Tag Archive: Walt Disney World

  1. Reasons Why DVC Can Be a Better Fit When Planning Your Vacation

    There’s much to consider when planning the perfect Disney vacation, with convenience and cost usually being the most vital determining factors. Disney Vacation Club offers 11 properties in the Orlando area at Disney World. These properties are within driving distance of some of Orlando’s most fantastic attractions, including the Disney parks, Disney Springs, Universal, and more. Below, we’ve included five reasons why DVC is superior to other Orlando accommodations. 

    DVC will save you money if you’re a frequent Disney goer.

    As mentioned, Disney Vacation Club requires an upfront payment, which allows you to purchase your vacation at the current price, avoiding inflation. Keep in mind with DVC ownership comes annual membership dues. We like to think of DVC as a pre-paid vacation plan. You pay your upfront purchase price, and then you have annual membership dues that are a fraction of what your hotel accommodations would cost if you were paying cash. 

    Disney Vacation Club resale comes with some perks.

    Disney Vacation Club resale owners are offered accommodations at “Deluxe” level resorts, free parking at the hotels (cash guests have to pay daily parking fees), access to Early Entry or Extended Park Hours (exclusive to Disney hotel guests), and complimentary resort transportation.

    DVC properties are perfect for larger party accommodations and provide many home-like amenities.

    Every DVC property offers a variety of options for larger parties, including larger villas and multi-bedroom suites. Great for bigger groups of people who are vacationing together and would like proximity to their travel companions. With these villas offering kitchens/kitchenettes, laundry facilities, and large living rooms, longer stays become more comfortable, convenient, and cost-effective. 

    The spacious living area and kitchen in the 2-bedroom villa at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa. Perfect for hosting and enjoying time with the family.

    Disney Vacation Club properties provide flexibility, priority booking, and excellent member services. 

    Since Disney has DVC properties in Orlando, Vero Beach, Hilton Head, Hawaii, and California, your family’s vacation options are limitless. Booking your vacation through DVC’s reservation system allows you to book your trip before non-members. This is handy during peak season when rooms like Mickey hotcakes fly off the shelves. Planning a vacation requires much attention to detail, and DVC member services can provide just that. They can assist in planning your trip, making reservations, and more. This service ensures you get the most out of your Disney Vacation!

    DVC Community

    Disney Vacation Club ownership encourages the close-knit community of Disney enthusiasts to mix and mingle, enhancing your Disney experience! There’s a plethora of online communities and forums you can join to discuss your experience and more! 

    Breathtaking views at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.

    Knowing Disney Vacation Club requires substantial upfront costs, it may not be the best option for everyone, but with that being said, the prospect of rentals can be just as good as any. Rentals allow you to ‘try before you buy’ and can offer some of the advantages being an owner brings, minus a few. You can access our current inventory for confirmed DVC reservations here. If one of these rentals work for you, or you’d like to request a different reservation, please fill out the attached form, and one of our team members will contact you.

  2. How Much Does DVC Cost? Updated Prices for 2023

    Looking to join the Disney Vacation Club but wondering how much it cost? Look no further! If you’re looking at buying points with DVC its good to know what the options are and how much per point you’ll be spending if you choose to purchase direct from Disney, the developer. Purchase prices vary by resort, starting at $150 per point up to $310 per point.  There are also different minimum point requirements based on resort and if you’re an existing member or new member.

    DISNEY DIRECT PRICES FOR 2023

    It is important to note that these rates and terms below apply only to points purchased direct from Disney Vacation Club, not to points purchased on the resale market. Minimum purchases are subject to change and can be confirmed with a DVC sales rep. As of 2021, 150 direct purchase points are required in order to be eligible for Membership Magic perks and benefits.

    Resort  New Members Current Member Add-On
    Aulani, Disney Vacation Club Villas $217 per point;
    150-point minimum
    $217 per point;
    25-point minimum
    Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort $275 per point;
    150-point minimum
    $275 per point;
    25-point minimum
    Boulder Ridge Villas (VWL) $215 per point;
    150-point minimum
    $215 per point;
    25-point minimum
    Copper Creek Villas & Cabins $250 per point;
    150-point minimum
    $250 per point;
    50-point minimum
    Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas $210 per point;
    150-point minimum
    $210 per point;
    25-point minimum
    Disney’s Beach Club Villas $275 per point;
    150-point minimum
    $275 per point;
    25-point minimum
    Disney’s BoardWalk Villas $240 per point;
    150-point minimum
    $240 per point;
    25-point minimum
    Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort $165 per point;
    150-point minimum
    $205 per point;
    25-point minimum
    Disney’s Old Key West Resort $205 per point;
    150-point minimum
    $205 per point;
    25-point minimum
    Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows $250 per point;
    150-point minimum
    $250 per point;
    25-point minimum
    Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa $205 per point;
    150-point minimum
    $205 per point;
    25-point minimum
    Disney’s Riviera Resort $217 per point;
    150-point minimum
    $217 per point;
    50-point minimum
    Disney’s Vero Beach Resort $150 per point;
    150-point minimum
    $150 per point;
    25-point minimum
    Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel $310 per point;
    150-point minimum
    $310 per point;
    25-point minimum
    Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa $217 per point;
    150-point minimum
    $217 per point;
    25-point minimum

    Information is deemed accurate but not guaranteed. Source: DVCNews.com – updated 12/5/22

    DIRECT PRICE V. RESALE PRICE

    If Disney’s direct prices are out of your budget, then you’ve come to the right place. We can help you become a DVC member for a fraction of the cost. Savings range from 21% up to 50%! 

    Disney sets the rate for direct sales, whereas prices on the resale market can be negotiated with the seller and are usually substantially lower. You can purchase any of the DVC resorts by resale at a much lower rate. Take a look at the chart below to see just how much you can save.

    Resort  Direct Price  Avg. Resale Price
    Resale Savings
    Aulani, Disney Vacation Club Villas $217 per point $109 per point 50%
    Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort $275 per point $160 per point 42%
    Boulder Ridge Villas $215 per point $116 per point 46%
    Copper Creek Villas & Cabins $250 per point $154 per point 38%
    Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas $210 per point $127 per point 40%
    Disney’s Beach Club Villas $275 per point $158 per point 43%
    Disney’s BoardWalk Villas $240 per point $142 per point 41%
    Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort $165 per point $85 per point 48%
    Disney’s Old Key West Resort $205 per point $113 per point 45%
    Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows $250 per point $158 per point 37%
    Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa $205 per point $118 per point 42%
    Disney’s Riviera Resort $217 per point $139 per point 36%
    Disney’s Vero Beach Resort $150 per point $76 per point 49%
    Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel $310 per point $244 per point 21%
    Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa $217 per point $161 per point 26%

    Click here for previous price comparisons

    WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

    While there are some restrictions when buying resale, the drastic savings usually outweigh these. Another factor to consider are the minimum point requirements for new members. As seen in the first chart above, Disney usually requires new owners who purchase direct to make a purchase of at least 100 points, however, to gain the “blue card” member benefits you must purchase a minimum of 150 points.  If you are a first time buyer wanting less than 100 points, the best option, and sometimes the only option, is to buy resale.

    Eleven of the 15 DVC resorts are “sold out,” meaning all the allocated points for that resort have been sold and you cannot readily purchase points for those resorts direct from Disney. Aulani, Copper Creek, Riviera and Grand Floridian are the only resorts that are not completely sold out and are readily available to purchase direct from Disney.  Disney can acquire inventory for sold out resorts through owner foreclosures and Right of First Refusals but they are sold first-come first-serve according to buyers on a waitlist. You may be waiting a while to get exactly what you want.   So if you have your heart set on another resort, you may wish to purchase resale where there are more options steadily available and at a lower upfront cost.

    We’d love to walk you through the process and help you find the perfect contract to fit your needs.

    Contact Us

    We look forward to assisting you with a Disney Vacation Club resale. Please fill out the form below and we'll be in touch with you very shortly.

    "*" indicates required fields

    Name*
    How can we assist?*
    This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

  3. Merchandise for EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival 2022

    Here’s a look at some of the 2022 International Flower and Garden Festival merchandise found at Port of Entry in EPCOT. Lots of fun fashion and cute merchandise. Theming includes, but is not limited to: “Grow Happiness”, “Grow Green”, Spike the Bee, and of course the adorable Original Florida Orange Bird.

    “Grow Happiness” large mug/utensil holder and Mickey water bottle. Both $29.99


    “Grow Happiness” mug $19.99

    Tervis Tumbler 24 ounce $26.99

    Back of the “Grow Green” Spirit Jersey

    “A Little Dirt Never Hurt” apron and  gardening gloves

    “Grow Green” Hat $39.99

    Everyone’s favorite little Orange Bird.

    Orange Bird shoulder sitter $19.99

    Orange Bird Dooney and Bourke

    Orange Bird Mug – $19.99

    “Think Orange” Hat – $27.99

    Orange Bird Salt and Pepper Shakers – $9.99

    Orange Bird “Squeeze Me, I’m Full Of Florida Sunshine” cup – $29.99

    Spike’s Collection: shirt, mug, bowl, salt and pepper shakers, rain jacket and “Bee Kind” tote.

    Spike large Flower and Garden Festival mug with spoon – $22.99

     Passholder 2022 Flower and Garden Festival zipped hoodie featuring our favorite, iconic, purple dragon, Figment. – $44.99

  4. Eating EPCOT: International Festival of the Arts

    Everyone loves a good EPCOT festival. What’s a good festival without the food? We stopped at three quick service locations during a short visit to the EPCOT International Festival of the Arts. PopEats! was by far our favorite. Here’s a review of our tastings.

    Pop Eats!

    Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese: A simple grilled cheese sandwich made with buttery Texas toast with a side of creamy, cheese-topped tomato soup. Yum! $5.25

    Tomato Soup with Bacon, Apple, and Brie Grilled Cheese: The soup was creamy and topped with cheese. The grilled cheese brie, bacon, and apple was a surprisingly delicious combination. $6.25

    Pop’t Art: A “modern-designed sugar cookie with chocolate-hazelnut filling”.  This is your basic iced sugar cookie with a tasty chocolate-hazelnut filling. This cookie is similar to the Lunch Box Tart found at Woody’s Lunch Box in Hollywood Studios. $4.50

    Refreshment Port

    Gnocchi Poutine with Red Wine-braised Beef, Cheese Curds, Basil, and Burrata: The flavor of the beef was delicious. The burrata was a nice light cheese and also a nice addition. The gnocchi was an interesting substitute for the french fries found in the traditional poutine. $9.00

    Deco Delights

    Orange Mousse with Lemon Cake and Raspberry Meringues: The orange mousse and the cookie it sits on was good. The lemon cake was generic, but not bad. The raspberry meringues were hard and crunchy and while the raspberry flavor was distinct, the taste and texture was not something to be desired. $4.50

    Decadent Valrhona Chocolate with Dark Chocolate Mousse, Chocolate Brownie, and Cassis Mousse: It’s a little hard to tell what all is going on here. First off, I’ll start with the chocolate ice cream which came on the side and melted very quickly. The ice cream was of course yummy and the crunchy, cookie crumb-like pieces under it was a nice texture combination. The brownie was good, as was the chocolate mouse on top, yet it was very rich. Cassis mousse is made with blackcurrant, therefore giving it a purple tint. The purple is visible, but the taste was not quite there, unless the blackcurrant was in the smear on the bottom which I was unable to taste due to the thin layer being dried to the plate. This was by far the best dish from Deco Delights. $5.00

     

    Dulce Chocolate Mousse with Chocolate Crémeux and Dark Chocolate Truffle: The chocolate crémeux  was rich and tasty as was the dark chocolate truffle. The dulce chocolate mousse was a big a disappointment. The flavor, or the lack there of, was not what I hoped for. The cookie the cake and mousse sat upon was good. The ornamental chocolate side piece tasted like it was covered in paper. $5.25

  5. Sweet Treats for Disney’s Most Magical Anniversary Celebration

    Aside from the new golden statues and the fancy light displays on each theme parks’ featured attraction, my excitement lies mostly with the new dessert items offered through Walt Disney World during this “Magical Celebration.” Here are my reviews of the sweet treats I’ve sampled so far for Disney’s 50th Anniversary. Some are a hit, some are a miss.

    Glimmer and Shimmer Blondie

    The Glimmer and Shimmer Blondie featuring toffee, toasted coconut and salted caramel buttercream topped with a 50th chocolate medallion and festive gold nuggets can be found at Backlot Express and Fairfax Fare at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Soooo good! This treat also keeps well in the refrigerator for a couple of days if you’ve reached your sugar max. The buttercream frosting has a light, buttery taste that is yummy enough to eat by itself or on top of the blondie.

    Rating: 4.5 out of 5

    Cost:$4.49

    Caramel Apple Tart

     

    This Caramel Apple Tart found at the ABC Commissary in Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a spiced caramel-cheesecake mousse apple served atop a cinnamon-apple tart accented with a chocolate 50th medallion.  This is basically apple pie with  cheesecake on top with a chocolate stem and it is delicious! It is also equally just as amazing as a refrigerated leftover the next day. Perhaps, even better! Bringing it home and eating it cold allowed me to savor each bite and flavor. Maybe because I am a pie lover or maybe not, this treat is a must!  I give this a delicious 5 out of 5 plus 2 extra  bonus points for yumminess for a total of 7 out of 5. Is that even a thing.  Am I allowed to lick the plate when no one is looking? 

    Cost $5.49 

    Chocolate Mousse

      

    The Chocolate Mousse also found at the ABC Commissary in Disney’s Hollywood Studios is raspberry-dark chocolate mousse topped with a gold Mickey and gold flakes, chocolate-almond cake, a layer of hazelnut crunch, and whipped chocolate-hazelnut cheesecake all accented with a chocolate 50th medallion.   Let me start by saying, raspberry and dark chocolate together are kind of my thing. This mouse does not disappoint! The hazelnut crunch adds a pleasant crunchy texture to the dessert which I found quite nice. I’m having to up the rating scale on this one to 10 so I can rate it a 10 out of 10. This is a beyond decadent masterpiece! I chose to enjoy most of this scrumptious treat by savoring the flavor of each layer. This also eats well refrigerated the next day. If you like chocolate and raspberry, the Chocolate Mousse is something you don’t want to pass on. I can’t wait to go back and get another.

    Cost $5.49

    Glimmer and Shimmer Pineapple Mousse

         

    The Glimmer and Shimmer Pineapple Mousse is found at The Trolley Car Café located in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This dessert is a Golden Pineapple Mousse on a Toasted Coconut Crisp with Caramel Cream and Matcha Sponge Cake garnished with a 50th Anniversary chocolate medallion. This is so good I’m not sure where to begin. The caramel cream is amazing in itself with a distinctive caramel flavor. The pineapple mousse it also full of flavor and completes the crispy coconut cookie well. The coconut crisp is probably my favor part of this treat. The sponge cake is ok, it neither makes nor breaks the overall dessert. I think this Pineapple Mousse may tie with the Caramel Apple Tart as my second favorite 50th sweet treat.

    Rating: 7 out of 5

    Cost: $5.49

    Birthday Blueberry Muffin

    Birthday Blueberry Muffin found at various locations in Animal Kingdom Theme Park. This particular one was found at a food cart in Pandora but it is advertised at Isle of Java and Tamu Tamu Refreshments. Described as a “house-made blueberry muffin with a surprise addition of colorful sprinkles to celebrate 50 years of Magic.” Although this may not be the most attractive celebration snack, it makes up for its lack of luster with flavor. For a blueberry muffin it’s good. I rate it a 4.5 out of 5 on the muffin scale. Can I get another please?

    Cost: $4.25

    KiteTails Sundae

     

    KiteTails Sundae found at the Anandapur Ice Cream Truck in Asia at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park is a  “strawberry and lemon-flavored soft-serve swirled together and topped with a white chocolate medallion.” This cool, tasty treat tastes a lot like rainbow sherbet. I give it a 3.5 out of 5 on the rating scale.

    Cost $5.49

    Fifi, Gigi, Mimi

       

    Fifi, Gigi, Mimi found at Aloha Isle in Magic Kingdom‘s Adventureland. Pineapple, orange, and vanilla Bundt cake stack and filled with DOLE Whip Pineapple. What can I say? The DOLE Whip was good…save your money! Publix makes a better cake and for a surprisingly lesser price. This one is “for the birds”.

    Rating: 1 out of 5

    Cost $11.99

    Lemon Chiffon

       

    The Lemon Chiffon found at EPCOT’s Sunshine Seasons is a lemon chiffon cake with blueberry mousse. The menu is very to the point on the description of this dessert. This cake is moist and tasty. Inside, you will find a surprising blueberry filling. The display is beautifully done but beware, the blue icing will stain your teeth, lips, and hands.

    This chiffon gets a 4.75 out of 5 due to the stain factor.

    Cost $5.49

     

    Mini Chocolate Bundt Cake

         

    Mini Chocolate Bundt Cake is also found at Sunshine Seasons in EPCOT. This is a mini chocolate bundt cake with chocolate ganache, sprinkles, and icing dusted with EARidescent Shimmer and a chocolate 50th anniversary garnish. This chocolate cake is amazing! Cake, yum! Ganache, yum!  Be warned though, it does not fare well as a “to go” item. It melts!

    Rating: 5 out of 5

    Cost $5.49

    Polynesian 50th Celebration Cupcake

    50th Celebration Cupcake found at Captain Cook’s inside Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.  DOLE Whip Pineapple center, tropical fruit salsa, and pineapple macaron. This cupcake sits in a cute 50th celebratory holder. Pretty much another generic cake with fancy stuff on top. The tropical fruit salsa is placed atop what may be a sugared hibiscus flower. I guess I should have read the ingredients better to find out. The cupcake is best eaten all together and not layer by layer as the layers are meant to compliment each other. The macaron is the tastiest part of this dessert although it fell apart as soon as I touched it so I wasn’t able to really savor the flavor. Rating 2 out of 5, but I’ll add an extra .5 for creativity giving it a 2.5 total.

    Cost: $5.99

         

    Here are two other treats found at the Polynesian Village Resort, that we did not try. These were at the Kona Island.

    The first is a Lemon Tart: lemon curd in a Sablé tart shell with toasted meringue and fresh berries. Cost: $5.00

    The second photo shows the Chocolate Dome: white and dark chocolate mousse dome with graham cracker crust and blue Mickey spirals. Cost $5.99

     

     

     

  6. 4TH QUARTER – DVC RESALE AND ROFR REPORT

    This article contains our Fourth Quarter DVC resale report which includes Right of First Refusal (ROFR) and average sale prices from offers that were accepted and sent to ROFR during the months of October, November, and December 2021.

    Average sale prices continued in an upward trend for most resorts as Disney continues to exercise their Right of First Refusal at higher rates. We did see a slight shift in focus this quarter, with less Saratoga Springs contracts exercised and more contacts at the older, “classic,” resorts being exercised. This typically indicates that an increase in Direct-Developer prices for the older resorts is coming in the new year. 

    Garden Views Realty (ResalesDVC) sold just over 18,000 DVC points this quarter with 37% of those being exercised by Disney’s Right of First Refusal. This is one of the highest ROFR rates we’ve seen in decades. As we settle into 2022, ROFR rates should come down a bit and stabilize at a more regular rate. 

    What is Disney’s Right of First Refusal?
    The purpose of Disney’s Right of First Refusal (ROFR) is to control the value of their property. When there is an accepted offer and a signed contract, DVC will do an analysis of the terms of the contract and decide if they wish to “step in” as the buyer. The criteria DVC uses for ROFR is not public information but one important factor for exercising ROFR would be if they feel the selling price, including who pays closing costs and maintenance and taxes, is below the target price they have established.

    October-December 2021
    When viewing the data below, keep in mind that individual sale prices can easily vary based on the size of the contract (in points) and the current point availability of the contract – “loaded” (having current points + banked points) or “stripped” (having no current points). Smaller point contracts tend to sell for around $10-$15 per point higher due to high demand and lower inventory. Prices below do not include closing costs or annual dues – two separate features to the sale terms.

    RESORT Avg. Sale Price
    Jul-Sep
    2021
    Avg. Sale Price
    Oct-Dec 2021
    DVC ROFR EXERCISED
    Oct-Dec 2021
    Animal Kingdom $127 $131 160 points @ $134
    300 points @ $110
    Aulani $128 $127
    Bay Lake Tower $161 $159 160 points @ $141
    170 points @ $145
    Beach Club Villas $163 $164 100 points @ $150
    160 points @ $164
    200 points @ $160
    500 points @ $146
    Boardwalk Villas $141 $147 400 points @ $146
    Grand Californian $260 $295
    Grand Floridian $175 $182
    Hilton Head $85 $88
    Old Key West (2042) $124 $120 150 points @ $102
    150 points @ $110
    190 points @ $110
    210 points @ $115
    230 points @ $115
    250 points @ $105
    265 points @ $108
    330 points @ $125
    Old Key West (2057) $139 $140
    Polynesian $170 $170
    Riviera $156 $148 200 points @ $141
    Saratoga Springs $124 $130 120 points @ $125
    200 points @ $115
    200 points @ $125
    200 points @ $128
    210 points @ $119
    230 points @ $120
    300 points @ $128
    Vero Beach $76 $81
    Wilderness Lodge: Boulder Ridge $104 $114 120 points @ $112.50
    150 points @ $112
    200 points @$113
    200 points @ $115
    232 points @$107
    250 points @ $100
    300 points @ $110
    Wilderness Lodge: Copper Creek $161 $169 125 points @ $160
    SALES BY RESORT

    Contract sizes sold this quarter ranged from 25 points up to 501 points with the average amount of points purchased being 161 points. The highest concentration of sales took place at Saratoga Springs, followed by Animal Kingdom, Bay Lake Tower and Old Key West (2042). 

    Click here for previous DVC ROFR data

    Working with a trusted brokerage with the knowledge and experience you need to make sure you get a fair price and have a successful purchase or sale is so important in times like these.  If you are unsure of what you should offer or what you should accept as far as an offer goes, please contact us!  We are here for you every step of the way. If you have any questions about Disney’s ROFR or want more details on a particular sale or resort, please email us at team@resalesdvc.com or call 866-544-2919.

  7. A Look at the Updated Saratoga Springs Deluxe Studio Preferred Room

    These photos were taken during my stay at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa on September 30th to October 1st, 2021. My room was in The Springs section which is conveniently located near the High Rock Spring Pool, The Artist’s Palette restaurant and gift shop, and the bus stop. Also in this area is the Win, Place, or Show Arcade, the Community Hall, On The Rocks Pool Bar, the fitness center and Senses the spa.

    Here’s a look at the newly updated Saratoga Springs Deluxe Studio Preferred room. The “Preferred” rooms are located in The Springs and Congress Park. Remember, “preferred” refers to location, not necessarily view. They sleep four with a queen-size bed and a double-size Murphy (pull-down) Bed.  Check out the sweet artwork and hidden Mickey! The new Murphy Bed, although firm, is more comfortable than the traditional pull-out sofa with a bar across your back.

    One bonus feature for this room is the amount of outlets and USB ports available. The nightstand had several “plug-in” spots along with the TV stand.

    The room is your typical Deluxe Studio. The floor plan on Disney’s website for this room shows a table and chairs, however this was not the case, at least not for this room. Fortunately the coffee table opens up into a space that allows in room dining. I would find this somewhat inconvenient if traveling with more than one other person.  Also, keep in mind that the person sleeping on the Murphy Bed must be awake to use the loveseat.

    The bathroom is neutral colors with a shower/tub combo, sliding glass doors, and a fancy shower head. The shower head also includes a handheld attachment which I was glad to see. This feature will come in handy when trying to wash hair on the little ones. Don’t forget about the pull out clothes line for hanging those wet bathing suits the coveted Disney H2O+ toiletry items.

    The sink area is a nice clean white. There is a magnified makeup mirror on the wall and a hair dryer in the drawer. The closet gives ample space and contains an ironing board, iron, hangers, extra pillows (the blanket is already on the pull-out bed), a room safe, and even a vacuum cleaner. The kitchenette consists of a mini fridge, drip coffeemaker, toaster, and microwave. Paper plates and plasticware are supplied for eating. Grab extra creamer, there were only 4 in the room.

    The room has a small balcony with chairs. My room overlooked the road. Remember location not view!

    Let’s get one more look at that adorable artwork. Welcome home!

  8. Top Reasons to Love Disney’s Copper Creek Villas & Cabins and Boulder Ridge Villas at Wilderness Lodge

    The Wilderness Lodge is home to both Copper Creek Villas & Cabins as well as Boulder Ridge Villas.   This Disney Vacation Club location whisks guests away from the hustle and bustle of their day-to-day lives and immerses them in the Pacific Northwest.

    There are many reasons why Disney’s Wilderness Lodge (Copper Creek Villas & Cabins as well as Boulder Creek Villas) would be a great Resort choice.

    For my family, we love how the lodge surrounds us in nature, hardwoods, and wildlife.  From the low wetlands to the lush forest, you feel at one with the landscape.  In a nutshell, this resort offers many features to fall in love with.  The theming is spectacular with a soaring lobby and beautiful walking paths.  The pools are set in the rough frontier and a boat service adds an extra means of transportation.

    Enjoy being at one with nature?  Want a quick boat ride to the Magic Kingdom?  How about great on-site food options?  Copper Creek Villas & Cabins or Boulder Ridge Villas are the Wilderness Lodge options for you!  

    Top 5 Reasons I Love Disney’s Wilderness Lodge – Copper Creek Villas & Cabins as well as Boulder Ridge Villas 
    #5. Lobby – Including Pin Board and Chip & Dale

    The lobby at this resort is breathtaking!  No detail is spared in this turn-of-the-century, great American Northwestern depiction of history and wilderness. 

    From bubbling brooks that originate in the lobby and flow to the feature pool area, to soaring, stone fireplaces, this lobby is a delight to explore.

    Also, it is not uncommon to encounter some of our favourite Chipmunks hanging out at the Lodge, Chip and Dale!

    There is always a group of kids following these two fun-loving characters around the lobby!

    And, if you love Disney Pin Trading, you will not be disappointed by the very active pin board in this resort’s lobby.

    #4. Dining Options

    The food options available at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge were exceptional!  While a higher-end dining experience can be had at Artist Point, we even loved the plentiful dishes at the counter service restaurant, Roaring ForkThe real winner for us was the food and good times being served up at Whispering Canyon, located right in the main lobby of the resort.  Family-style skillets and dishes that had us looking forward to the next visit!

    Who doesn’t love starting dinner with a never-ending milkshake?

    But don’t get too full on the milkshake because the dinner spread is nothing short of amazing!  Chicken, Sausage, Ribs, Pork, Green Beans, Corn Niblets, etc.

    Wonderful food and a very fun vibe are found at the Whispering Canyon Cafe.

    The breakfasts at Whispering Canyon were equally incredible! And, yes, if you request Ketchup, you will be in for a surprise!

    #3. Location and Water Taxi

    The Wilderness Lodge is located in what feels like such a remote haven, but with a convenient Water Taxi, you are still not too far from the action!  Such a convenient and relaxing mode of transporting yourself directly to the Magic Kingdom!

    #2. Pools

    This resort has a very nice feature pool and kids’ water play area, but it also has one of the nicest quiet pools on Disney World’s property, Boulder Ridge Cove Pool.

    The kids always have a blast at this water play area that has bubblers, sprayers, water cannons, slides and buckets of cascading water!

    And then there is the impressive Boulder Ridge Cove Pool. This pool was our favourite spot to relax in the sun and play in the calm waters.  The zero-entry feature allows for very easy pool play for the kids and the ample deck seats allow for close parental oversight.

    #1. Theming, Grounds, Wildlife

    Well, we finally made it to our favourite reason for loving the Wilderness Lodge.  The grounds and theming as well as resident wildlife is simply breathtaking.

    The subtle remnants of an old Mining and Railway company immerse you in the serenity of this resort.

    While the beauty and vitality of nature surrounds your every sense… 

    Gorgeous wood plank walkways for enjoying the low wetland areas. And even a geyser that blows multiple times each day.

    Verdict:

    Wilderness Lodge (Copper Creek Villas and Cabins, and Boulder Ridge Villas) is one of the most relaxing places to stay at Disney World.  If wildlife, nature, relaxation, and rustic elegance is what you seek, look no further.

    Overlooking beautiful Bay Lake, you cannot help but feel connected to the environment around you.  This resort should appeal to all ages, boasting rustic charm, but enveloped in luxury with all of the amenities and activities to ensure a wonderful and memorable stay.

    [envira-gallery id=”87257″]

    PREVIOUS BLOGS BY JASON SWAIN:

    TOP REASONS TO LOVE DISNEY’S OLD KEY WEST RESORT

    MANAGING DVC POINTS DURING THE PANDEMIC

    TOP REASONS TO LOVE BOARDWALK VILLAS

  9. Managing DVC Points During THE PANDEMIC

    Managing DVC Points During THE PANDEMIC: I Don’t Want to Lose My Points!

    Disney has done a fabulous job at bending rules and reworking the program temporarily to the benefit of DVC owners.  It has now been well over a year since the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic and fortunately, our family has not yet lost any of our DVC points.

    Have you been unable to travel due to restrictions in your area, or due to your own personal choice to remain close to home? Our last Disney trip was in December of 2019.  After that, things got scary in the world and cancellation followed cancellation (March 2020, July 2020, December 2020, January 2021 Cruise, and March 2021).  

    All of a sudden, our family, like many DVC families, fell out of sync with the regular routine of planning, booking the rooms at 11-months out, booking the dining reservations at 6-months out, booking fastpasses at 60-days out, and then starting all over again for the next trip.  It was a routine that kept us in the Disney mindset all year long, always dreaming of what was to come and anticipating the fun and excitement.  Then the routine became one of hitting the ‘cancel reservation’ button online and praying for some normalcy to return to the world.

    How have you managed with your DVC points to date?  The reality is that many people would have had points expiring, and despite Disney’s efforts, we still hear of many people discussing their ‘distressed points’ (meaning that they are expiring soon).

    Here are some tips on how to manage your sanity and your points during the Pandemic.

    #1. STAY INFORMED – DVC Website / Disney Website

    Regularly visit your Disney Vacation Club online dashboard for all of the most up-to-date information on Disney’s Phased Reopening.  It is important for peace of mind to know the plans for the resorts and parks, as well as to be aware of what activities, experiences or dining locations will be open before you plan your vacation.  There is no need to be unexpectedly disappointed upon arrival because the Disney website and the Disney Vacation Club website both provide the most accurate information on the resorts and parks.

    #2. BANK YOUR POINTS 

    Banking points is the first step towards protecting your points.  Keep track of what you have available for the current use-year and be sure to bank those points prior to your banking deadline.  Remember that banking can only be done up to the end of the 8th month following point allocation.  So, if for example, you have a Contract with a December Use-Year, you must bank your points by the upcoming July 31; an April Use-Year (points allocated April 1) would have until end of November before banking is disallowed.

    #3. RENT YOUR POINTS

    The EASIEST way to offload those extra points!

    There are thousands of families looking to book a trip to Disney at any given time, and your points have great value to them!  Most families that are aware of POINT RENTALS tend to want to ALWAYS rent, while those families who DO NOT know about point rentals would LOVE to stay at the Deluxe Resorts for a FRACTION of the retail booking cost by renting YOUR points!

    The biggest hurdle is simply getting those points exposed to potential renters.  There are two main options available to you for renting out your points:

    1. Through a Company – ResalesDVC (https://www.resalesdvc.com) assists customers with point rentals, for example.
    2. Privately, On Your Own

    Of course, some prefer the peace of mind that comes with letting a reputable company tend to the details, while others prefer to earn a slightly higher rate per point, and find renters on their own.  The easiest way to find renters is through word of mouth and various Facebook groups dedicated to point rentals.

    Whatever route you choose, the earlier you decide to market those points, the better your chance of both finding a renter, and getting top value for the points.  My experience with renting points is that I can get my dues covered for the points and reap a small profit as well.  The renter gets to stay at a Disney Deluxe Resort for a fraction of the retail cost.  Once you rent privately, you likely will have a customer for life. Even if you have only a small number of points, or if they are very distressed with a close expiration date, do not fret.  Many local or nearby residents to Walt Disney World enjoy last minute deals and short stay getaways.

    Via Napoli Pizza#4. STAY DISNEY FOCUSED

    Don’t let the temporary pause in your Disney vacations get you down. Keep booking those beautiful resorts, and don’t stop planning the ‘next’ trip. Keep dreaming of that next Via Napoli visit and that wonderful pizza!

    You do not have to lose your DVC points during this pandemic.  There are lots of people looking to travel to Disney World right now!  So many people would love the opportunity to wake-up to the Savanna at Animal Kingdom Lodge or to relax all day in Stormalong Bay at Beach Club.

    Stormalong Bay at Beach Club

    Stormalong Bay at Beach Club

    So, remember, you may be able to bank your points, and the DVC program is constantly updating its rules for cancellations, removal of ‘holding account’ penalties, and returning points back to original use-years.  

    Further, there are LOTS of people out there looking for your points right now!  Renting offers a win-win for everyone involved, and it’s super easy.  With everything else going on these days, don’t let DVC points be a source of stress.  

    Stay safe, and be prepared for that next visit to WDW!

    Kids' Water Play Area at Wilderness Lodge

    Kids’ Water Play Area at Wilderness Lodge

     

    Follow Jason Swain and his family on YouTube: Disney Vacation Family

  10. Top Reasons to Love Disney’s Old Key West Resort

    Old Key West was part of my family’s first ever Disney Vacation Club split-stay at Disney World.  We will always have a special love for this property.  

    This is a quaint, charming resort that reminds me of life on a quiet island with the faint sounds of Jimmy Buffet echoing across the water and the warm breeze caressing your face as you contemplate whether to relax some more, go for a leisurely walk, or order another cold drink while basking in the sun.

    For my family, Old Key West had the most ‘remote’ feeling, but in a good way.  It felt like an oasis community that was sheltered from the hustle and bustle found only minutes away.  

    There are many reasons why Disney’s Old Key West is a wonderful Resort choice. 

    In a nutshell, this resort offers a few unique features that make it most appealing, namely, Atmosphere, Waterfront, and convenient Boat Access to Disney Springs.

    Want to relax in a community-like setting that puts you in a tropical oasis where time slows down?  Want to enjoy a true ‘home’-like experience?  How about some great food and lots of fun activities?  Old Key West Resort is the place for you!  

    Top 3 Reasons I Love Old Key West Resort
    #3. Boat Access to Disney Springs

    Feeling remote is very different from actually being remote.

    We love the transportation options at Disney, and especially when water taxis are available.  Old Key West offers a convenient boat launch from which you can travel to and from Disney Springs.

    We just love the activities, entertainment, shopping and food at Disney Springs, day or night.  It is a must visit place for us at least a few times per trip, so having the option of a relaxing boat ride on a nice day/evening is much appreciated.

    Get your Mexican fix at Frontera Cocina

    Or, if Italian is your desire, don’t miss Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante

    … and do NOT forget about desserts! 

    Whether catching a movie at the AMC Theater, grabbing an award-winning dinner, or just window browsing while enjoying a treat, Disney Springs is awesome!

     

    #2. Activities, Atmosphere, Room Size

    Yes, I cheated.  I had such a hard time separating these three factors that I bunched them all together into one Reason to Love the resort.  The rooms, activities and atmosphere are like parts of a puzzle that relate to one another so closely, it takes each doing its own part to create the end feeling of overwhelming satisfaction.

    While all Disney Deluxe Resorts have engaging amenities, the small footprint of the clubhouse area at Old Key West makes for a more intimate setting with all activities easily accessible from one primary spot.  

    From the main clubhouse area, you are literally steps away from beach volleyball courts, basketball courts, shuffleboard courts, ping-pong tables, gitoni tables, a small arcade, the feature pool, sandy play areas, food, beverages, and more.  

    The feature pool at Old Key West is large, blue, and very relaxing.  The sandcastle waterslide is a highlight for sure!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The theming immerses you in South Florida’s Key West with white sand, a palette of island inspired colors, and the inviting blue skies and waters of the tropics. Oversized sand buckets and sandcastles dot the play area…

        

    We loved trying the Shuffleboards! And of course, a trip would not be complete without enjoying some quality time at the Community Hall

    Our son loves it… and even Mom likes to get involved.

    It is so hard to not feel all of life’s stresses begin to fade away while surrounded by the Old Key West setting…

    The resort exudes serenity and comfort. 

    Many rooms have large covered balconies that overlook water features…

    Rooms offer ample space for families to enjoy their resort days to the maximum. Rooms offer sitting areas, large bathrooms, large bedrooms, and the one-bedroom villas dwarf most big city condos!  

     

     

    This resort is one of the Original Disney Vacation Club properties, so rooms were built larger.  We enjoyed having the extra space whether in the standard Deluxe Studio or the One-Bedroom Villas.

     

    #1. Olivia’s Cafe

    Old Key West offers one main sit-down restaurant called Olivia’s Café. This restaurant will not disappoint, morning, noon or night.  When you enter Olivia’s, you will feel right-at-home with pictures of DVC families and guestsadorning the walls.

    It has an eclectic, home-grown feeling about it that rings of a proud Mom-and-Pop anchor that has stood at the center of a small, close-knit mariner community for decades.

    The nautical theme is fun and inviting, and the island-inspired meals are exciting and warming to the soul.

    This cozy table service restaurant serves as a hub for good food and socializing; it adds a sense of community to the resort.

    Beyond the wonderful feel of the casual indoor seating area or the breezy outdoor seating area, the food and service are memorable highlights.  The menu offers many local (to Southern Florida!) dishes that are uniquely crafted to bring the seaside to your plate.

    They offer novel breakfast choices like the Sombrero Omelet. I recommend an Olivia’s hallmark dish for breakfast, Banana Bread French Toast!

      

     

     

     

     

     

    The menu offers a wide variety of meats and sides, serving wonderful breakfasts, brunches and dinners.  One of my favorite homestyle meals is the Southernmost Buttermilk Chicken… 

     

     

     

     

     

     

    My wife still talks about her Duval Street Burger!  Yes, those are plump, grilled shrimp with an avocado and Pico de Gallo blend!  Delicious!

    We had so much fun at Old Key West, our dinner table also served as a comfy napping area some evenings….

    Verdict:

    Old Key West is a seamless balance of simply being away from it all, but still being very close to it all.  This resort is the perfect blend of flip-flops and hammocks as well as excitement and action.

    Surrounded by waterways, fountains, and tropical greenery, this resort offers space to stretch your legs and an atmosphere to unwind.  With recent room renovations, an amenity-rich clubhouse area, and the famous Olivia’s Café, you may enjoy spending more time at the resort than originally planned.

    [envira-gallery id=”80287″]

    See OLD KEY WEST LISTINGS

    VIDEO TOUR OF DISNEY’S OLD KEY WEST  By Jason Swain

    Previous blogs by Jason Swain:

    TOP REASONS TO LOVE DISNEY’S BOARDWALK VILLAS

    TOP REASONS TO LOVE DISNEY’S POLYNESIAN VILLAGE RESORT

    TOP REASONS TO LOVE DISNEY’S RIVIERA RESORT

    TOP REASONS TO LOVE DISNEY’S BEACH CLUB RESORT

    TOP REASON’S TO LOVE DISNEY’S ANIMAL KINGDOM LODGE

    TOP REASONS TO LOVE DISNEY’S BAY LAKE TOWER

    Follow Jason Swain’s Vlogs at https://www.youtube.com/c/DisneyVacationFamily