June 20, 2018

Walt Disney World Resort Hotels: The Value Resorts!

Hello everyone! I hope you are well! In today’s Disney post, we are talking all about the Value Resorts at Walt Disney World! I’m going to take you through all of the different resorts at this level, give a brief breakdown of types of rooms available (and the pricing as of June 2018), and a little bit about each resort. I will be going through all Walt Disney World Resorts in the coming weeks. If you’d like to stay on site at Walt Disney World, this post series is for you! Okay, let’s get started!

What is a Value Resort?

The Value Resorts are the lowest level of resorts at Walt Disney World, therefore they are the least expensive! The themes are more “in your face Disney” and are generally very popular with families. School groups tend to stay at the Values as well. Value Resorts have larger than life statues of characters from Disney films, and each resort has a different theme. Within the resorts there are different sections, and each section has a pool, with the largest pool being closest to the main building! All resorts have a food court, arcade, shop, and basic hotel amenities. Okay, let’s get to the resorts!

The All Stars!

There are 3 All Star Resorts, all close to each other in the Animal Kingdom resort section of Walt Disney World. Prices start at $110/night (as of June 8th, 2018.)

 

All Star Music– This resort opened 1994, and I stayed here in 1997 on my 1st trip to Walt Disney World! Sections of the resort are different genres of music, and I remember staying in the Country section! They have two types of room configurations: 2 Double beds, or a family suite that includes 1 queen bed, 1 twin sleeper chair, 1 double size sleeper sofa. Standard location or preferred location (close to the main building) is available. Intermissions is the name of the food court.

The Value Resorts

All Star Movies– This resort opened in 1999! It has different sections themed to different movies like Fantasia, Toy Story, 101 Dalmatians and more! All rooms have 2 double beds, and standard or preferred rooms are available. The food court is called World Premier! Look at the film reel railings! It’s all in the details.

The Value Resorts

All Star Sports– All Star Sports opened in 1994! Each section is themed to different sports, like football, tennis, and more! All rooms have 2 double beds, and standard and preferred rooms are available. End Zone is the name of the food court. Most sports groups (like cheerleaders) stay here when they visit Walt Disney World for tournaments.

The Value Resorts

Notes about the All Stars

  • school groups tend to stay here because they are the least expesive
  • cheerleading and sports groups are the same
  • They are fairly far away from Magic Kingdom
  • Your room (if you don’t go for preferred location) can be far away from the bus stop (10 minute walk or more)
  • In the lower seasons, the All Star Resorts sometimes share buses

pop century

Rooms starting at $120/night (as of June 8th, 2018). Resort is in the Wide World of Sports Resort area.

Pop Century Resort opened in 2003! Each section is themed to a decade, from the 50’s to the 90’s. The rooms have either 2 double beds, 1 king bed, or 1 queen bed and 1 queen table bed. The entire resort is undergoing renovations (one section at a time), and the rooms are really nice! The views are standard, standard pool view, preferred, or preferred pool view. The food court is called Everything Pop! I’ve stayed here 3 times and as of right now it’s my favourite Value Resort! This was the first resort we stayed in an accessible room, and it was in a preferred location which was nice! I also find that the resort area is more central, and it’s a bit faster to get to each of the parks.

 

The Value Resorts

art of animation

Starting at $155/night, $342/night for suites (as of June 8th, 2018). Also in the Wide World of Sports area. Pop Century and Art of Animation are connected by a bridge! The gondola system will be coming to these resorts as well! (Estimated completion mid 2019).

Art of Animation is the newest Value resort, and it opened May 2012. It’s a little different than the other Values!  I would call it Moderate-lite (next level up of resorts), or value-plus. There are 4 sections, 3 are made up of family suites (Finding Nemo, The Lion King, and Cars) and 1 section is standard rooms (Little Mermaid). For the family suites, all rooms have 1 queen bed, 1 double table bed and 1 double size sleeper sofa. For the standard rooms, you get either 2 double beds or 1 king. These rooms are HEAVILY themed to the section, and they look awesome. I hope to stay here someday! Little Mermaid section would be my first choice. (Ethan and I actually considered staying there on our trip in 2013, but with the room discount available we stayed at a Moderate resort for close to the same price). The food court is called Landscape of Flavors, and is supposed to be one of the best food courts of the Value Resorts!

The Value Resorts

 

Random Tips!

  • stay in a preferred room if you can, it’s worth the time saved walking back to the rooms!
  • if you are going to be in the parks all day, save some money and stay at a value
  • because lots of families stay here, there tend to be a lot of buses at the end of the night at the parks!

If you’d like to listen to me talk about the different resorts instead of reading about them, check out the video below!

 

If you’d like to learn more about these resorts, visit the Walt Disney World website here.

 

Thank you so much for joining me today! Have you ever stayed at a Value Resort? Let me know in the comments below!

Kelsey
June 6, 2018

Summer at Walt Disney World!

Hello everyone, I hope you are well! The weather has really been heating up lately, which got me thinking about summer, and summer at Walt Disney World! Today I’ll be sharing the special events you can look forward to if you are visiting Walt Disney World this summer! Okay, let’s get started!

Summer at Walt Disney World

 

hot hot hot!

If you are visiting Walt Disney World this summer, it’s going to be hot! Make sure to check out my post with tips to staying cool in the summer!

 h20 glow parties at Typhoon Lagoon

Running select nights from June 21st to August 11th (every Thursday and Saturday from 8pm-11pm), this looks like it would be so much fun! I’ve never been to the water parks at night! Themed from the short (which you should watch if you’ve never seen it!) Rex is your Dinosaur of Ceremonies, and the party includes dance parties, special food, and fun for the whole family!

Tickets are $55 per adult and $50 per child (ages 3-9) plus tax. Guests can arrive as early as 7pm.

While it is on the expensive side, I think it’s a cool idea and it would be fun to see Typhoon Lagoon all glowed up!

Summer at Walt Disney World

incredible summer

The Incredible Tomorrowland Expo runs from May 25th to September 3rd, 2018 and takes place in Tomorrowland at Magic Kingdom! With character interactions, photo ops and special food, it looks like a fun place to be!

Summer at Walt Disney World

Guardians of the Galaxy at Epcot

From June 9th to August 19th, 2108 the Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Live! concert series will be happening at Epcot! The concerts will be taking place 5 times daily, and it looks like it would be fun! With Gamora, Starlord and a band of aliens, they will be playing classics from the 70’s and 80’s!

Summer at Walt Disney World

Donald’s Dino Bash at Animal Kingdom

Beginning May 25th, Dinoland USA is getting a party! Scrooge McDuck will greet guests as well as Launchpad McQuack and Donald himself! There’s also a dance party! I’ve seen some footage on Instagram of Chip and Dale in their dinosaur costumes dancing, and I would even visit them (considering I HATE dinosaurs). It looks like it will bring some life to a pretty boring area of Animal Kingdom (that I don’t know why it exists in the first place, but that’s a different story).

Summer at Walt Disney World

Toy Story Land!!

An exciting addition coming to Hollywood Studios coming June 30th! It’s going to be BUSY, so try and book your Fastpass+ as soon as your window opens! If that’s not possible, try to be there for park opening, and try when Fantasmic and the fireworks are going on!

Toy Story Land has 2 new rides: Slinky Dog Dash and Alien Swirling Saucers, plus Toy Story Midway Mania and a new quick service location called Woody’s Lunch Box!

For more information on everything mentioned, visit the Walt Disney World website!

Other posts in the series:

Fall at Walt Disney World

Winter at Walt Disney World

January and February at Walt Disney World

Spring at Walt Disney World

Are you headed to Walt Disney World this summer? Let me know in the comments!

 

Thank you so much for reading!

Kelsey
May 23, 2018

All About Disney Vacation Club!

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s Disney post! Since one of my most popular videos so far is all about our Disney Vacation Club Story, I thought I would do a post all about DVC! More informative than a story of how we became members, and if you have any questions you can comment below! I’m am writing everythink I can think of when it comes to Disney Vacation Club, so this post is a bit of a long one! Okay, let’s get started!

All about Disney Vacation Club

What is Disney Vacation Club?

Disney Vacation Club is Disney’s timeshare program. By purchasing points, you are purchasing real estate interest in one of their hotels, not just in Walt Disney World, but all over with locations in California, North Carolina, and of course Florida. By purchasing a certain number of points, you recieve that allotment  each year. You get a “use year” which is the month you recieve your points for the year. For example, ours is October.

Disney Vacation Club is available at the following Resorts:

  • Aulani (Hawaii)
  • Bay Lake Tower
  • Bolder Ridge Villas and Copper  Creek Villas at Wilderness Lodge
  • Jambo House and Kidani Village at Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • Beach Club
  • Boardwalk
  • Hilton Head (South Carolina)
  • Old Key West
  • Polynesian
  • Saratoga Springs
  • Vero Beach
  • Grand Californian (California)
  • Grand Floridian
  • Riviera Resort (coming in 2019)

Prices vary by resort, but currently through Disney points are in the $170 range. It’s definitely an investment!

How Does it work?

DVC is a bit different than a “normal” timeshare, because you are NOT limited to a specific time of year or resort. You purchase a number of points, and different resorts, room sizes, and different times of year cost different numbers of points. Each year you receive your certain number of points, and the month you receive them is known as your use year. Ours is October. If you purchase multiple contracts, they can have different use years. It makes it a little bit more confusing, but can definitely be done.

You are purchasing a contact that has an expiry date, some of them are 50 years. You can pay up front or finance the purchase, and the only yearly cost is maintenence fees or “annual dues”, were are paid per point. Dues can be around $11 per point, but are slowly increasing and vary by resort. Different resorts are more expensive and less expensive, and the ending year of the contract will play into that. Generally buying directly from Disney is more expensive than buying through the resale market, which I speak of below.

All About Disney Vacation Club

 

What is a home resort?

A home resort is the resort on your contract. You can book vacations at this resort 11 months in advance. For example, ours is Disney’s Polynesian Village. If I were to book a trip right now, I could book a trip starting 11 months from today, at the Polynesian. If I wanted to book at a different resort, I could only book a trip starting 7 months from today. For popular resorts, accommodations might not be available. This is where it becomes important to like you home resort, because in very busy times of the year, you may only be able to stay there.

What type of rooms are available?

DVC rooms are generally referred to as Villas, and are a little bit different than the “normal” rooms at Walt Disney World. You can book to stay in a studio, deluxe studio, 1 bedroom villa, 2 bedroom villa, and 3 bedroom grand villas that sleep up to 12 people. Deluxe studios include a kitchenette, and 1 bedrooms and up have a full kitchen and laundry.

  • Deluxe Studio (sleeps up to 5 people)
  • 1 Bedroom Villa (sleeps up to 5 people)
  • 2 Bedroom Villa (sleeps up to 10 people)
  • 3 Bedroom Villa (sleeps up to 12 people)

Where do I buy?

I speak a little more about this below, but I think you should buy at a resort you would like to stay at. The nice thing is you don’t have to stay there all the time!

Disney is only selling a few resorts directly, and others you may have to go on a waitlist for. Otherwise, you can purchase through the resale market. Because there are only a certain number of rooms at each resort that are DVC specific, resorts sell out.

All About Disney Vacation Club

Buying direct vs. buying resale

There are benefits for buying directly from Disney (which we did), but there is also a resale market that is cheaper. The minimum for buying direct is 75 points currently, and I’ve laid out some of the benefits below. There are a lot of people who buy the minimum number of points directly, and buy larger contracts through resale. I think if we ever added another contract, it would be via the resale market.

benefits of being a member

There are quite a few benefits of being a Disney Vacation Club member. In addition to merchandise and Halloween and Christmas party discounts, there are special Moonlight Magic events at the parks only for members, plus member cruises, as well as the member lounge in the Imagination Pavilion at Epcot! To get the extras, you need to buy direct because you receive a membership card when buying from Disney, not through the resale market. These bonuses could be taken away at any point, but there are some advantages to buying directly through Disney.

The “buy where you want to stay vs. buying where’s cheapest” debate

There’s a bit of a debate within the DVC community, encouraging people to buy where is cheapest, or buy where you want to stay. I see points on each side, and sort of sit in the middle. It’s great to buy where is cheapest because you can really stay at any resort, but I think you should buy where you’d be okay staying, because during busy times of years it may be your only option.

All About Disney Vacation Club

is it worth it?

In my opninon, yes. But you have to use it for it to be worth it. If you generally stay at deluxe resorts, you will save money. If you aren’t going to use it for 10 years or more- rent instead of buying. (more on that below). It is a large investment, and you should do lots of research before buying. I’ve linked some helpful websites at the bottom of the post. 🙂

Banking & Borrowing Points

You can bank points for one year, and borrow one year ahead. You have to banked your points by a certain date to avoid losing them. In our case, we had x number of 2017 points left from our last trip (where we borrowed some points). We had to bank those points by May or use them. We banked them. When booking a vacation outside of the use year for example in November, I had to bank the 2017 points before I could select them to use, otherwise it defaulted to using the 2018 points (which we haven’t technically received yet because we get our allotment in October).

For our last trip (which we had 9 people in 4 rooms) we used all of our 2015 points from the current use year, used out 2016 points that we would receive before our trip in November, and borrowed points from 2017.

 

All About Disney Vacation Club

A Note on RCI & Cruises.

Disney has partnered with RCI, meaning you can stay in locations around the World, and you can also use points for Disney cruises. But it’s not a very wise use of points- you would be better off getting money for your points through renting, and paying cash for the vacation.

Try before you buy

Rent point through a company. You still get rooms cheaper than booking through Disney, and can get a feel for the accommodations! We intended to do this but failed. I would suggest using a company like David’s Vacation Club Rentals (linked at the bottom of the post) or another broker, instead of finding someone on the internet. You are essentially paying someone to use their points, and they make the reservation for you. A broker helps to protect you!

Booking online is easy!

I may have booked a trip using points recently, (although it may not be to where you are thinking), and it was easy! Just like booking a hotel, it just took a little bit to make sure I was booking using the correct points. You can also call to make reservations, but you obviously have to be a member to do so. We booked our first trip over the phone.

 

If you’d rather listen to me talk than read all of the information above, check out the video below!

Helpful Links

Disney Vacation Club Website

Mouse Owners

David’s Vacation Club Rentals

DVC Resale Market

There are also booths in the parks and resorts for more information. If you book a tour while at Walt Disney World, you may get free FastPasses or other incentives!

 

Questions?

If you have any questions about Disney Vacation Club, comment below and I will do my best to answer them!

Thank you for reading!

 

Kelsey