Are new DVC Resorts just phoning it in?

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Kristen K.'s picture
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Are new DVC Resorts just phoning it in?

I read an article the other day that was discussing the proposed designs for Reflections - A Disney Lakeside Lodge, which is the new property being built on the old River Country site. It panned the design for being incredibly generic, and likened it to any boxy contemporary chain hotel design you'd find by the airport. It did acknowledge the tree houses and A-frames that would be available, but then noted that the cost per night for those is likely to be so outrageous (akin to the Poly Bungalows and Wilderness Lodge Cabins) that most guests won't get to stay there. The author then went on to criticize the new Destino Tower and upcoming Riviera Resort in much the same manner, citing the cover up of architecture with a smattering of Disney inspired art pieces hung here and there.

As much as I want to disagree with the author, I don't think I can. I am completely bored with how I feel that DVC has been phoning it in at Walt Disney World. The past several projects have simply updated existing hotels properties without really adding a big value for DVC Members. The DVC additions have done more to update aging resorts than to build an exclusive property where being part of "the club" is something special. Anything special that has been added for DVC members (such as bungalows/cabins, and a concierge lounge/activities) have come with an additional fee, or per night point cost that puts it out of reach for the average member.

I see that boring design covered up with Disney prints on the wall. I'm not impressed. It's happening as rooms at existing resorts get refreshed as well. I thought the last refurb of BoardWalk DVC rooms was the blandest ever. I also hate that they are pulling carpeting out of so many of the regular hotel rooms. It's just boring, boring, boring, and it's I'm paying for a 4 star hotel, I would really like to have a 4 star experience.

How do you feel about the state of the new DVC Resort art and architecture? Do you feel that the value for your membership dollar is maintaining itself?

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Joined: 10/29/2009
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I am still very happy with the value of our membership dollar. Bottom line for me is we are staying in the deluxe resorts several times a year. As the room rates keep going up, I am sure we have already more than broke even. I do not care if any part of the resorts are DVC exclusive. While I do agree, the newer resorts are rather basic and could be located anywhere, I think that is true for most of them. Heck, even Bay Lake Towers could be located in any big city minus the Disney pictures and view.
Then you have, Saratoga Springs and Old Key West which to me feel more like a motel than hotel. In all honesty, the only resort that really feels like maybe it is a 4 star is the Grand Floridian.

I honestly think it all comes down to each persons preference. For instance, I love the fact they are removing the carpeting in the guest rooms. I am willing to bet, carpeting is easily the dirtiest part of any hotel room. Heck, I am not a big fan of carpeting in our house. Some of the things That I would change would not work so well for families though. Since it is always only the two of us in a room, two bathrooms in a studio is such a waste of space. I would also rather have a king size bed instead of the pullout couch. We both really miss drawer space since the TVs now sit on those pull down beds.

For us, the most important part of the resort is location, location, location!

Kristen K.'s picture
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scrappy wrote:
I am sure we have already more than broke even.

I tracked our room rates vs. DVC membership over the years and we actually broke even before we were done paying off the contract. In fact, we stayed ahead of curve for almost the entire time we were paying on our initial contract. Plus, I'm sure we wouldn't travel anywhere near as much as we do if we hadn't bought in. I know many people find DVC a huge waste of money, but for us it has without a doubt enhanced our quality of life.

scrappy wrote:
Then you have, Saratoga Springs and Old Key West which to me feel more like a motel than hotel.

Those two feel very condo-like to me more than any sort of resort. I've stayed at SSR 4 or 5 times now and I don't think I have ever used the pool or any other sort of recreation. I'm staying there again in November because it had the only rooms left for me.

scrappy wrote:
We both really miss drawer space since the TVs now sit on those pull down beds.

I'm completely with you one this one. As someone who unpacks, I used the drawers all of the time! I've been thinking of keeping a set of collapsible fabric bins in my suitcase so I have someplace to stick my socks and undies. Some things you just can't hang up.