Tag Archives: DVC

Upping the Ante/Satisfied DVC Member

In nineteen days, I get on an airplane and fly to Orlando International Airport. Then I get to transfer to Magical Express and head to Disney’s Old Key West Resort. Hot-dang! So…

  1. Today I upped my daily walk by five minutes. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but to me it is a lot. (Thank you to Noom for encouraging me to walk further!) The featured photo for today’s blog was taken about ten minutes after my walk. I was pooped, hot, sweaty, a little bit cranky, yet invigorated. It felt good to push myself that extra five minutes.  So that is one of my major accomplishments for today.
  2. Also today, I took care of some vacation business. I called Magical Express directly, because only five of the eight of us traveling for this trip received our luggage tags. (We want them all because it is so nice to drop your luggage at your home airport and have it delivered directly to your hotel room. Man, I LOVE this service! Disney Vacation Club, [DVC], you rock]) I had a three minute wait for a rep, who then reissued our tags, so we will receive a new set of eight tags in seven to ten days. Mischief managed!
  3. Then I called DVC Member Services and waited fifteen minutes for a Cast Member who helped me to tweak my reservation. Cribs are sorted out for the little ones. We don’t need the Pack n’ Plays that Disney provides, because the kids rented cribs to be delivered and picked up instead. And I requested to be in a building with an elevator. Usually our three bedroom grand villa in one story up. After a day in the parks, I am absolutely dragging and climbing those steps can be the last straw. There is no guarantee we’ll get that request, but if it is available, then we’ll get it. (Please, please, please…)

So anyway, it’s been a good day so far. I hope you are having a good day, too.

Meet me at the Kingdom.

Donna

Online Check-In

Wow! Only 32 days until our Walt Disney World Vacation! Woo hoo! Whoopee!

That being said, I am a little bit frustrated. The Disney Vacation Club site has been not working as it should for at least three days now. This means I have not been able to complete online check-in at Disney’s Old Key West. As a DVC (Disney Vacation Club) member I am supposed to be able to check-in online up to 60 days in advance. Well, I’m only 32 days away. I have called in the last three days in a row, and so far, no luck. I will persevere, however, it is a bummer! I know I’ve been spoiled by great Disney service, so I feel like a bit of a baby about this. After all, I do still have 31 days to get this done. But geez.

Here’s what the DVC website has to say about Online Check-In:

Online Check-In service is available at select Disney Vacation Club Resorts and Walt Disney World Resort hotels in the Disney Collection. Enjoy a simplified Check-In process when you pre-register online prior to your arrival.

  • Check in 60 days prior to arrival at all Walt Disney World Resort hotels.
  • Check in 10 days prior to arrival at:
    • Disney’s Vero Beach Resort
    • Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort
    • Aulani, Disney Vacation Club Villas, Ko Olina, Hawaiʻi
  • Check in is available beginning 45 days prior to arrival, up to and including the arrival date, at Disney Cruise Line.

Then, if you have opted for Online Check-In and given your cell phone number, you should be able to go directly to your room when you receive a text saying that your room is ready. Otherwise, when you arrive at your Resort hotel, simply head to the Online Check-In Desk where your Welcome Folder will be waiting. Show your valid photo I.D. and you’re on your way!

Man! I love Disney service so much! The cast members are helpful above and beyond. That has been my experience every single time. Am I just lucky, or are they just that good? Disney is known throughout the world for their customer service. So…they are just that good!

This computer problem will be solved, and I will get checked in before we arrive at the resort. So let it be written; so let it be done. Amen!

Meet me at the Kingdom!

Donna

Disney Vacation Club Member

Now I have only 35 days until heading to Walt Disney World. While there I will be staying at Disney’s Old Key West Resort. I am a Disney Vacation Club Member, and Old Key West is my home resort. When I check in, I will be greeted, “Welcome, home!” And after all this time, it does feel like home away from home. It is so Florida-looking with palm trees and waterways every little while. It smells like citrus and suntan lotion and vacation. It feels warm and mild and, depending on the time of year, muggy. I love it!

Here’s some of what Disney has to say about Disney Vacation Club:

Disney Vacation Club is a vacation ownership program—or timeshare—that helps you stay close to the magic. As a Member, you can enjoy a more cost-effective way of taking Disney vacations.

Membership & How It Works

To become a Member, you purchase a real estate interest in a Disney Vacation Club Resort. This is your Home Resort.

Your real estate interest is represented by an annual allotment of Vacation Points. You’ll use your Vacation Points to reserve accommodations in one of the many vacation destinations available to Members.

Vacation Destinations
As a Member, you can enjoy access to accommodations at your Home Resort or another Disney Vacation Club Resort. You can also choose from thousands of other vacation options in destinations around the world.

Home Resort Priority
At your Home Resort, you can take advantage of the Home Resort Priority Period, which allows you to make reservations 11 months in advance. Members who do not have an ownership interest at that Resort can book up to 7 months in advance. (*This is why I held out until I could purchase my points at Old Key West. It is my favorite resort. It has the largest rooms, and the most laid back atmosphere.)

Vacation Points & Booking Flexibility
With more Vacation Points, you can enjoy extra flexibility when planning vacations. If you’re thinking of becoming a Member, you’ll want to consider the number of Vacation Points that’s right for your vacation lifestyle.

Value & Savings

Disney Vacation Club offers value and potential savings on accommodations as you enjoy Disney vacations for years to come.

Value
By becoming a Member, you are locking in today’s purchase price. You can use your Membership to enjoy decades of future stays at Disney Vacation Club Resorts, which feature spacious 1-Bedroom Villas, 2-Bedroom Villas and 3-Bedroom Grand Villas that offer many of the comforts of home.

Savings
Members can save up to 50% on future Disney Vacation Club Resort accommodations over the life of the Membership.

Why Disney Vacation Club?

Disney Heritage
Disney Vacation Club celebrates the heritage, traditions and values that began with Walt Disney himself. The Disney difference begins with a unique sales approach and continues throughout the lifetime of your Membership—whether you’re on a vacation or planning your next trip.

A Personalized Sales Experience
Enjoy a personalized experience with a knowledgeable Disney Vacation Club Guide—a helpful resource for you as you research Membership. They’re happy to answer any questions you may have about Disney Vacation Club and how it can work for your family.

Disney Vacations
As a Member, you can look forward to magical vacations in Disney destinations. Highlights include:

  • Accommodations at uniquely-themed Disney Vacation Club Resorts designed by Disney Imagineers—with spacious villas that offer many of the comforts of home
  • Convenient proximity to Disney theme parks at most Disney Vacation Club Resorts 
  • Service that exemplifies the Disney standard of excellence

Enjoy the freedom to choose when, where and how often you vacation! As a Disney Vacation Club Member, you’ll receive an annual allotment of Vacation Points (“Points”), which represent your real estate interest in a Disney Vacation Club Resort. You’ll use Points to book your accommodations—and you’re never locked in to a specific Resort, time of year, type of accommodations or length of stay.

We go every three years by banking one year’s points and borrowing one years points. That way we have three years of points to use on out vacations. It allows us a bigger space for a longer amount of time.

One of the best things about being a DVC member is you have access to Member Services. I have always had great service from them. But today I ran into a snag. I had emailed them to reserve Magical Express for Jake, Eliza and Linnie. They emailed me back saying they could only help DVC Members, and I was not a member. Imagine my surprise…I’ve been a member now since 2010. So after I calmed down, I called Member Services. The gentleman I spoke with was wonderful. He was able to straighten everything out, and assured me that all was well with my membership status. Whew! It is a 40 year membership, so I figure I have 32 years left on the contract. (I know, I know, I probably won’t live to be 94 years old, but the kids can use it.)

Anyway, I highly recommend membership in Disney Vacation Club. I love it; I use it, I recommend it!

Meet me at the Kingdom!

Donna

Be Our Guest Restaurant

Forty-five days from now we head to Walt Disney World. As I think about our travel day to Florida, I am filled with excitement and anticipation. To have Mike and I, the kids, their spouses, and the grandbabies there all in that special place will be a little slice of heaven on earth.

On our sixth full day in Florida, we plan to attend Mickey’s-Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. Although the party doesn’t start until 7:00 pm, our special event tickets will let us enter Magic Kingdom at 4:00 pm. (Although I’ve read that as DVC members, we could enter as early as 2:00 pm.) This will be plenty of time to make our early dinner reservation at the Beast’s Castle, which is the site of Be Our Guest Restaurant. This is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful dining locations in Walt Disney World. It does have a prix fixe menu, which means it is a Signature Dining event, so it’s a bit expensive, but worth the experience. Some of us ate here three years ago, and it was a magnificent evening. Here’s what Disney has to say about it:

Enter the Beast’s enchanted castle for a quick-service breakfast, lunch or an unforgettable sit-down dinner—bon appétit! 

Lamb chops on a plate with mushrooms, potatoes, spinach, sauce and herbs

Dine in Palatial Splendor

Feast on French-inspired fare in one of our elaborately themed rooms—straight out of the beloved Disney classic!

Be Our Guest Restaurant is an expansive and elegant 550-seat dining destination located at the foot of Beast’s Castle in Fantasyland. Whether you are enjoying a quick-service breakfast or lunch, or the stately elegance of a table-service dinner, you can select from 1 of 3….

Royal Rooms for Loyal Subjects
Be Our Guest offers 3 meticulously imagineered dining areas, each designed to immerse our Guests in the heartwarming mystery and romance of Beauty and the Beast:

  • The Grand Ballroom – Go for baroque in this magnificent ballroom with its high, domed ceiling, chandeliers and snow-laced Gothic arches.
  • The West Wing – Dine in the Beast’s mysterious West Wing study—if you dare—and perhaps you’ll even spy his enchanted rose.
  • The Castle Gallery – Get swept up in the romance of Belle’s private library, and inspired by the larger-than-life figures of Belle and Beast dancing.

Each room is exquisite—but which best befits your royal visit? All 3 venues share the same menu, so whichever you choose, you cannot lose!

Steak on a plate with green beans, a biscuit, roasted onions and sauce

Reservations

Start planning for a delectable meal at Be Our Guest Restaurant!

Make Reservations
Reservations are strongly recommended for all meals—especially dinner—and can be made up to 180 days in advance. Please make your dining reservations as early as possible!

A mother and daughter and son enjoy dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant in Fantasyland

Enhanced Dinner

Prepare to be pampered as the dining room presents… your dinner!

Our new standard dinner includes a prix fixe, 3-course menu featuring French-inspired dishes that are très délicieux.

Start your meal with a sumptuous appetizer like French onion soup, charred octopus, escargot or a selection of assorted meats and artisanal cheeses. For your main course, feast on a medley of mouthwatering entrées—including filet mignon, smoked black-eye pea tortellini, seafood bouillabaisse and other savory delights. After, save some room for one of our delectable desserts.

I’m so looking forward to a fun, family-filled evening with a Halloween theme. Meet me at the Kingdom.

Donna

 

Carrying On

Hello Dear Readers,

I hope this post finds you healthy and at peace.

In just 5 days I will call Disney and schedule our next trip to Walt Disney World. We hope to go on October 20 of next year. Because we are Disney Vacation Club members, we can call and book our home resort, Old Key West, 11 months in advance. Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, we will have 8 nights and 9 days at Disney: Mike, Emi, James, Ida, Jake, Eliza, Baby Jarvi and me.

This time it won’t be so much about time in the parks, although we will have tickets for 5 days. This time it will be all about the babies. Ida will be 2 & 1/2 and Baby Jarvi will be 8 months old. Dumbo, Prince Charming Carousel, Meeting Mickey, It’s a Small World and splashing in the water fountains will be the focus of our days. Probably just a few hours in the parks and then time at Old Key West.

I take none of this for granted. I know that if we are all there it will truly be a gift from God. I am doing my part to be there. As of this morning, I am 54.4 pounds down since May. I am learning how to eat as a diabetic. Now I just need to start moving more. Please pray that I can and do move more.

May God bless and keep you, dear Readers. Meet you at the Kingdom.

Donna

Being Accountable

The thing that bothers me about blogs, is that they seem so narcissistic. “This is me. This is what I know. This is what I do. Me, me, me, me, me….blah! I think of that each time I make an entry here. Even I get tired of reading about me, thinking about me, examining me. I am not writing this blog because I NEED an audience. I am writing this blog to keep myself accountable for the choices I am making everyday. Will I really move more? Will I really take control of the portions that I eat? Will I really make better food choices to actually feed my body and not just stuff myself with empty calories? Will I really test my blood glucose every day.  So this is my way of being accountable.

In that vein, let me share that I am having a very good day. Two meals consumed so far, nutritious and appropriately proportioned. Activity? I vacuumed the living room, changed the 4 ink cartridges in the printer, bagged some clothes to give away, worked the cat litter (Ugh!) and I plan to do some laundry today.

Now, why is this still called a Disney blog? Because it is a wonderful motivation for me. We had planned to go and spend four days at Disneyland Paris in the fall of 2018; however for our same amount of DVC (Disney Vacation Club) points, we can spend 8 nights in a Grand Villa at Walt Disney World in Florida. I want to be able to enjoy that time as much as possible. Watching my first grandchild (Ida, sweetest and smartest baby girl!) discover all things Mickey is a very exciting prospect! And sharing that time with the family? The best! I will use some visualization of that reunion when things get tough; it will help me to carry on. It may sound ridiculous, but Old Key West is my “laughing place.” (“Everybody has a laughing place, a laughing place to go-ho-ho.” From the movie Song of the South. Hmmm… no wonder I like Splash Mountain so much.) When I finally get there, I exhale and truly relax.

My latest Disney discovery is a book titled, “the easy guide to your Walt Disney World visit.” I really like it because it is snippets of info, rather than long tomes and epic-sized missives. In the Twitter universe where we want our info fast and short, I find this book very appealing. I highly recommend it; check it out.

Enough for today. Love and peace to you dear readers with prayers for our great country and the world.

Donna

January 7, 2017

Confession time: I have not been cleaning my house. There, I said it.  Cleaning is bloody hard work, and I have not had the energy to do it nearly often enough. I try to get Molly Maids in once a month to get the floors cleaned, most things dusted, kitchen cleaned and bathroom cleaned. But it’s been Christmastime and the money just hasn’t been there. So in an effort to be more active, yesterday I cleaned my toilet, tub and bathroom sink. And today I vacuumed through the house. I have heard that one should clean from the top down. We have a comfy Cape Cod house, so I started upstairs: two bedrooms, the bathroom, the landing.

Next, I vacuumed the stairs. I just hate that job! But with my relatively new and lightly used Shark vacuum it is so much easier.  I bought myself the Shark a year ago for Christmas, and I’ve probably used it less than a dozen times since then. I LOVE my Shark! (Thanks for telling Mike how much you liked using one, sister-in-love Julie!)

Finally, I vacuumed the downstairs: kitchen, entryway and living room.We took Christmas down yesterday, so it was a good day to clean up the living room. (I’m a little sad about not having the pretty colored lights in the living room for eleven months. Can’t help it…December birthday…I like sparkly, colorful things.)

I am a sweaty, tired mess. My back is sore, my knees are aching, but I’m still smiling from ear to ear. It feels good to have aches and pains from activity instead of from inactivity. It just feels so satisfying.

I hope this “dirty” post doesn’t gross you out, Dear Readers. My year of slug-like living, post-retirement is over. It feels good to be getting engaged in life again. 🙂

Thank you for reading, and God bless you!

BTW: I worked on my book for three hours on Thursday. It was so fun and frustrating at the same time. More to come next week. And next week I hope to contact Disney Vacation Club (DVC) and ask some questions about using our points to go to Disneyland Paris next year. I get so excited thinking about it that my stomach gets queasy.  🙂

Disney Customer Service

Day 278 on my Disney musings as I make my way to Mickey Mouse

I have to take time to pay homage to Disney Customer Service.  You don’t have to travel to many countries as a tourist, before you realize just how good customer service is at Disney (and in the United States in general).  No hate mail, please.  It’s just true.

I had occasion to call Disney, because I couldn’t get My Disney Experience account linked to my Disney Vacation Club (DVC) account. I tried several time to get the job done online, but ended up frustrated every time.   I dialed the number for Walt Disney World and was connected to Maxwell.  He was simply marvelous!  Within fifteen minutes I had my accounts connected, and he gave me a thorough explanation on how the new system works.

For DVC members, you make your hotel reservation on the DVC members website.  Once you have your reservation made, everything runs through My Disney Experience.  Maxwell and the folks at Disney made it all easy-peasey.  I was all finished with my phone call in less than 25 minutes.  (The system works nearly the same for non-DVC members.  Once you have your Disney on-property hotel reservation, then you can access everything through your very own My Disney Experience app).

Meet you at the Kingdom!

BTW: My Disney Experience…I LOVE this APP.  I am type-A when it comes to trying to keep all my Disney trip reservations and info in one place.  With this trip, for the first time, I am relaxed because My Disney Experience has it all there for me to check and see at any time.  Leave it to Disney to revolutionize planning!  Way to go, Disney!

Disney Vacation Club…Yippee!

Day 277 in my ruminating on Disney Vacation Club and my pal Mickey

Whew!  I am so grateful for modern medicine and antibiotics in particular.  Though I still have a UTI, the pain has abated considerably.  Praise God!  I am tired from a poor night’s sleep, but I am back on the road to recovery.

Today’s plan is to share about Disney Vacation Club.  Their tagline used to be “Disney’s Best Kept Secret.”  Here is what Disny has to say about it: ”

Discover a World of Choices-When you become a Member by purchasing a real estate interest in a Disney Vacation Club Resort represented by an annual allotment of Vacation Points, you can enjoy flexibility, choice and savings when it comes to your future Disney vacations. Flexibility and Choice – Enjoy the freedom to choose when, where and how often to vacation at any of the 12 uniquely themed Disney Vacation Club Resorts—or explore thousands of other vacation options in destinations around the world…Savings – Stretch your vacation dollars by locking in decades of future stays at Disney Vacation Club Resorts at today’s purchase price. You can save up to 50% on future Disney Vacation Club Resort accommodations. Membership can pay for itself after just 6 to 11 years…compared to the cost of a non-Member renting accommodations at rack rate at most Disney Vacation Club Resorts. Imagine taking your dream vacation—a romantic honeymoon in Hawai’i, a fun-filled adventure with the family at Walt Disney World Resort or a retirement celebration in Europe. With Disney Vacation Club, dreaming is only the beginning—you can collect a lifetime of magical memories, year after year.  All accommodations are subject to availability.”

Wah, right?  I was so-o-o sold.  My beautifully conservative husband took awhile to get on board.  But looking back, he is a big fan!  We only have 150 points…for 40 years.  With those points we (Mike, Me the kids, their spouses (and future kid-lings) go to Walt Disney World  every three to five years, depending on if Mike and I want any side trips along the way.  We have used our points in Chicago, New York, Hilton Head, Anaheim, London, Paris (PARIS!) and Orlando over the years.  We have been able to vacation when otherwise we would not have been able to afford it.  Disney Vacation Club (DVC) has definitely “opened a world of possibilities” to us and we love it!  It has been an investment in our family.  We so look forward to being together on vacation: relaxing, park hopping, dining, and smiling in each other’s faces.  Sheer bliss.

Yes, it is costly.  But you can purchase as little as 100 points and work with it.  Or you can purchase as many points as are available.  When we first bought in, we purchased 230 points.  It was great because we could bring extended family along: my parents, my aunt, Mike’s mom, Mike’s brother and family, two of Mike’s nieces, two of my brothers and their wives, two of my nieces, plus one of those niece’s husband and two boys.  (These were not all at the same time, of course.) When times got tough and we were struggling financially, we sold our points…I cried for a week.  When things turned around, we bought back in (100 points).  It wasn’t quite enough to do what we wanted to do so we made two additional purchases of 25 points each.  All our points are at Disney’s Old Key West Resort. When we arrive there and hear the words, “Welcome, home!” I exhale, and the stress starts to leave my body.  I can hardly wait until October!!

Meet you at the Kingdom!

BTW: If you think about purchasing DVC and want to save a few bucks, ask about availability at sold out resorts, rather than the newest ones.  If folks have sold their points back, you may be able to purchase them.  🙂

Disney’s Magical Advantages!

Day 274 in advancing toward meeting up with Mickey Mouse at the Magic Kingdom.

GAH!!!!  My plan for today was to book our trips to and from Disney’s Old Key West Resort and Orlando International Airport on Disney’s Magical Express.  Can you tell?  I’m just a little excited about that!  All six of us who are going in October (me, my honey Mike, our son Jake, his wife Eliza, our daughter Emi and her husband James) have finally booked our flights.  Once all flights are booked, if you are a Disney Vacation Club (DVC) Member (and we are), you can go to the DVC website and book the bus.

Now for those who are not Disneyphiles, Disney’s Magical Express is a free perk that folks staying at Disney resorts are provided.  It is literally a FREE ride to and from the airport.  (Now I know there are skeptics out there saying, “Oh, you’re paying for it.”  And that may be true, but I would stay on property even without this perk, so it feels free to me.  And I appreciate it!)  🙂  And on top of that, we can check our luggage in Chicago, and they will deliver it to our room at Old Key West.  Can you say, “Holy wah!”?  I love it!

So, now we are one step closer to being all ready for our vacation.  I hope to write soon about: Disney Vacation Club (it gets me to my happy place), My Disney Experience (an absolutely fantastic planning app), and  apples (I have a bone to pick with the apples/doctor saying).  Thank for hanging in there with me, my dear readers.  Meet you at the Kingdom!

BTW: I am drinking a cup of Starbuck’s coffee from my Magic Kingdom mug, as I type.  It arrived yesterday!  I LOVE it!  Two of my favorite things in one place–Magic Kingdom and Starbuck’s.  Yahoo!   Ya-le-hoo-lah! Thank you so much, Bro Geno and Sis-in-love Patsy!  And thanks to Regina, niece-in-love extraordinare,for picking up an extra mug, just in case.  🙂  Love you guys!