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Will Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge RUIN DVC as We Know it?

In the second part of our roundtable discussion on Disney's recently announced changes, we ask the most important question of our panel. Will the Disney Vacation Club changes negatively impact the program? Since we know that Star Wars Land is so important to you, we also query our experts on their expectations for Disney's next-generation themed land. Finally, we added a personal touch this time so that you can put a face with the names that you've read in DVC roundtable articles over the past few years.

Do you feel that the DVC program as a whole is dramatically impacted by the recent rules change that sets Disney’s Riviera Resort apart from the rest of the properties?

Image: DisneyKristen Tutas, Resales DVCI don’t feel this is an immediate impact to the DVC program, as buyers still want to own and stay at the current 14 resorts that occupy prime real estate around the theme parks. Because of that, I don’t see this having a huge impact on value or resale of the current 14 properties any time soon. 

Rachel Thompson, Resales DVC: I agree with Kristen.  The 14 existing resorts have so much to offer and they have the great locations so many people truly want.  I am a bit of a nostalgic person, so these original home resorts are what interest me the most.  I believe most people will feel the same way and realize that purchasing one of these resorts is the way to go not only for the resorts themselves but also the future resale value.  

Image: DisneyMelissa Mullett, David's Vacation Club Rentals: From a points rental perspective, I don’t believe that the DVC program as a whole has been dramatically impacted by the recent rules.  We will continue to be able to meet our guests needs, as our current Members still have access to all of the 14 DVCR resorts, as well as the Rivera (with resale contracts purchased prior to the cut off date of January 14, 2019). As we don’t know what the Riviera point sales are going to look like, or if new Members will even want to rent their points based on the exclusivity of the resort, it's hard to say how this will impact our industry overall.  We might see a small impact in the long term with contracts that are purchased after the cut off date; however, with 14 other resorts, there is still a lot of choice for our guests that are excited to be traveling to Walt Disney World.

From the viewpoint of a DVC Member, I would say that the DVC program as a whole is impacted, as there seems to be a creation of a tiered system. Those Members with resale contracts (after January 14, 2019) are limited to using those at the 14 DVC Resorts and will not be able to use their investment at Disney’s Riviera Resort or perhaps the upcoming Reflections Resort. That being said, I think that the largest impact is to those who purchase contacts at these newer resorts. It puts these Members at a disadvantage in selling their contract. Much like homeownership, it is hard to predict what the future looks like 10, 15, or 30 years down the road. Some of us outgrow our homes, sometimes our budget doesn’t allow us to stay in our home and sometimes we just need change. In this regard, I think that the rules reduce the flexibility that DVC Members had with their contracts.

Image: DisneyNick Cotton, DVC Resale Market: While a policy change like this will not be received well by the DVC community, I don’t think this decision alone will dramatically impact the program.  However, decisions like this can cause dings to even the strongest of armor, and too many of them can lead to a dramatic impact.

In most industries outside of timeshare, a move like this would likely close a business’s doors, but in the timeshare industry, decisions like this tend to be par for the course.  While other timeshares may easily get a pass for doing this, would Disney?  My hunch is Disney probably will too, at least for now. But coupled with more decisions like this, the answer may be different. 

While I see this move as a surprising risk to what would likely be considered a “cash cow” sector of the bigger Disney umbrella, I do believe the odds are in favor of this decision alone not creating a devastating impact to the DVC program as a whole. Proof is already in the direct January sales, which were very strong.  If there was a huge public outcry over this decision that was impacting the program as a whole, you would already see it in the sales numbers, as this information became public in early January.  Of course, once Riviera beings to sell, we will know much more, but early data would suggest it will not be a dramatic impact to the DVC program as a whole.  

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