aulani, Riviera, and now VGF to sell. Building new Disneyland tower and new Polynesian construction at a time when interest rates are rising. This is the same mistake they did in 2006/2007, when they approved building Kidani, BLT, converting THV to DVC, and building VGC. (All 4 of those opened in 2009, just when the great recession foreclosure process was starting). 2006/2007 decision cost was so badly timed, the head of DVC was hailed as a hero in 2006/2007, but fired a few years later for the disaster.
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