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Major Expansion at Caribbean Beach Resort: Is it DVC?

We previously reported that Disney is planning on building a Disney Vacation Club resort at the Caribbean Beach Resort as the next DVC after the Copper Creek Cabins & Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.

Well, Disney filed a permit application with South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) for “Project 88/Caribbean Beach“, located east of Victory Way, south of Buena Vista Drive. The project consists of modifying the existing stormwater management system to serve proposed improvements consisting of constructing seven buildings, parking lots and roadway modifications within the 60.58 acre project area.

Project 88 DVC at Caribbean Beach

Plans also suggest the work on the project will begin this year and will be completed by 2019.

Project 88 DVC at Caribbean Beach

Since Disney has yet to officially announce the project, few additional details are available at this time, including whether this is a DVC expansion or not.

Project 88 DVC at Caribbean Beach

Join the discussion in our DVC forum.

Boulder Ridge Construction Update Jan 2017

The new DVC expansion at the Wilderness Lodge is progressing well. The cabins and villas for Copper Creek Villas and Cabins, as well as the new Boulder Ridge Cove Pool and Geyser Point Bar & Grill are all opening in 2017. In fact, the Geyser Point Bar & Grill is scheduled to open in February. Geyser Point Pool Bar & Grill will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as specialty cocktails, beer and wine.

As a reminder, here is what it will look like when completed.

Boulder Ridge Cove
Boulder Ridge Cove

The following brief video provides an overview of the state of construction

Click on any of the photos below to view an enlarged version.

Below shows the Boulder Ridge Cove Pool in the center, with Geyser Point Bar & Grill in the upper right.

Boulder Ridge Cove Pool and Geyser Point Pool Bar & Grill
Boulder Ridge Cove Pool and Geyser Point Pool Bar & Grill

You can see them building the ridge of boulders around the pool – hence it’s name.

The ridge of boulders around the Boulder Ridge Cove Pool
The ridge of boulders around the Boulder Ridge Cove Pool

Here is a closer look at the ridge of boulders. It just looks like concrete now.

Closeup of the boulders at Boulder Ridge Cove Pool
Closeup of the boulders at Boulder Ridge Cove Pool

Here is the tower-like construction next to the pool.

Boulder Ridge Cove Pool

They just have steel rebar without any concrete on this side of the pool.

Boulders coming to Boulder Ridge Cove Pool
Boulders coming to Boulder Ridge Cove Pool
Cabins behind Boulder Ridge Cove Pool
Cabins behind Boulder Ridge Cove Pool

Boulder Ridge Cove Pool

Geyser Point Pool Bar & Grill

A view of Geyser Point Bar & Grill at night.

Geyser Point Pool Bar & Grill at night
Geyser Point Pool Bar & Grill at night

The cabins are painted in various colors right now.

Copper Creek Cabins
Copper Creek Cabins

The cabins will have vaulted ceilings, a double-sided fireplace, and a whirlpool tub. They are 2-bedrooms – similar to the bungalows at the Polynesian.

Copper Creek Cabins
Copper Creek Cabins
Copper Creek Cabins
Copper Creek Cabins

Inside the south wing of the Wilderness Lodge, the conversion of hotel rooms to DVC villas continues. Studios, 1-BR and 2-BR units will be available. There are also rumors of 3-BR grand villas from some sources.

Copper Creek Villas
Copper Creek Villas

That’s our brief update. More to come next month.

Copper Creek Villas and Cabins

Geyser Point Pool Bar & Grill Opening in February

Disney has announced that their latest addition, Geyser Point Pool Bar & Grill, will be opening at the Wilderness Lodge in February.

Roaring Fork, the quick service food and beverage location, and Trout Pass Pool Bar will be closed for refurbishment.

Geyser Point Pool Bar & Grill will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as specialty cocktails, beer and wine. The menu offers a variety of items, including hot breakfast entrees, a gourmet burger, sandwiches and salads. Kids’ meals will also be available.

Disney’s Old Key West Turns 25 years old

DVC Celebrating 25 Years and beyond
DVC Celebrating 25 Years and beyond

Twenty-five years ago, on December 20, 1991, the brand-new Disney Vacation Club Resort at Walt Disney World welcomed the first stays by members using their points.

Now called Disney’s Old Key West, the resort was the very first DVC resort.

Let’s take a look back at how this resort came to be, and along with it, how DVC itself came to be.

How Old Key West Came to Be

In the late 1980’s, Disney Chairman Michael D. Eisner unveiled a massive and ambitious ten-year building plan, which included the development of several resorts. He called it The Disney Decade.

The Disney Decade
The Disney Decade (Click for larger image)

Eisner and team looked outside the gates of Walt Disney World and saw a booming business. Orlando had become the timeshare resort capital of the world – an estimated $400 million annual industry in Central Florida. That success was largely because of the presence of Disney, but Mickey wasn’t getting a piece of it.

In the late 1980’s, Disney executives formally recognized that hotel guests were a potential market for the purchase of timeshare products at Walt Disney World. To evaluate this market, Disney used focus groups and quantitative research methods to understand the needs of consumers and gauge consumer reaction. They didn’t want to be associated with the deplorable sales and marketing practices associated with the timeshare business. The big question was: would time-sharing fit the Disney image?

They decided they could develop and market timeshares with a Disney twist. The Disney name lent a level of credibility to their product. “There is a level of trust and expectation from people that we will deliver a quality product”, said Peter Rummell, president of Disney Development Company. To ensure a quality sales staff, some 1,600 prospects would be reviewed before the first 30 salespeople were hired.

Plans for the first DVC Resort

In the summer of 1989, Disney Development selected the 150-acre site they would build their timeshare resort – next to the Lake Buena Vista golf course.  Disney used market studies and competitive analysis to prepare a development program and to determine site capacity. Disney would develop 74 acres on this site into their first timeshare resort.

Disney Development asked several architecture firms to submit proposals for the timeshare project and, after a design competition among the finalists, chose Bassenian/Lagoni for the residential portion and Richardson Nagy Martin Architecture to design the Florida project’s clubhouse and sales office. Both firms were based in Southern California.

Disney specified a Key West theme that captured the flavor of an architectural style described as turn-of-the-century Victorian with a lot of Caribbean influence. Atypical of attached housing, the buildings were arranged on the diagonal so that there are windows on three sides rather than just in the front and back of each unit. Since units were designed as a “home away from home”, interiors were to have upscale designs with a casual style.

The Disney Vacation Club resort rendering from 1991
The Disney Vacation Club resort rendering from 1991 (click for larger version)

Public Announcement

In January 1990, Walt Disney Co. Chairman Michael Eisner revealed to the public that Disney planned to sell “shared vacation ownerships” at Walt Disney World. “We didn’t use the word timeshare, not that we’re afraid to use it,” Eisner said. “We’ve hired the best people in the industry to work for us,” he said. “We feel that we can do it in a really attractive, honest and capable way, and we’re very excited about it”.

Construction Begins

Construction of Phase I of the Disney Vacation Club resort began in September 1990.

DVC Preview Center under construction June 1991
DVC Preview Center under construction June 1991 (click for larger image)

Below is the initial site plan for the resort, later referred to as “Conch Flats”. Notice the “Sales Center” (to the right of building 16), which would be the first of three at Walt Disney World (the second one would be at Boardwalk and the third one at Saratoga Springs). Building 16 would be used as model rooms.

Disney Vacation Club Site Plan Initial Phase
Disney Vacation Club Site Plan Initial Phase (click for larger image)

Sales Begin

Pre-sales started at $48 per point and rose to $51 per point when sales officially began in October 1991 at the DVC Preview Center (renamed to Commodore House on Dec 20, 1991), a 15,000-square foot sales and marketing center. As a comparison, DVC today charges $140 per point for this resort.

1991 Press Release announcing the upcoming opening of the Disney Vacation Club resort
1991 Press Release announcing the upcoming opening of the Disney Vacation Club resort (click for larger image)

Disney Marketing

The marketing and sales program was intentionally low key, informative, and professional. Besides the DVC Preview Center, marketing brochures were left for visitors at Disney World’s 9,000-plus hotel rooms. Two booths, one at the Magic Kingdom and one at Epcot Center, also distributed information to those who asked for it.

The original DVC logo with 3-mountains
The original DVC logo with 3-mountains

No gifts or other incentives were offered for visitors to go to the Vacation Club Preview Center and hear the sales pitch. The first 30 minutes of the sales presentation consisted of an informative and entertaining ten-minute multimedia overview about the Walt Disney Company followed by two six-minute video introductions to the key features, benefits, and realities of the Disney Vacation Club.

The rooms and amenities of the resort were positioned as upscale.

Standard DVC room amenities shown in 1991 brochure
Standard DVC room amenities shown in 1991 brochure (click for larger image)

Here is a photo from 1992 of the antique yellow bus under the portico at the Commodore House at the Disney Vacation Club resort. This bus was used to transport guests to the sales center and return them to their resort afterwards.

Antique yellow bus under the portico at the Commodore House 1992
Antique yellow bus under the portico at the Commodore House 1992

Commodore House had a covered porch that ran the entire length of the building looking over the golf pond. It had rocking chairs and was an elegant setting (and very conducive to selling a luxury timeshare). The porch was accessible from the ground as well as from the interior of the center – so guests could stroll along the porch and enjoy the rocking chairs even during after-hours for the sales center. Your DVC Guide would then walk with you next door to Building 16 to view the models.

With the benefit of Disney’s reputation for quality, a large consumer base, and a new twist on an old product, approximately one in four families who visited Commodore House decided to purchase. Around 1,500 sales were made during the first six months alone (an average sale consisting of 250 points – the minimum was 230 points). Sales in the first year totaled about $50 million. One fantastic perk that new buyers received back then was free theme park admission until Dec. 31, 1999.

DVC Free Park Admission Program for purchasers
DVC Free Park Admission Program for purchasers (click for larger image)

The Opening for Members

The Disney Vacation Club Resort opened for members using their membership on December 20, 1991 with just 50 units open, along with Turtle Krawl, the village center, and core recreational facilities, including a main swimming pool and two tennis courts.

Disney Vacation Club resort in 1991
Disney Vacation Club resort (click for larger image)

The resort continued to open in phases, with phase I completed in August 1992, phase II completed in October 1993, and phase III completed in May 1994. By the end of 1994, the resort was 45% sold.

Name Change

With the opening of Disney’s Vero Beach Resort in September 1995, the resort’s name needed to change. On January 15, 1996, the Disney Vacation Club Resort was renamed to Disney’s Old Key West Resort.

Disney's Old Key West Resort Logo
Disney’s Old Key West Resort

Final Expansion of OKW

In 1998, Old Key West Resort finally sold out, but then Disney announced a minor expansion. When DVC announced the Villas at the Wilderness Lodge in August 1998, they also announced that the Commodore House DVC Sales Center would be demolished to complete the plans for the resort. OKW buildings 62, 63 and 64 were constructed on the site of the Commodore House.

1998 demolition of Commodore House
1998 demolition of Commodore House

At that time, the DVC Sales Center was moved to Boardwalk Villas where it remained until sales began for Saratoga Springs in 2003. The WDW DVC sales center has been at the Saratoga Springs location ever since.

Old Key West Resort Today

Old Key West, the original “Disney Vacation Club” resort,  with its waterfront village of colorful, clapboard-sided vacation villas, created a new type of accommodation. For the first time, guests had access to an on-property resort with multiple bedrooms, several pools, a general store, various children’s play areas and outdoor barbecue grills.

The first members bought ownership in “The Disney Vacation Club” with no guarantee that additional resorts would ever be built. Yet here we are now with 13 DVC resorts available and certainly more in various stages of design and development.

For more information on Old Key West, see our OKW Resort page.

A look back at the early DVC marketing

Below is a DVC promotional video from 1993 with images of the Disney Vacation Club resort.

See Our Complete DVC History

For a comprehensive telling of the entire DVC story, please refer to our History of DVC section.

Dec 8 2016 DVC Annual Meeting

The annual Disney Vacation Club 2016 condominium association meeting took place, and I was in attendance as usual.

The DVC staff was kind enough to let me enter the conference room early, which was nice. They also let me follow the DVC staff through the same backstage route that they use to go to the large room used for member discussions after the annual meeting is over. We passed through the backstage production area, and it was much more elaborate than I had imagined. Of course, I was asked not to take any photos.

DVC Condominium Association Meeting Recap

Dec 8 2016 DVC Annual Meeting
Crowd in attendance

The key theme was that the “membership magic” introduced in 2016 for the twenty-fifth anniversary would continue – ever after. This includes the member lounge at Epcot as well as the special events. They did say they want to announce the special in-park events farther in advance than they did in 2016.

Dec 8 2016 DVC Annual Meeting
The Stage

They highlighted four areas of “membership magic”.

Dec 8 2016 DVC Annual Meeting
Membership Magic

The 2017 budgets were approved and the 2017 annual dues were discussed.

Dec 8 2016 DVC Annual Meeting
Ken Potrock and the Treasurer

They made a special effort to call out the Hurricane Matthew damage to Hilton Head Island resort (it was closed for 3 weeks). They also highlighted all the refurbishments that took place in 2016 (where 7 DVC resorts had refurbishments). Only Old Key West will be refurbished in 2017.

Dec 8 2016 DVC Annual Meeting
Hurricane damage
Dec 8 2016 DVC Annual Meeting
Annual dues for WDW properties
Dec 8 2016 DVC Annual Meeting
Dues for west coast and beach properties

They did show a computer-generated flyover of Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at the Wilderness Lodge. The audience was asked not to take pictures of the video, so none are included here. However, they did say the cabins will sleep 8 people. Sales dates will be announced soon.

Dec 8 2016 DVC Annual Meeting
Copper Creek Villas and Cabins

After the meeting, everyone left the meeting room to head to the reception room where refreshments and discussions were held.

Dec 8 2016 DVC Annual Meeting
Refreshments and discussions afterward

Since I went the backstage route, I was in this room for the reception prior to the general membership being allowed in, and I used the time for a discussion with Ken Potrock, SVP and General Manager of DVC.

When the public was admitted, I used the time to have conversations with DVC personnel, and of course, I had my photo taken with Mickey and Minnie.

Join the discussion of this event in our DVC discussion forum.

Refurbished rooms at Villas at the Grand Californian

An effort to refresh fabrics and decor at The Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel kicked off in 2016 and should be completed soon.

Below are some photos showing the resulting decor from this soft goods refurbishment.

Villas at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel

Villas at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel

Villas at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel

Villas at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel

Villas at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel

Villas at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel

Villas at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel

Villas at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel

Villas at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel

Villas at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel

Villas at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel

luaulei321 (Jennifer) was kind enough to provide the above photos.

Wilderness Lodge DVC Construction update

The new DVC expansion at the Wilderness Lodge is well under way. The cabins and villas for Copper Creek Villas and Cabins, as well as the new pool and dining for both the new DVC and the existing one (Boulder Ridge Villas), are all coming along.

Boulder Ridge Cove Pool

Disney Vacation Club announced today that Boulder Ridge Cove (the former Hidden Springs Pool) at Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge (formerly known as The Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge) is scheduled to open in summer 2017, featuring a larger sun deck and zero-entry pool. The new pool will feature an abandoned rock quarry theme, including a “Boulder Ridge Railway and Mining Co.” water tower and vintage mine cart.

Boulder Ridge Cove
Boulder Ridge Cove

Here is a closer look at the pool area.

Boulder Ridge Cove Pool
Boulder Ridge Cove Pool (click for larger image)

Geyser Point Bar & Grill

In addition to the new pool, there will be a brand-new Quick Service restaurant, Geyser Point Bar & Grill, located between the pool and lagoon.

Geyser Point Bar & Grill
Geyser Point Bar & Grill

Construction Video and Photos

Here is a brief video to give you an idea of the state of the construction.

Below are some photos of the current construction for more clarity.

Note: You can click on any of the photos below to see a larger version.

Copper Creek Villas and Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
South Wing conversion
Copper Creek Villas and Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Restaurant
Copper Creek Villas and Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Pool in foreground, restaurant in background

Copper Creek Villas and Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Copper Creek Villas and Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Copper Creek Villas and Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Copper Creek Villas and Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Copper Creek Villas and Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Copper Creek Villas and Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Copper Creek Villas and Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Copper Creek Villas and Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Copper Creek Villas and Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Copper Creek Villas and Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Copper Creek Villas and Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Copper Creek Villas and Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Copper Creek Villas and Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Copper Creek Villas and Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Copper Creek Villas and Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Copper Creek Villas and Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Copper Creek Villas and Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Copper Creek Villas and Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Copper Creek Villas and Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Copper Creek Villas and Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Copper Creek Villas and Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

 

Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge celebrates 16 years

In 1996, Disney Vacation Club opened it’s first mixed-use resort – part deluxe hotel and part DVC villas – at the BoardWalk.

Based on the success of Disney’s BoardWalk Villas, Disney decided to take a similar but slightly different approach with it’s next development. Instead of developing another brand new mixed-use resort, it decided for the first time to add on DVC villas at an existing deluxe hotel (a pattern which DVC would end up repeating many times).

In August 1998, with Disney’s Old Key West Resort recently sold out, Disney Vacation Development (DVD), operators of Disney Vacation Club (DVC), announced it’s fifth DVC resort. The third proposed ownership development at Walt Disney World Resort would be located immediately next to and adjoining Disney’s Wilderness Lodge in the Magic Kingdom Park Resort area.

Villas at the Wilderness Lodge site plan 1998
Villas at the Wilderness Lodge site plan 1998 (click for larger image)

Initial plans for the proposed DVC resort called for the development of a 136-unit free-standing, five-story vacation ownership resort consisting of studio, one- and two-bedroom vacation villas on a 4-acre site adjoining Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. Development was slated to begin in the spring of 1999.

DVC building Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge
DVC building Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

By building the resort on land immediately adjacent to the Wilderness Lodge, Disney was able to spend less on infrastructure items, such as parking and restaurants. “We’ll be able to take advantage of their front desk and all of their restaurants,” said Mariska Elia, a Vacation Club spokesman.

On April 14, 1999, Disney executives and resort industry representatives, along with a team of costumed Disney railway workers, officiated over the groundbreaking of the newest vacation ownership project — The Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge (VWL) — as they commemorated the “union” of two Disney resorts.

DVC building Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge
DVC building Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
DVC building Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge
DVC building Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

On November 15, 2000, The Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge opened and became the 5th DVC resort. Recalling the 1860’s railroad hotels of the American West, the villas offered the comforts of home amid the rustic and majestic beauty of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.

Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge
Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge logo

Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge
Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

On April 1, 2015, DVC opened Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows, which featured unique over the water bungalows.

In May 2015, Disney filed plans for an expansion of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge which included 26 standalone cabins. Plans included demolishing the Hidden Springs quiet pool. Besides the Hidden Springs pool, the beach, marina and playground were all closed as a result of the construction.

Wilderness Lodge DVC Expansion April 2015 plans
Wilderness Lodge DVC Expansion April 2015 plans (click for larger version)

It wasn’t until September 22, 2015 that Disney confirmed that the expansion would be DVC’s 14th development and the second at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.

Wilderness Lodge DVC Construction
Wilderness Lodge DVC Construction

Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney's Wilderness LodgeIn May 2016, DVC announced that the proposed new Disney Vacation Club Resort would be known as Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.

DVC also announced that the original Disney Vacation Club property at the resort – The Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge (VWL) – will be renamed Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge (BRV).

Hurricane Matthew impacts DVC Member Dues for Hilton Head Island Resort

Disney’s Hilton Head Island resort was damaged by Hurricane Matthew over the weekend of October 8, 2016. When DVC released the 2017 annual dues on November 7, 2016, the dues for Hilton Head Island were not released. We had suggested at that time that the delay might be related to Hurricane Matthew.

Well, DVC has released the 2017 annual dues for Hilton Head Island, and they rose from $6.8153 to $7.2728, an increase of $0.4575 per point, which is a 6.7128% increase.

The impact of Hurricane Matthew on the annual dues can be seen in two line items on the 2017 budget for Hilton Head Island.

Disney Loan

First, you will notice a new Developer Loan line item for 2017. Disney Vacation Development has made a loan to the Hilton Head Island Condominium Association to fund repairs related to Hurricane Matthew in the amount of $750,000, which is the estimated amount not covered under its insurance policy due to the deductible.

This loan will accrue interest at 1.33% per year compounded monthly and will be repaid by the Condominium Association in monthly installments over the next five years beginning January 1, 2017. The Association will make approximately $155,126 in payments on this loan in 2017.

Capital Reserves

Secondly, the Capital Reserves line item increased over 20% from last year (1.4352 a point to 1.6677 per point – an increase of $0.2325 per point).

2017 Budget for HHI

The complete 2017 budget for Hilton Head Island can be viewed here.

2017 DVC Resort Budgets

We published the new DVC annual dues for 2017, and you may be wondering what is behind the increase in dues?

Why are my annual dues rising?

Well, we have the 2017 DVC Resort Budgets so you can find out why. Even better, we have the last 4-8 years of DVC budgets for your resort shown side-by-side, so you can see trends in the various budget line items.

Descriptions of each line item on the resort budgets are available here.

2017 DVC Resort Budgets

Resort Budgets
Animal Kingdom Villas (AKV) resort budget
Aulani resort budget
Beach Club Villas (BCV) resort budget
Bay Lake Tower (BLT) resort budget
BoardWalk Villas (BWV) resort budget
Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge (BRV) resort budget
Hilton Head Island (HHI) resort budget
Old Key West (OKW) resort budget
Polynesian Villas & Bungalows (PVB) resort budget
Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa (SSR) resort budget
Vero Beach (VB) resort budget
Villas at the Grand Californian (VGC) resort budget
Villas at the Grand Floridian (VGF) resort budget

Note: Budgets for Aulani and Hilton Head Island have not yet been released.