Significant savings on accommodations, quality vacation experiences and ultimate flexibility attracts thousands to membership
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla.– In October 1991, Disney Vacation Club (DVC) revolutionized the vacation-ownership concept by drawing on Disney’s unrivaled brand of imagination and innovation. Today, more than 400,000 individual members from approximately 100 countries and all 50 states have learned “the best-kept Disney secret” and have secured decades of Disney-quality vacations at today’s prices through the magic of membership.
Inspired by guests who return to Walt Disney World resorts and theme parks year after year, DVC is one of the most successful and highly rated vacation-ownership programs on the continent. The DVC ownership program provides members with a wide variety of quality vacation experiences in the Disney tradition while offering the freedom to tailor every vacation to each guest’s interests and personal needs.
“Guests become members of Disney Vacation Club because of the magical memories and traditions that are so ingrained in the Disney experience,” said Disney Vacation Club President Jim Lewis. “Anyone can sell accommodations, but only Disney can offer the experiential environment, the entertainment and the imaginative programs that are part of our tradition. We call it ‘the best-kept Disney secret,’ but the secret’s getting out.”
How Disney Vacation Club Works
The methodology behind DVC’s not-so-secret vacation-ownership program is simple: with the purchase of a deeded real estate interest, guests automatically become a member of DVC. That membership then provides guests with the flexibility to personalize their vacation experiences as their family’s vacation interests change over time.
That signature flexibility is a hallmark of DVC’s “vacation point” system, which gives members an annual allotment of points that can be used in a variety of ways. Each year, members receive an annual allotment of vacation points that can be used in a variety of ways for different types of accommodations at a dazzling variety of resorts and for other vacation experiences, subject to availability. Guests can customize each and every vacation in a nearly limitless number of ways.
New members can join DVC with an initial purchase starting at approximately $17,920. Members can also elect to bank or borrow vacation points, use their vacation points in combination with renting accommodations on a cash basis or purchase an additional real estate interest at any time.
Where Disney Vacation Club Vacation Points Can Be Used
DVC members have the option of using their vacation points to stay in a variety of locales. Should they choose to vacation at a DVC resort, members can opt to stay at one of eight resorts, including: Disney’s Old Key West Resort, Disney’s BoardWalk Villas, The Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Disney’s Beach Club Villas, Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas, which are all located at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, or at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort (Vero Beach, Fla.) or Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort (Hilton Head Island, S.C). Members wanting to stay within the Disney family can also vacation at other select Walt Disney World properties, the Disneyland Resort hotels in Anaheim, Calif., and at Disneyland Resort hotels in Paris, Hong Kong and Tokyo.
Members looking to stay at a DVC resort can also anticipate a few new options scheduled to open in 2009. At Walt Disney World Resort, Kidani Village, part of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, recently opened its doors to members and guests. Upcoming resort offerings include Treehouse Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort (the fourth phase of Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa) and Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Plus, on the west coast, DVC is scheduled to open The Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, part of an expansion of the existing hotel. For those members looking for new offerings that are outside of a Disney theme park resort, plans are underway to open an expansive Disney family mixed-use resort in Hawaii, which is scheduled to include 350 traditional hotel rooms and 480 DVC vacation villas built on 21 acres of oceanfront property on the island of Oahu.
“What excites me most about this tremendous growth is that we’re not only creating new accommodations, but new experiences,” Lewis said. “Each of the projects we’ve undertaken at Disney Vacation Club is unlike anything previously available in our resort portfolio, and our newest vacation experiences proudly build on that tradition.”
With the opening of its first phase in May 2009, Kidani Village, located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, offers guests African-inspired details and home-like amenities. Many vacation villas also feature sweeping views of an expanded savannah inhabited by a variety of African animals.
The opening of Kidani Village includes new additions to the resort, such as Sanaa, a table-service restaurant celebrating African-inspired cuisine with an Indian touch; Samawati Springs Pool, a themed pool area; Uwanja Camp, a themed water-play area; Survival of the Fittest, a fitness center; Johari Treasures, a merchandise shop, and much more.
Jambo House, which includes 109 remodeled two-bedroom equivalent accommodations on the fifth and sixth floors of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, opened in July 2007 and is considered phase one of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas. The first rooms and amenities at Kidani Village, phase two of the resort, opened May 1, 2009, with the remaining rooms and amenities planned for a fall 2009 opening. Upon its completion, Kidani Village is planned to include 340 two-bedroom equivalent vacation villas, for a total of 449 two-bedroom equivalent accommodations at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas.
The 15-story Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, scheduled to join the Disney Vacation Club family of properties in August 2009, is designed to complement the fabled styling of the original building. Beyond mimicking the color palette and strong horizontal lines of its iconic predecessor, the tower’s crescent shape, hugging lush landscaping, planned recreation options and a lakeside pool promises to deliver some of the most dramatic views available anywhere at Walt Disney World Resort. Some villas face scenic, undeveloped stretches of Bay Lake, while others offer spectacular views of Magic Kingdom, located a short walk away.
As with many DVC resorts, most of the rooms in this iconic resort will feature innovative touches, such as modern artwork designed specifically for Bay Lake Tower, flat-screen TVs, full kitchens complete with granite countertops and modern appliances, separate bedrooms, washers and dryers, and other home-like amenities. Plus, to accommodate larger families or families traveling together, many Bay Lake Tower vacation villas are designed to sleep up to nine, though some units can also be divided into one-bedroom villas that sleep five and studios that accommodate four, creating flexible options for smaller groups.
The Treehouse Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, scheduled to open on June 1, 2009, will become the next room category offered at that resort. Nestled in natural forest glens just around the riverbend from the bustling Downtown Disney area, Treehouse Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa will revive Walt Disney World “treehouse living,” a cherished tradition from 1975-2002. While crews are replacing villas of the ‘70s with brand-new vacation homes, Imagineers took special care to honor the original octagonal design. The construction process itself is unique as each stand-alone treehouse villa will come together like a giant 3-D puzzle to ensure both superior quality and environmental sensitivity.
Plus, all 60 three-bedroom homes, elevated 10 feet off the ground on pedestals and beams designed to blend into the forest environment, will sleep nine and are planned to offer modern luxuries such as partial cathedral ceilings, a barbecue grill and flat-panel TVs, all presented in a style dubbed “cabin casual.”
“Bay Lake Tower is something our members have been requesting for a long time. With a sweeping view of Bay Lake on one side and Magic Kingdom on the other, the location couldn’t be any better,” Lewis said. “Treehouse Villas offers a completely different experience. Staying in one of the villas will be like having your very own stand-alone home in a peaceful, natural setting right on Disney property.”
Scheduled to open in late 2009, The Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa will add 50 two-bedroom equivalent vacation villas to the 2.5-acre expansion of Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and mark DVC’s first venture into California and Disneyland Resort. Most vacation villas will include kitchens, living and dining areas and other home-like amenities while reflecting the same California Arts & Crafts architecture of the existing hotel, which immerses guests in a turn-of-the-20th-century California experience.
Additionally, for those looking to travel to destinations outside of the Disney realm, members can select from a collection of world-renowned hotels, sample an adventure travel experience such as an African safari or take an Adventures by Disney vacation to one of many exotic itineraries including China, Australia or Central America. Members can also set sail on one of the Disney Cruise Line ships or stay at one of hundreds of resorts worldwide through DVC’s vacation ownership exchange program.
The Secret’s Getting Out
Word of Disney’s “best-kept secret” is spreading through members and non-members alike, spurred by the program’s flexibility, affordability and unique ability to create unforgettable vacation experiences.
“One thing we hear consistently from our members is ‘I wish I’d bought into the Club sooner’,” said Disney Vacation Club Director of Marketing Sybil Woolfork. “Plus, our members are not shy about sharing their DVC experiences with friends and family, which is why one of DVC’s biggest drivers for new members is existing members’ recommendations. These endorsements are the best kind of promotion and advertising for our program.”
Since vacation ownership programs were first introduced to the United States in the early 1960s, the industry has grown to a $10 billion business. A study conducted by the American Resort Development Association (ARDA), the professional association of the recreational real estate, resort and vacation ownership industry, attributes this growth to a variety of factors, including higher standards of accommodations, quality and service, flexibility and the industry’s improved overall image. Although DVC, like many vacation ownership programs, is grounded in real estate, it has brought many innovative elements to its vacation ownership product, including its signature element: flexibility.
Additional advantages to membership in DVC include special benefits such as discounts on Disney theme park admission, dining, merchandise and recreation, as well as other unique offers and exclusive member events. DVC also features a dedicated in-house member services team of professional travel planners that is only a phone call away. These vacation advisors help members plan their vacations and answer questions about DVC membership.
“Our goal is to keep growing and expanding to meet our members’ vacation needs and to ensure that member families constantly experience a great vacation no matter how they use their points,” Lewis said. “Whether it’s a stay in one of our Disney Vacation Club resorts, an African safari or a Caribbean cruise, we want our members to feel that every vacation is even better than the last.”
Disney Vacation Club is owned by Disney Vacation Development Inc., part of the magic of The Walt Disney Company.
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