2016 was a banner year for Disney Vacation Club and its owners. While celebrating the timeshare program's 25th anniversary, members enjoyed new exclusive experiences--many of them complimentary--along with expanded discounts, resort refurbishments and rumors of destinations to come.
Let's take a look back at the year that was 2016.
Disney Vacation Club got the ball rolling early in January 2016 with a members-only theme park ticket offer and news of the Epcot member lounge and exclusive theme park events planned throughout the year. DVCNews took an exclusive look at how DVC has altered its foreclosure process and presented details on the fold down Murphy Beds being added to many Deluxe Studio villas.
February was filled with refurbishment details as work began at Disney's Beach Club Villas, Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort and the exterior of Disney's BoardWalk. In a change from recent pricing philosophy, DVC reintroduced sales incentives for members adding points at Disney's Polynesian Villas & Bungalows. And all Disney theme park fans learned their trips may soon cost more with the debut of seasonal pricing on park tickets.
Vero Beach refurbished room
Renovations at Disney's Vero Beach Resort got underway in March, while Walt Disney World took a swing at pricey, exclusive E-Ticket Nights with its "Disney After Hours" program. We also got our first look at renovated rooms at the Beach Club.
In April, we learned that base prices would soon rise to $171 per point for Aulani, Disney Vacation Club Villas and the Polynesian, but Disney also revealed that the promotional incentives were here to stay. Meanwhile, in an apparent effort to boost direct sales, DVC declared that from April 6 onward, member perks would only be granted to members who owned points purchased directly from Disney.
The "Disney After Hours" program seemingly struggled with Disney offering free and later half-price admission to owners. And we heard our first rumor of a name for the new DVC project at Disney's Wilderness Lodge...a rumor which wound up being accurate.
Typhoon Lagoon Beach Bash
The Wilderness Lodge name was confirmed in May, while Disney Vacation Club published dates for the holiday Merry Member Mixers, unveiled a behind the scenes tour of Soarin in California and showed-off some new member merchandise. Meanwhile direct sales of DVC points continued to rise in the wake of the purchase incentives and perk restrictions.
June brought us the opening of the members-only lounge at Epcot, our first look at renovations to Bay Lake Tower and an update on Wilderness Lodge construction. But the big news was a tragic alligator attack which would prompt sweeping guest safety modifications across Walt Disney World property. Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort was also linked to rumors of a future Disney Vacation Club property.
New pool hopping restrictions hit in July, while the DVC members-only Beach Bash at Typhoon Lagoon waterpark was a big hit. DVC revealed that it would continue with the popular signature events for members, including a late-2016 exclusive at Disney California Adventure park.
Member Lounge at Epcot
In August, DVCNews contributor David Mumpower completed his 3-part Disney Vacation Club timeline. Another future DVC rumor made the rounds, this one aimed at Disney's Contemporary Resort. Disney's Aulani resort turned five years old. We got our first look at a refurbished room at Disney's Vero Beach Resort, along with news that Disney's Old Key West Resort would go under the knife beginning in 2017. Oh, and our own DVCNews.com underwent a refurbishment of its own.
A little fuel was added to those Caribbean Beach rumors in September (although as of this writing, there is nothing new to report.). Meanwhile DVC hosted the member-exclusive "Safari Spectacular" events at Disney's Animal Kingdom.
October started with a bang as Walt Disney World announced enhanced annual pass perks in conjunction with the park's 45th anniversary. Also the member discount for merchandise at most Disney owned shops increased from 10% to 20% off retail. Hurricane Matthew impacted both the Vero Beach and Hilton Head Island resorts with the latter closed for nearly a month to deal with storm damage. DVCNews contributor Wil Lovato took an indepth look at property taxes at the Disney Vacation Club resorts. And DVC revealed that the free members-only, after-hours event at the Magic Kingdom would be back in 2017.
Wilderness Lodge Construction
Annual Dues notices started to arrive in November, revealing increases which ranged from .27% to more than 6% for some resorts. Among the details revealed in the dues notices was the fact that Hilton Head owners would be required to pay the insurance deductible for Hurricane Matthew damage. The popular Soarin tour which previously debuted in California was making its way to Florida, too. New MagicBands were introduced, Disney provided a preview of the new Wilderness Lodge pool and members were delighted to hear that the Epcot lounge would remain open at least through 2017.
Finally as the year came to a close, Disney Vacation Club hosted its annual Condo Association Meeting and Merry Member Mixers in December, and published the new points charts for the 2018 calendar year.
DVC Board addresses Condo Meeting attendees
Over the past year, DVCNews.com posted more than 400 stories to the website covering all of the Disney Vacation Club world. 2016 was our ninth year of serving the DVC community. We could not do it without the invaluable assistance of feature writers, moderators and other contributors, most notably Wil and Denise Lovato, Marilyn Garfinkel, David Welty and David Mumpower.
As the new year begins, we thank all of our readers and look toward another year of serving the entire Disney Vacation Club community!