When rumors become reality. On September 16, 2020, in our DVC rumors article, we mentioned the potential of a new DVC point minimum being enacted by Disney. Fast forward a month or so, and we’re confirming the changes to the DVC point minimum requirements for members to qualify for the membership extras have been rolled out. But, what does this all mean? What is the impact on current DVC members and future DVC members? Without any further adieu let’s dive into it!
The date, October 19, 2020. This is the date where our rumor turned into fact. Without any announcement, Disney Vacation Club made a small, but impactful change to their website. Towards the bottom of the “How Membership Works” page (as well as other pages) on the Disney Vacation Club website, the small print around Membership Extras was updated to say 125 points versus 100 points. The change reflects the new DVC point minimum (purchased through directly through Disney Vacation Development, ie Disney) to qualify for the membership extras going forward. Please be aware this is not the minimum number of points anyone has to purchase to become a DVC member, it’s only the minimum to qualify for the membership extras.
The 125 points can be a combination of points from any of the DVC resorts located around the United States. As long as the member’s total number of points purchased through Disney is equal to more than 125 points. It should be noted that this change does not impact the ability to purchase DVC points through the resale market.
What are membership extras? How we like to look at the membership extras is it’s Disney’s way to say thank you. It’s the icing on the cake. Items that fall into the membership extras category would be moonlight magic events, discounts on annual passes or dining or shopping, using your points on Disney Cruise, Disney Resorts (non-DVC), Adventures by Disney, the Concierge Collection, member-exclusive events, and member lounges. With all membership extras, Disney reserves the right the change or discontinue any of the benefits at any time. Over the year’s we’ve seen new things added to membership extra, like 30%-off cruises (both points and cash), as well as things removed.
For new Disney Vacation Club members any contracts purchased after October 19, 2020, these benefits would only be available to guests who purchased directly through Disney and meet the new minimum point requirement.
Impact On DVC Membership
For current members, there is no impact. The key phrase is grandfathered. Meaning that all current DVC members with less than the new DVC point minimum are grandfathered in and are not subject to any of the changes. If you previously had access to membership extras, you will continue to have the same access. This change will only impact new contracts purchased through the resale market and Disney going forward. Yes, contracts purchased through Disney will always be impacted, if and only if, you have less than the minimum of 125 points combined points.
In terms of future members, the impact is grayer. With the DVC point minimum increasing it makes us wonder which way new members would lean, purchase directly through Disney, or the resale market. From a Disney perspective, it appears Disney hopes is to drive more value out of purchasing points directing through themselves. Especially, when you factor in the recent shift to more prominently promote the ability to purchase “resale” points directly from Disney. Any points regardless if it’s for the newest DVC resort (Riviera) or the oldest (Old Key West), if the points are purchased through Disney they would qualify towards the new minimum. Additionally, they would have no restrictions around which DVC resorts you could stay at. While Disney has always offered this option, many times when you spoke with a vacation club guide you found out the points were not available. Now, from our understanding, Disney is actively buying back points when a request is made for a certain resort.
Purchasing through the resale market still has a lot of benefits, especially, when looking at it from a cost perspective. The price per point is well below, in some cases up to 40% below, what Disney is charging for the same points. What it will come down to is what works best for the individual. Our best recommendation is to weight out what works for you and your family, and whether or not the membership extras and resort booking flexibility is worth the additional investment.
Definitely keep an eye out it. When it comes to Disney Vacation Club, we’re guessing things will continue to evolve. It’s clear that Disney is making a concerted effort to have a greater presence in the resale market while increasing the value to purchase through them. In the DVC Duo house, we would expect to see more changes that could impact the resale market and sway more value to buying directly through Disney in the near term. What those changes could entail are unknown, and we have no information pointing to more change, but something tells us more is coming. It’s our gut tell us. Could that be a teaser for another DVC rumor article? Maybe? Until then, we’ll be keeping our ear to the ground!
There’s an app for that! How many times have we heard that phrase in our lives? If we got a dollar for every, well wouldn’t have to blog anymore. Who are we kidding, we would still blog! Back on topic, we’re here today to talk about the new Disney’s Aulani Resort app that released earlier this month. With the Hawaiian resort set to reopen in the coming days, let’s take a look at everything you need to know about the Aulani Resort app. Grab your smartphone it’s time to open the app!
Why An App?
Doesn’t everything need an app nowadays? We joke we joke! With minimal fan fair Disney released its newest app on October 8, 2020, in preparation for Aulani to reopen on November 1, 2020. It’s unknown if Disney had always planned for an Aulani Resort app or not, but what is known is the app’s release can be attributed to COVID. In an effort to minimize the amount of guest and cast member interaction, to respect physical distancing, Disney created this new app.
As far as we can tell this is the first app Disney has design specifically for a resort. While My Disney Experience does have resort related information integrated into it, no other resort outside of a theme park area has an app. Neither, Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort or Disney’s Vero Beach Resort has an app. Could we see apps for the other Disney Vacation Club Resorts outside of the parks? Only time will tell.
Logging In For The First Time – Profile
Every Disney app has login requirements, and the Aulani Resort app is no different. If you have a profile created for any of the following Disney services you should be able to use the same log-in credentials. The services include Disney+, Disney Vacation Club (DVC), My Disney Experience, Disney Cruise app, and the Disneyland app. All of these services are connected together as far as log-in credentials are concerned. It was a major update released by Disney, as part of the launch of Disney+.
There could other smaller services that link as well. We would recommend if you have any user credentials for a Disney guest service to try them out. If they do not work, you may need to create a new account.
Within your profile, all related information will be carried over into the app. For example, if you’re a Disney Vacation Club member your reservation information should carry over. If for any reason it does not, you can easily link your reservation under the Reservation Info section in your profile. This will also be where you can check-in to the resort prior to your arrival. Lastly, you can also make a new reservation for the resort in this area. It should be noted for DVC members, this area brings you to the cash (non-DVC) reservation screen. If you’re looking to book with points you should use the regular DVC website or Member Services.
By far the most important aspect of the Aulani Resort app will be the Daily Activities guide. Or, also known as the times guide. Here you’ll find everything that is happening at the resort, broken down by the hour. Well, almost everything. The one thing not included within the daily activities is the Character Meet ‘n Greets, as it has a separate section. At the time of writing it’s unknown whether or not Character Meet ‘n Greets will be part of the initial phase of the resort reopening. If they are available we could see them in a similar capacity as the Disney parks.
The app shows a daily schedule for up to five days in advance. From most screens, you can easily access the Daily Activities section of the app by clicking the Aulani Resort icon on the bottom center of the screen. This will automatically bring up the schedule for the current day.
With everything changing like the wind it will be great to have easy access to daily activities. Previously, Disney would print the schedule and deliver it to your room. Going forward they will update the Aulani Resort app.
Food, the next most important thing. Well, unless you’re us, then it’s the most important. The app outlines all the dining options around the resort, its location, and the type of dining. What is unknown is if Aulani will offer mobile ordering through the app, similar to My Disney Experience. Our best guess would be not yet. This could be added at a later time, as Disney has announced they’ve moved to a cashless or contactless payment method throughout the resort. Cash will still be accepted, but Disney is recommending against it whenever possible. In the DVC Duo house, we are hoping they could link the app to your room charge, as it would limit the number of interactions needed to make purchases around the pool deck and in the shops.
The big unknown for dining is whether or not you make dining reservations for the sit down restaurants. At the time of writing, the app does not offer this functionality. We will keep an eye as we get closer to November 1, 2020, to see if any changes are made.
Beyond the two main aspects, the Aulani app does include a wide variety of information sections. From beach activities to the spa/fitness center, and even where to find a restroom. From what we can tell all of these sections are what you would find on the Aulani website. Over time we could see updates to the app to expand upon each area. For example, the ability to reserve paddleboards from Makiki Joe’s Beach rentals or book a cabana by the pool.
Good first step! The launch of Disney’s Aulani Resort app makes a lot of sense. With how social norms are changing due to our current environment, the addition of the app is a must. We would expect over time Disney will continue to expand upon the app to make the overall guest experience better. It is clear this is an app that Disney had to release quickly for the reopening of the resort. We will keep an eye out for more updates and adjust the article as need. For now, we’re going to go back to daydreaming about Aulani!
Grand, it’s the word of the day! Or, should we say the word of the article. We’re heading to Disney’s Grand Floridian after all. Stepping into Disney’s newest lounge, The Enchanted Rose is like taking a step back in time. Themed after Beauty and the Beast, the lounge draws inspiration and design elements from the late 1700s, or better known as the French Revolution. To say the lounge is elegant would be an understatement. Rich colors, stunning marble, and sophisticated furniture fill the area, making you feel like royalty. But the real question is how does it stand-up to the other Disney lounges? Will it go down as a tale as old-time, or short story? There is only one way to find out. The time has come to make our grand entrance to Disney’s Enchanted Rose lounge!
On the second floor of the Grand Floridian, you’ll find the Enchanted Rose lounge. When arriving by monorail, it’s directly across from way from the monorails exit. On October 8, 2019, (Happy Belated Birthday) the newest Disney lounge opened its door for the first time. Taking over the area previously occupied by Mizner’s Lounge, a former Disneyphile hidden gem, and a retail store, the Enchanted Rose dared to do something different at Disney. It’s the first Disney World lounge themed after a Disney animated movie. Walking into the lounge for the first time and subsequent times since we would say the themeing is more of a node or the inspiration from the movie. Every thing about the design fits well with the overall “feel” of the Grand Floridian. In the terms of feeling grand. By far our favorite design element has to the chandelier inspired by Belle’s gown.
The lounge is made of three sitting areas, as well as an outdoor patio. Spread around all the rooms is a variety of couches, tables, and unbelievable comfortable chairs. Each of the rooms has a different node to the movie, from the library to the forest, and of course the ballroom (bar area). The patio has grand views of Seven Seas Lagoon and Disney’s Polynesian Resort. For us, we like to pull up a seat at the bar and chat with the bartender.
It’s all about the cocktails at the Enchanted Rose lounge. From table-side cocktails to your classics, the bartenders are shaking and mixing up some of the best adult beverages at Disney World. It definitely helps that they have one of the grandest collections of spirits around. The first thing you’ll notice when reviewing the cocktail list will more than likely be the price per drink. These may be the most expensive drinks on Disney property, and rightfully so, as the bartenders are using nothing the best spirits for the cocktails.
Taste test time! It’s a tough job and we’re more than happy to do it. One of the most unique cocktails we tired has to be the Lavender Fog. It combines gin, English breakfast tea, vanilla, cream, and Creme de Violette. The majority of the time we’re not fans of gin, however, this delightful treat had us asking for another. Upon the first sip, we got the vanilla notes right away, followed by the lavender and it finished with traditional juniper notes of gin. It was very well-balanced, so much so, that the juniper berry didn’t overpower the delicate flavors of the lavender. If you’re looking for something different and refreshing, you’ll want to give this one a try.
Beyond the feature cocktails, we had to try our go-to drinks, a vodka martini, and an old fashion. As we like to say, you can always tell how good a bar is by how they make the classics. Both were fantastic and arguably the best we’ve had at Disney World. If you’re looking for a twist on the traditional old fashion, ask about the seasonal variation. The one we tired has cranberry syrup and rosemary. Let’s just say Nate is still talking about it.
Whether you’re in the mood for a classic or looking for something a little different the bartenders got you covered. Beyond the cocktails, the Enchanted Rose has a wide variety of wines available and beers.
Every great drink needs a great app. They go hand in hand, like Beauty and the Beast. While we are still working our way through all the different starters, there have been a couple that stand out. First and foremost, the artisanal cheese selection. What can we say, we’re suckers for a cheese plate and the Enchanted Rose definitely delivers on that. What really made this cheese board different than the rest were the accouterments. There is a pine nut bread that is out of this world good. As well as, fresh honeycomb.
Outside the cheese board, we’ve also enjoyed the truffle fries. The price tag may grab your attention at first, but trust us, they are worth it. The chef is shaving fresh truffle on thick-cut fries, and we’re happy to say it’s more truffle than we ever expected. This giant bowl of fries is the elevate French fry we’ve been looking for!
Loved it! While Crew’s Cup over at Disney’s Yacht Cup will always have a special place in our hearts, the Enchanted Rose lounge could be topping our list soon. For us, it’s the perfect date night while at Disney World. We’ve always enjoyed well-crafted cocktails and unique takes on classic bar starters. It’s slowly becoming a new tradition to hop on the monorail and head over to the Enchanted Rose after a great day at the Magic Kingdom. There is only one thing left to do and that’s to make our grand exit!
A big thank you to our friends Jamie and Jared for having us on the Capture The Magic Podcast. We joined them to talk about our all-time favorite topic, Disney Vacation Club (DVC). We discuss everything from the DVC basics to buying resale points v.s. buying directly through Disney. Thank you to both of them for having us on the show!
Forging ahead! A lot has changed in the world since we last checked-in on the HarmonioUS construction progress. To say the world has been flipped upside down would be the understatement of the year. While many projects around Walt Disney World have hit the pause button, others like the Star Wars Resort and HarmonioUS have been full steam ahead. Why is the HarmonioUS construction work still underway? What progress has been made? And, most importantly, when could Epcot’s new nighttime spectacular debut? That’s what we here to discuss. Grab those hard hats and construction vests, it’s time to head out to the job site or otherwise known as backstage!
Where We Left Off
In the beginnning…no, no. We’re not going to bore you with a recap of our previous check-in of the HarmonoioUS construction process. We’ll let you check out it at your convenience, you can find it here. The two big things to note were that the show barges were delivered to Epcot and the new nighttime spectacular was penciled onto the calendar to begin October 2020. Nowadays, we say penciled over slated. What can we say a pencil is easier to erase than something etched in stone.
World Showcase Lagoon
The majority of the work associated with the HarmonioUS construction project occurred in Epcot’s World Showcase Lagoon. It’s the main reason why the temporary show, Epcot Forever, had the vast majority of its show aspects take place above the water. From the fall of 2019 to the early parts of spring 2020, different areas around World Showcase Lagoon were drained for construction teams to install the show elements for HarmonioUS. Mainly electrical work for the permit docking stations for the smaller barges. There will be four docking stations for the smaller barges with the largest bargest or the centerpiece having its own unique docking station. What is unknown at the moment is whether or not the barges will be present at the beginning of the show or brought out as an element of it. Additionally, firework stations were added around the lagoon.
From our understanding, the work associated with World Showcase Lagoon is mostly complete. So much so, that Disney has moved onto the testing phase of these elements. On September 24, 2020, after Epcot closed for the day Disney tested a variety of fireworks for the show. The testing was by no means the full production or test run through. Instead, what was witnessed from the Boardwalk Resort bridge to Epcot’s International Gateway was individual fireworks being shot into the sky. There were no musical elements or any type of theatrical presentation. In the DVC Duo house, we believe this was Disney simply testing the newly installed firework stations, docking elements, and potentially the barges (cannot be confirmed). The testing went on for about 15 minutes.
Even though it was just testing, these were the first fireworks at Walt Disney World since the parks reopened. Something tells us this could be a Disney trivia question in the not so distance future!
Speaking of the barges. Work on the centerpieces of HarmonioUS is well underway. Thanks to BlogMickey we got our first glimpse of the LED screens being installed to the outside framework for one of the four smaller barges. This can only mean one thing, the work on the interior of the barges is complete. Based on the concept art, the interior of the barges will have fountain and lighting aspects that will more than likely be powered by the different docking stations installed within World Showcase Lagoon. What is unknown is if the barges will also have fireworks shot from them or not. If we had to guess the centerpiece, or better known as the fifth barge could have this functionality as it’s larger than the other four.
The fifth barge will have a unique design all to itself. From the concept art, we could see a more circular shape compared to the oblong shape of the four other barges. Looking at the picture from @bioreconstruct on Twitter we can see just has massive the centerpiece will be compared to the other show elements. There is still a lot unknown about the centerpiece, especially, whether or not it will get similar LED screens installed or use something different to create visual effects within the circle.
It’s what we all want to know. When will the HarmonioUS construction be complete? And, when will the show debut? Well, those very well could be two different dates. As we spoke in a previous article, HarmonioUS has been labeled a high priority project by Disney. It’s the main reason construction has forged on. Doing a little math based on when everything was shut down and then restarted, we would expect work to be completed by end of year or early quarter one 2021.
However, that may not be the start date for the show. There are many factors when it comes to Disney bringing back nighttime spectaculars to the parks, and the majority are out of their control. The biggest is the physical distance measures and how to best manage guests. With Epcot having one of the largest viewing areas for a nighttime show, we could see it being the first to come back. Additionally, Disney is keen on restarting their dining packages associated with the nighttime shows, as well as, night time dining at Epcot. We’re not going to project a date at this time, but we will say you should keep an eye on two things, the total number of COVID-19 cases (trending down) and the ability to lessen the physical distancing requirements below six feet. This is solely based on how Disney and The Oriental Land Company have brought fireworks to the Tokyo parks.
The show will be ready! Based on everything we’re observing the HarmonioUS construction is moving along a solid pace and it will be ready before we know it. Similar to Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, the biggest question will quickly become when will Disney feel comfortable debuting it. When it’s ready we’re excited to see it. We got a feeling this could be one of those all-time great Disney nighttime spectaculars. It’s time to take off those hard hats and construction vests and head back “on-stage”!