As part of the rules and regulations set forth in the DVC bylaws, Disney Vacation Club holds an Annual Condominium Association Meeting every December. At this meeting, new board members are elected or re-elected, resort budgets for the upcoming year are presented and approved, members can ask questions to the board, and we typically learn about upcoming events and projects for DVC.
This year the focus of the meeting was on the opening of Copper Creek Villas and Cabins (the conference room was even themed like the resort) and how DVC plans to make a substantial amount of improvements based off member feedback over the last year. The board also went over reasons for the increases in member dues and officially approved the 2018 budgets and Maintenance and Taxes.
2017 Year In Review
The order of business was quite the same this year with an opening greeting from the current Senior VP and General Manager of DVC, Ken Potrock, recapping the highlights from the past year and thanking everyone for another wonderful year at DVC.
Ken was excited to announce that Copper Creek Villas and Cabins, Disney Vacation Club’s 14th resort, is receiving some of the highest customer ratings of any Walt Disney World resort. Sounds like they really got these units right! He also shared that Reunion Station at Wilderness Lodge will be opening soon. This “club level”style building will have a lounge for DVC members and offer plenty of activity space for gathering with friends and family.
As announced earlier in the year, Disney has filed plans to build another DVC resort in the Epcot Resort Area with access to Epcot and Hollywood Studios via a Sky Gondola system. Ken stressed that he could not share any details yet but the new Riviera Resort will open in Fall of 2019 and will feature a rooftop restaurant with stunning views of both nighttime firework shows at Epcot and Hollywood Studios.
Resort Refurbishments, Upgrades & Member Satisfaction
Refurbishments at Vero Beach are completed and Old Key West is underway with completion slated for 2019. DVC created a mock-up room to test guest reception and will use their feedback to solidify the plans for unit upgrades. The upgrades at Old Key West will include a full refresh of bathrooms, furnishings, new paint, new kitchen appliances, new carpets and more. Saratoga Springs will be the next resort to get a refresh after Old Key West. Designs are still in progress but they plan to create another mock-up room to get member feedback. The model room tests will begin in 2018 with refurbishments starting in 2019/2020.
In 2015, The Associations voted to accelerate resort refurbishments from every 24 years (hard goods) to every 14 years. In addition to that, every 7 years the units will get a “refresh” that includes things like updated patio furniture, bathrooms and kitchens. They have also promised to “work on getting the sofa beds right” and to make the in-room experience more comfortable for guests. This includes offering things like larger shampoo bottles, more pillow options on beds with at least two firm and two soft pillows, new mattresses and updated linens. Enhanced Wi-Fi is also in the works to offer faster speeds to guests in room and around the resorts.
Taking into consideration the recent complaints about cleanliness of units, DVC will implicate new procedures and standards for their housekeeping in the upcoming year. This will include new training for employees, new tools for them to use, and new technology that will allow them to address issues quicker and more efficiently.
Member Services will offer extended hours in the upcoming year with a closing time of 9pm for weekdays and 7pm for weekends. There will also be added features to the member website allowing members to make and modify reservations online or on a mobile device without calling member services. For example: you have 5 nights booked already but want to add another night and/or switch to a larger unit.
Resort Budgets & Annual Dues
A member’s dues goes towards a variety of things needed to run the resort. Two-thirds of the budget is allocated to Operating & Administrative Expenses (housekeeping, transportation, Front Desk services, maintenance, utilities, etc), and the remaining one-third goes to Reserves and Taxes.
DVC has a $1 million insurance deductible for all resorts combined, meaning anything exceeding that amount has to be paid for by the association. Hurricane Irma caused some damage to Vero Beach, Hilton Head and Saratoga Springs this year with Hilton Head taking the biggest hit. Disney has agreed to extend the loan from Hurricane Matthew one more year into 2019 in order to help the association pay for repairs that exceed the insurance policy’s deductible.
Overall, the Walt Disney World properties saw an increase in dues of less than 6% compared to last year and the beach properties saw less than 7%. The increases are mainly due to higher employment wages at the resorts and a higher reserve budget. The reserve budget pays for the 7 and 14 year refresh and refurbishments and slightly increased this upcoming year to accommodate for higher construction costs. Thanks to Hurricane Irma, labor is more costly this year. All the improvements mentioned earlier have already been budgeted for in the Reserves.
As usual, the annual dues and resort budgets were presented and approved by the board. Owners can expect bills in the upcoming weeks.
Coming in 2018
DVC will continue to offer access to the Member Lounge at Epcot and plenty of Moonlight Magic events in 2018. Other benefits include Tasting Sessions at Top of The World Lounge and Reunion Station, new customizable DVC Member Merchandise, and various theme park ticket offers. You can see all the current offerings online here: Member Benefits. Please remember that certain offerings are only available to members who own at least one contract purchased directly from Disney.
Stay tuned to our website for more exciting DVC news as 2018 unfolds. Happy Holidays everyone!