You didn’t read that wrong. It’s true, and it was a crazy roller coaster ride of events over the course of two to three weeks. Thanks to Bob Iger, my wife, Amy, and I own direct points to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas (AKV). Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s back up to the beginning.
Upon returning from our most recent Walt Disney World vacation a few years ago, it became apparent that we needed more Disney in our lives, and we needed it now. After looking at DVC for over a month, we pulled the trigger on a 160 point resale contract to AKV with plans to add 50 points direct to earn our coveted blue card.
Enter Gib McCain, one of Disney Vacation Club’s most well-known senior guides responsible for direct sales. It was a quick and straightforward conversation as we got started. We wanted 50 points, they had them available, and Gib got the paperwork started. A few hours later, he called with the bad news: West Virginia State Code Chapter 36, Article 9 – West Virginia Real Estate Time-Sharing Act.
Now, I have never researched the topic, but I find it insane that this section of state code exists in a state that can’t really have many timeshares (if any). Rather than bore you with a detailed legal description, I will get right to the point. This section of code mandates that all timeshare properties that are desired to be sold in the state of West Virginia be registered and pay a per unit (room) fee yearly. To make a long story short, since AKV is considered a sold-out resort, it was no longer registered, and we couldn’t buy it direct.
Amy and I went through a wide range of emotions at this point. We laughed, cried, got mad, and even considered moving because of this insane section of code at one point. While we easily could have spent more money and bought one of the active DVC properties being sold and registered with the state, that was not in our budget, and we wanted Animal Kingdom. Not thinking much of it, days later, I suggested to Amy that she write an email to Disney nicely explaining our frustrations.
The next day started as any typical day would: Coffee, Gym, Work, etc… except for the strange call mid-morning from Gib stating that both he and the legal department were working today to see what they could do regarding our points purchase. I didn’t think much of it until later that night when he called back.
Amy and I would be allowed to purchase the points through our business in a neighboring state, which would avoid the legal issues surrounding timeshare properties in West Virginia. Gib then said, “Your wife has a friend high up in the company who told us to make this happen.” My silence must have been noticeable because he then proceeded to explain that the email Amy had sent the day prior had made its way to Bob Iger’s desk, who informed them to find a way to help her out.
Several days later, the papers had been signed, and we were booking our first ever DVC trip. Amy sent a follow-up email thanking everyone for working some extra Disney Magic to make this contract happen, but we never received a reply. Even Gib emphasized in our conversations over the days following that he had never seen things come together in that manner in his many years as a DVC guide.
To me, the moral of the story is twofold: First, it never hurts to quickly write or type your thoughts and share them with someone, even if it is a multi-billion dollar corporation. Second, if you want to buy a sold-out DVC property in the state of West Virginia, you should probably just stick to resale.