It didn’t take long for me to decide what article I would open the year 2013 with. After surviving another Christmas season, I decided what better way to begin the New Year in the middle of winter than talk about the most magical vacation spot in the tropics! And yes Disney fans, I’m talking about Disney’s Aulani resort and spa located on the Leeward Coast of Oahu, about 18 miles west of Honolulu. This resort is totally different that any Disney resort you might have been to. Disney turned to veteran Imagineer Joe Rhode to help design the new resort, because Joe was raised in Hawaii and has intimate knowledge of its culture, people, traditions and history. Unlike typical Disney resorts, you’ll find few references to the Disney Company, or even few signs sans the gift shops that advertised the Disney moniker. Even Mickey and Minnie and the rest of the characters keep a low profile. The idea was to showcase Hawaii’s culture, its people, the land and its history. And Joe Rhode and company have done an amazing job.
Recently DVCNEWS.com ran a debate on member treatment asking if DVC members ever felt like second-class citizens due to the fact that we miss out on many opportunities offered to cash guests on a regular basis, such as later check in, housekeeping, free meal plans, etc. Many argued that we don’t get enough perks considering the huge amount of up-front cash we give to join the club.
See the discussion here: Member Treatment
Welcome to part two of my series on planning your first trip to Disney World. Fellow neurotics, I need your help, please comment on your favorite place to stay and why!
Let’s start with the first options you have:
Some people stay off-property, others choose to stay in one of the Disney Resorts. Yes, the Disney resorts are a little higher priced but you gain the free bus or boat transportation to all the Disney Parks, resorts, and Downtown Disney. You also will receive room charge privileges (your room key becomes your charge card in the parks), Disney hospitality and service, and during certain parts of the year-free Disney Dining Plan (discussed later in this continuing series). Don’t forget bonus hours at the parks for visitors staying on Disney property; that is right– each day one park will stay open later or open early for Disney resort guests. By staying off property you will no doubt save money, although you will have to drive yourself to the parks and have to find and pay for parking, carry cash or credit cards, and take your chances with your service.
Photo courtesy of DisneyBeachResorts.com
Many of us enjoy our time in Walt Disney World’s parks. However, even the most die hard Disney fans often get tired after several days of walking the world-class theme parks! If you are interested in finding a way to enjoy a bit of Disney while also enjoying some relaxation, consider a few nights at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort.
This resort is located in Vero Beach, FL, which is a little over 100 miles or 2 hours away from Orlando, FL. The resort is located right on the Atlantic coast, thus offering beautiful, oceanfront first class accommodations.
Consider this Part Two of my earlier post about my GrownUps Only trip to WDW last October. My husband was in Orlando for work and after leaving my kids with the grandparents, I hightailed it down there. Telling the kids NOTHING except we would be in Orange County (at least we didn’t LIE to them, right?) Mwahhaha! Fun and frivolity ensued, including my “Keys to the Kingdom” tour (pure awesomeness-just look for my earlier post in the archives!) Anyhoo, we move from conference hotel to the FABULOUS Bay Lake Towers, where I had booked a studio. Here’s where it gets interesting: at check-in, the lovely Dorothy notices we are celebrating our anniversary and tells us to expect a text when our room is ready (since it was only 10AM). Having never received a text, we return at 3PM to get our room number. OK, arriving at Room 8430, our key doesn’t work. So we call them and wait. Then after 15 minutes, hubby heads back to the front desk. A bit frustrating when you are tired and just ready to kick back and relax. Then, you guessed it, a CM shows up to open the door. And voilá:
My obsession lately has been what’s next at Disney World– will we see more attractions announced at D23? What will Art of Animation look like when done? When can I eat at Gaston’s in the new Fantasy Land?
Also posted in Lifestyle, Vacation Tagged Animal Kingdom Villas, Aulani, Bay Lake Tower, Disney Family Man, Disney Vacation Club, Disney Vacation Club Member, Disney's Polynesian Resort, Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort, DVC rumor, Grand Floridian
As many of you know our family joined the Disney Vacation Club in May of 2009. Our home resort is the Animal Kingdom Villas (AKV) and we bought into the Jambo House phase of the project.
We chose AKV for several reasons when we made our purchase. First, the decor and ambiance felt so much more like “home” to us than the Bay Lake Tower at the Contemporary Resort
. The warmth seemed so much more inviting to a young family. We also loved the idea of being able to walk outside and be right in the middle of an African savanna and the African music and culture was great. Finally, we noticed that for the type of vacationing we wanted to do AKV offered us the fewest points per night out of the available resorts. So, when we finally made the plunge last May we bought into Jambo!
One of the first things I tell people when they ask me why I like to stay in my Disney Vacation Villa is the fact that it has a full kitchen (the 1, 2 and 3 bedroom villas). I get many different responses, but my favorite to answer is “Who Wants to Cook on Vacation?” The answer is: ME!
Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t cook much at home so I really don’t want to go on vacation to do more cooking, but with that being said, having the availability of a full kitchen is great. DVC allows us to pre-order groceries (yes, a little more expensive but SO convenient) to have them delivered to our room after we check-in. Do we have full meals delivered? Nope. Disney has a wealth of great restaurants, and we want to eat there. So what do we have delivered? Soda. Waffles and syrup. Bread. Peanut Butter. Cereal. Milk.
In April, 2006 I took my new bride to Disney World for our honeymoon. It was the first time she had ever been to the world, and I had not been in nearly 15 years. Instead of taking it easy we ran around like maniacs the entire time–we had to do as much as possible in our five day honeymoon because we never knew when we would get to come again! We got to go back in August, 2008 with our two boys and did the same thing–a marathon run through Disney World because we may never have the opportunity again. We exhausted ourselves on both vacations.
Photo Credit: Lea R., NDM #114
Quaint beach-home looking buildings. A beautiful white sand beach. Lush landscaping. A spectacular view of Crescent Lake. And oh, yes, who could forget? Stormalong Bay. Where am I? I’m at Disney’s Beach Club Resort. Where else am I? At Disney’s Beach Club Villas, another Disney Vacation Club property–and one of my favorites.
Photo Credit: Dennis Brown, NDU 5
The past few weeks the web has been set a buzz again with the rumors of a Grand Floridian DVC addition. The concept is apparently leaning towards the Animal Kingdom Villas model– convert existing space in order to sell inventory immediately while constructing a new building that will represent the bulk of the DVC inventory at the resort.
Also posted in Disney Company, Lifestyle, Rumors, Vacation Tagged Animal Kingdom Villas, Aulani, Bay Lake Tower, Disney Rumors, Disney Vacation Club, Disneyland, Grand Floridian, National Harbor, River Country, Walt Disney World
Photo Credit: Lea R., NDM 114
This October, I get to go “home”- back to Walt Disney World and to the Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. I can’t wait. This will be my 2nd stay at VWL and my 4th stay at Wilderness Lodge. Every time I go back, I squeal like a little girl when I walk in the door!
The Villas at Wilderness Lodge opened on November 15, 2000 and contains 136 rooms: studios and one and two-bedroom villas in a 5-story building set on 4 acres. The villas are just a short walk from the main lodge and are surrounded by tall pine trees. Right outside the villa building, there is a lovely quiet pool with bubbling springs that is for exclusive use by guests of the villas although villa guests can also make use of Wilderness Lodge’s main pool.
Photo Credit: Dennis Brown, NDU 5
Few words make me feel as good as these: Welcome Home. Many of you have heard those words in very different capacities–as have I, but my all-time favorite is when I go “home” to Walt Disney World. Nothing beats checking in to my Disney Vacation Club villa and being welcomed back. It makes me feel as if I am where I am supposed to be.
Photo Credit: Dennis Brown, NDU 5
So this October my family is going to experience one of the biggest ways to show your Disney addiction—my little sister will be having a Disney wedding. That’s right, folks, the tons (and tons) of Disney movies, toys, plushes, memorabilia, trips, etc. do not compare to the neurotic Disney-ness that comes with having a Disney wedding. Well, this great family event leads to my own craziness—my seven month booking window for DVC is approaching!
Also posted in Honeymoons, Lifestyle, Vacation, Weddings Tagged Animal Kingdom Villas, Bay Lake Tower, Beach Club Villas, Disney Cruise Line, Disney Dream, disney fairy tale weddings, Disney Honeymoons, Disney Vacation Club, Disney's Boardwalk Villas, Disney's Old Key West Resort, Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort, Walt Disney World, weddings
Photo Credit: Dennis Brown, NDU 5
I am often asked by many friends how to get the best deal on buying in to the Disney Vacation Club. Over the past year I have become a huge proponent of buying DVC points through the secondary (resale) market and in fact bought my first resale contract this past winter.
Also posted in Disney Company, Lifestyle, Planning, Vacation Tagged Adventures by Disney, Disney, Disney Cruise Line, Disney Vacation Club, disneyland paris, DVC Resale, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, planning, Tokyo Disneyland
Photo Credit: Dennis Brown, NDU 5
One of the most precious memories of my childhood was my first trip to Walt Disney World in the summer of 1990. As the son of Los Angeles natives, I grew up going to Disneyland, but, to me, that was nothing compared to being able to visit three parks and surround myself in the world of the Mouse for a whole week. I had to be the luckiest kid on earth and could not wait to go back.
D23, has extended their opportunity for Disney Vacation Club® Members to receive a 10 percent discount off the purchase of new Gold and Silver D23 Memberships! The best part? No new end date has been given for this promotion.
D23 gives fans a look at all things Disney, on everything from Disney Theme Parks to Disney film, television, and stage productions to the legendary Walt Disney Archives. Gold Members receive the quarterly Disney Twenty-Three magazine — plus a special gift with each magazine! For those members who aren’t close enough to take advantage of D23 special events, the magazine is the highlight of membership, and its stunning archival quality makes each issue a joy to behold. D23 also maintains a feature-filled website, offers the member the ability to attend a variety of special events, and, perhaps most importantly, the opportunity to meet new friends who share their affection for Disney.
Also posted in D23, Disney Company, Disney Reviews, Finance, Lifestyle, News, Shopping, Vacation Tagged D23, Discount, Disney Vacation Club, DVC
A very interesting rumor has been brought to my attention in the last week, and I have been trying to shed some light on the subject. The rumor began around spring of 2010 and has been floating its way around Disney forums since, popping up now and again on almost all of the major sites. This rumor? A new DVC is being planned. While this is pretty cool, the biggest part of this rumor is the possible location – the land that once was River Country.
Two weeks ago, you may recall that I mentioned that I rented points for our stay at Saratoga Springs from a DVC owner. The price for the point rental for the room was much less at $700 for the 5 nights versus the cost of over $1800 if we booked through Disney.com with an annual pass discount for the same room type, days, etc! Last week, I detailed the accommodations found in the Studio rooms at Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa. Today, I wanted to give you some insight into my family’s personal review of the DVC rental at Saratoga Springs.
Last week, you may recall that I discussed renting points for a stay at Disney’s Saratoga Springs. My family stayed for 5 nights in a Studio there at Saratoga Springs. This resort is one of Disney’s Vacation Club properties with 6 sections—The Springs, The Paddock, Congress Park, The Carousel, The Grandstand and the Treehouse Villas. The accommodations include those that meet the needs of one visitor in a studio to the needs of a family traveling with up to 12 guests. The grounds cover 65 acres and is located in the Downtown Disney area. In fact, Downtown Disney is an easy walk from the Congress Park section!