Disney Vacation Club expansion. A divisive topic among fans, but a fact of life given the success and profitability of DVC. As a Member, I have a wish list of places where I hope Disney Vacation Club is added. Expansion ideas that I’d like to see come to fruition, with some being pie-in-the-sky, and some on the more realistic side. For this post, I thought I’d rank my top 7, giving some weight to what’s actually feasible in terms of locations, but throwing in some of my own wild, blue sky scenarios (in some cases) in terms of design.
Note that these are not actual rumors (well, at least most of them aren’t), but rather, my ideas for what I’d like to see. Since it’s very unlikely that we’ve seen the end of Disney Vacation Club expansion in the foreseeable future, some will likely become a reality. Sales have been slowing, but it’s quite likely that Disney will keep adding on to existing resorts to “feed the beast” in the near term. Long term, we fully expect new resorts to be developed, built as mixes of hotel and villa properties. While some of you might not like the idea of more DVC, it doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
I can understand many of the complaints about Disney Vacation Club expansion, particularly where it has been disruptive to the integrity of Walt Disney World. However, I think other complaints revolve around Disney’s keenness on developing more timeshares “at the expense” of new attractions. I put air quotes around that because I believe this complaint to be misplaced–it’s not an either/or scenario. Disney could do both, one or the other, or nothing at all. Past builds of DVC haven’t precluded simultaneous construction of new attractions. In other words, it’s not DVC’s “fault.”
Here’s what we’d like to see from future DVC developments…
7. Caribbean Beach Resort – This one is rumored to be next on the agenda for Disney Vacation Club expansion, and already it’s a controversial idea. Many existing DVC Members are concerned by the addition of DVC to a Moderate Resort. That it will create a tiered membership is a reasonable concern, but we do not feel that will necessarily happen. (It’s not as if there isn’t already a quality difference between Saratoga Springs and Grand Floridian.)
There’s nothing that says the addition would need to be on par with existing rooms and infrastructure at Caribbean Beach Resort–just because it’s at a Moderate Resort doesn’t mean it needs to be “Moderate DVC.” The possibility that this expansion could elevate existing facilities (and adding new ones) at the resort has us excited, as is the prospect of somehow connecting this to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and/or Epcot.
6. Manhattan Club Villas – Disney Vacation Club has been utilized at Walt Disney World as a way to reduce (supposedly) superfluous hotel inventory. Nowhere could this same strategy be more valuable than at Disneyland Paris, which definitely has a surplus of hotel rooms. Of the Disneyland Paris hotels, Hotel New York is the one in biggest need of a refresh, and part of that could include updating and converting a wing of the hotel to DVC.
The only reason this one doesn’t rank higher is because this list factors in practicality, and I just don’t know whether Disney Vacation Club is viable in France. Are there enough diehard European Disney fans to buy ownership interests? Would enough Americans be interested? My guess is that this would have already happened by now if Disney thought the answers to either of those questions were “yes.”
5. Newport Beach Club – No, we’re not staying in Disneyland Paris with another DVC takeover at Newport Bay Club. Rather, I’m suggesting a standalone Disney Vacation Club property in Newport Beach, California. (Seal Beach and Huntington Beach are also viable, but Newport is the nicest of the bunch for upscale developments.) While other standalone DVC properties have encountered challenges, we feel this one would be better-poised for success.
Being only 25 minutes from Disneyland Resort would be a big selling point, and we suspect many Disneyland visitors are taking Southern California vacations with Disneyland being part of that trip (as opposed to Walt Disney World, which is a destination unto itself for many/most). Additionally, this makes sense from a logistical perspective, as Disney owns less real estate in the Anaheim Resort District that it could dedicate to a DVC property.
4. Port Orleans Resort – Along the lines of the rumored Caribbean Beach expansion, I think Port Orleans Resort is an even more suitable home for a Disney Vacation Club expansion. Across the water from French Quarter heading towards Riverside is a parcel of land that appears suitable in size for expansion.
I view this as a win-win for the existing Port Orleans hotels and DVC Members. The sister properties would be further connected to other another, and given the already disparate themes, villas here could also thematically (and qualitatively) distinguish themselves from the rest of Port Orleans. Exteriors along the lines of the Magnolia Bend mansions seem like a natural fit (maybe even converting Parterre Place to DVC).
3. Wheel Well Villas – While Disneyland Resort has already announced the AAA Four-Diamond hotel tentatively opening in 2021, it seems unlikely that any of that hotel will be DVC. Occupancy rates for Disneyland Resort’s hotels are currently around 95%, so it seems realistic that Disneyland Resort could sustain another 2-3 Deluxe-caliber hotels once Star Wars Land opens. With hotel demand being a sure thing, it doesn’t seem Disney would feel the “need” to hedge its bets with a DVC wing in the new hotel.
However, once Candy Cane Inn‘s lease is up (assuming the rumors that Disney purchased this parcel are true), it would make sense for Disney to re-evaluate how it’s going to use that property. Located right behind Cars Land, a Wheel Well Hotel with an exclusive DCA entrance sounds like a no-brainer. That seems like a logical candidate for a DVC wing, particularly if Disney is able to satiate some hotel demand with the Four-Diamond luxury property.
2. Eternal Sea Resort – Tokyo Disney Resort is another location where the Disney hotels don’t have any issue filling (98%+ occupancy) and adding DVC to those hotels would be further complicated by the fact that Oriental Land Company, and not Disney, owns them. Along the lines of the Newport Beach Club resort proposed above, Disney could develop this on Tokyo Bay outside of Tokyo Disney Resort, and it would be easily accessible by the JR line.
While it’s unlikely that there is enough demand from United States DVC members, it should be noted that DVC is also quite popular with Japanese Disney fans (many of whom own at Aulani) and this would probably be sustainable with that fervent fanbase, alone. It would also encourage more Americans to visit Japan and see how well the Tokyo parks are run (which, in turn, might cause them to hold Disney to higher standards). As for a concept, I’d love to see the resort styled after Osaka or Himeji Castles, and situated on Tokyo Bay and with internal waterways forming something of a moat around the resort.
The Persian concept really intrigues me, especially as it would be something totally unlike any other Disney hotel in the world. The striking blue and white domes and the Mughal architecture would be stunning. I do wonder whether Disney would embrace a style of architecture that is reminiscent of mosques in today’s political culture, but I think it would be cool. Alternatively, after seeing Hotel MiraCosta and the venetian gondolas in Tokyo DisneySea, I’d also welcome Disney reviving the Eisner-era plans for the Mediterranean Resort on the Persian site.
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Where would you like to see Disney Vacation Club added? Any thoughts on our proposals? Ideas of your own? Any questions about any of the items on this list? Or…would you rather they stop building? We love hearing from readers, so please share some of your ideas, thoughts, or questions in the comments!