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What Will Happen to DVC Prices?

25 Jul

My Jentasmic! column at StudiosCentral this week indulges in a little real estate speculation. I can’t claim to have any answers…but I do have a whole lot of questions!

Gas prices are high, airlines are cutting flights, and these days you can’t always check even a single suitcase at the airport without paying a fee. “Staycations” are apparently gaining in popularity, as evidenced not only by the coinage of the phrase, but also by local economic indicators. Everything points to vacation tourism going to hell in a handbasket… which doesn’t seem to bode well for timeshare values in Orlando. On the other hand, that certainly seems to be good news for prospective buyers, who might snap up some great bargains as cash-strapped owners sell, and as financial woes prevent others from buying in.

But what, if anything, will this mean for the value of Disney Vacation Club points? So far, the Orlando tourist economy seems to be holding up better than much of the nation, but some predict that won’t last. And of course, if the nation’s economy continues to falter, plenty of people may need to put their DVC points on the resale market, as airfares, gas prices, and job losses make vacations financially untenable (remember folks, those official unemployment statistics only count the people currently collecting benefits, which don’t include the long-term unemployed or the significantly under-employed).

Why Wouldn’t Disney Sell DVC in Hawaii?

10 Oct

Okay Lisa, this one’s for you . . . if you’re still looking for ammo for your argument that Disney Vacation Club is a cult, you need to check out DIS News on why DVC can’t be sold in Hawaii (yet), reposted from the Star-Bulletin (Honolulu, I believe):

Disney, which paid $144 million for a 21-acre tract of oceanfront property for the project, said that it chose Hawaii as its first stand-alone hotel destination because Disney Vacation Club members showed strong demand for the islands.

But Disney will need to register with the state to sell memberships in that project, which is expected to break ground next year and is slated for a 2011 opening.

Hawaii, a top time-share destination along with California and Florida, enacted stringent restrictions on product marketing in the early 1980s that required companies to register and pay fees before doing business in the state. Inexplicably, Disney never did so.

Lori Beth Van Cantfort, the time-share administrator for the state of Hawaii’s Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, said yesterday that although Disney has been registered in Hawaii since 1993 and can advertise its time-share plan here, it does not have a Hawaii escrow agreement on file with the department and therefore cannot conduct any sales activity in the state.

Apparently, in the current state of things, a Hawaii resident who wants to buy DVC will have to fly to the contiguous 48 US states to even get detailed information from Disney, let alone sign any paperwork. (Or perhaps they can get around this if they buy DVC points through resale? I’ll bet somebody reading this blog will know.) One Hawaii resident comments:

“I didn’t know that I had the option to go speak to them while in California, or I might have tried,” she said. “Most of my inquiries were for the info DVD or through e-mail. It was never mentioned to stop in and speak to them while on a trip there.”

Wow. Perhaps there’s a black market in Hawaii for some of those DVC DVDs that so many of us have sitting around our homes. Who knew?

Disney Vacation Club Coming to Anaheim

18 Sep

The LA Times was one of many sources reporting today that Disney will expand the Grand Californian hotel at Disneyland, including 50 timeshare units available through Disney Vacation Club.

But what caught my eye? Well, MouseGuest Weekly listeners might remember that just last week Lisa was frustrated that nobody would ever give her a straight answer about how much it costs to buy into DVC. So, hey Lisa! Here’s a snippet from the LA Times article that helps to answer your question:

The cost of joining Disney Vacation Club starts with a minimum $16,700 one-time purchase price, plus annual maintenance fees of at least $600. Members then buy points and use them to determine where, when and for how long they stay. The average purchase price is $26,000, which buys a two-bedroom unit for one week each year.

Car-free and Staying Sane at Saratoga Springs Resort

6 Sep

Saratoga Springs Bus StopAs many had predicted, I was not happy about being car-free at Saratoga Springs Resort. If I stay there again someday, I’ll probably rent a car. But sometimes that’s not an option. Maybe your budget won’t support it, maybe your desire to reduce carbon footprint is strong, maybe you have physical constraints that preclude driving. Or hey, maybe you like to have a little adult beverage poolside in the afternoon, and know better than to get behind the wheel afterward.

If for any reason you end up at Saratoga Springs Resort without a car, here are my tips for a relatively sane experience:

  • Request a room in the Grandstand section, or walk to the Grandstand bus station, especially if you are traveling to the parks right around opening time. SSR has five bus stops, and Grandstand is the first to be picked up on the way to the parks, and the first to be dropped off on return. Sure, you’ll have to do a 10-minute tour of the entire SSR resort on your way to the parks, but you won’t sit at the bus stop watching the buses roll by, full to capacity and unable to take on any more passengers.
  • Consider taking a cab if you’re in a rush, or if you’re traveling anywhere other than to/from the theme parks. We lunched one day at the Kona Cafe in the Polynesian Resort, and instead of taking the monorail back to the Magic Kingdom to wait for a bus, we hopped in a cab. We were back at Saratoga Springs in 10 minutes; Disney transportation might have taken as long as an hour. It was well worth the $23 bucks (including tip).
  • Bring a book, iPod, or other portable personal entertainment device. I’d usually argue against these things, as I prefer to just soak up the Disney atmosphere. But there’s only so much atmosphere sitting around on a bench at the bus stop. Without a book, you may resort to more embarrassing pursuits, such as obsessively photographing your well-dressed Pal Mickey everywhere you sit around waiting. Ahem.
  • Do not take the bus to Downtown Disney – I heard plenty of complaints about it. There’s a boat from near Artists’ Palette that seems to run pretty well on schedule, and Pleasure Island sure looks pretty from the water. Or, walking to Downtown Disney is not too bad from the Congress Park area.
  • Keep your sense of humor. We all know what real problems look like, right? They tend to involve terms like “neurosurgeon,” “foreclosure,” “inoperable,” or “viral load.” Sure, it’s frustrating to be so close to Magic Kingdom EMH rope drop, and miss it because the buses aren’t running right. But hey, if you’re at Disney World and everybody’s safe and sound, how bad can things really be? If you get frustrated and lose your cool (like I did, at least once), try to shake it off . . . I’m sure Pal Mickey’s ready to offer a quick quiz, or maybe you’ll even make a new friend while waiting for the bus.

World’s Oldest Hidden Mickey

17 Jun

Mr Broke Hoedown may not be a Disney fan, but he knows a Hidden Mickey when he sees it. A thousand-year old Mickey Mouse was recently discovered in Sweden. One can only hope that no copyright wackiness will ensue.

Vintage Mickey fans may notice that while the mouth doesn’t look much like our beloved mouse, the shape and size of the eyes is certainly reminiscent of Plane Crazy.

Who writes this ad copy?

29 Aug

From the Disney Vacation Club brochure that arrived along with my Pop Century resernvation today:

You know how exciting a Disney vacation is — and we’re always excited to have you! As a Disney Guest, you can look forward to outstanding service, superb accommodations, and magical surprises at every turn. And we’ll let you in on a little secret — it doesn’t have to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Um, yeah . . . you’ve just clued me into the fact that you’re happy to have me as a Guest however often as I’m willing to unload a chunk of change . . . funny, it never occurred to me I could go to Disney more than once.

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