Disney Vacation Club held its annual Condominium Association Meeting on Thursday, December 13 at Disney's Contemporary Resort. Among the new information shared with members were the first model room photos for the Grand Floridian property and word of bedding changes planned for most resorts.
The association meetings are a legal requirement with Disney representatives often approving budgets and resort changes which Disney itself has spearheaded. Members have little opportunity to participate in the meeting, however it can serve as a platform for making announcements which impact all Vacation Club owners.
Disney Vacation Club board (VP Claire Bilby in red)
With several resort budgets seeing 5-6% increases in the coming calendar year, questions had been raised as to why resort costs continue to escalate. The answer frequently lay in two areas: resort staffing costs and bedding changes planned for most DVC resorts.
DVC projects that total compensation for Florida-based employees will rise 3-20% with benefit costs (health care, etc.) being a significant driver of those increases. In California employee wages & benefits are expected to rise more than 6% in the coming year.
Meanwhile, a change in bedding at most resorts will also result in higher housekeeping costs for many owners. Disney plans to eliminate the heavy bedspreads in most resorts and replace them with a "triple sheeted" bedding which is becoming the industry standard. Bedding will consist of three layers: a flat sheet, a blanket and a designer top sheet.
This bedding configuration is already in place at Aulani, Disney Vacation Club Villas and the Villas at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel. Other resorts will be transitioned to the new system in 2013 and 2014. Disney intends to pay the cost of the initial transition while member dues will be charged for day-to-day housekeeing, future bedding replacement and other related charges.
Property taxes also drove up ownership costs for many resorts while others--like Disney's Old Key West Resort and Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa--saw increased operating costs partially offset by reduced tax rates.
Disney Vacation Club Vice President Claire Bilby shared photos of model rooms for the forthcoming villas at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort. Legal filings are still being completed for the property and Bilby would only say that sales will begin "soon." The new property remains on track to open in the fall of 2013.
Grand Floridian Model Villa
A popular member perk is being extended through 2013. All members staying at Disney Vacation Club resorts using their points can continue to access Bay Lake Tower's Top of the World lounge. Execs stresed that the resort does not have sufficient parking for non-Bay Lake guests wishing to visit the lounge--Disney transportation must be used to reach the resort. Due to expected high crowds, the lounge will be available only to Bay Lake Tower guests on July 3 & 4 and December 30 & 31, 2013.
Finally Claire Bilby indicated that DVC continues to investigate new exclusive member merchandise. The one item showcased is a prototype iPhone case, pictured here along with an exclusive design created for recent DVC Member Cruises. Some customization options may also be offered.
DVC iPhone Covers
A more comprehensive summary of the 2012 Condo Association meeting will be published in a few days. Additional details can also be found on the DVCNews.com Twitter feed.
What do you think of the format used at this year's Annual Meeting compared to the old format?
Mixed feelings. Two things changed: no entertainment and no open Q&A.
I really didn't miss the entertainment. Bringing in hula dancers and fire eaters to promote Aulani didn't do much for me. I think we've all seen plenty of YouTube videos of similar promotional events and being there live really didn't add much. Nobody walked away from the meetings proud to have bragging rights for having seen the Main Street Marching Band in a ballroom or a special performance by the Dapper Dans. It was just fluff.
The Q&A was missed a bit. I do think it's interesting hearing from other members. Some of the questions are a little off-the-wall but others are well thought-out. When a member asks for something like Tables in Wonderland access--and the room erupts in applause--it gets their attention.
One meeting I attended was every bit of 3 hours. This one was only 75 minutes. I'd have been OK with a happy medium there...maybe 15-20 minutes of additional Q&A, then refer it to the ball room for more personal interaction.