Disney Vacation Club Merry Member Mixer

Merry Member Mixer

Come ring in the season with Disney Vacation Club! Mingle with fellow Members at the Merry Member Mixer as you enjoy festive entertainment and complimentary refreshments. Plus, you’ll be able to purchase a limited-edition Disney Vacation Club holiday trading pin (while supplies last).

Celebrate, share, and always discover vacations you never outgrow.

LOCATION
Epcot at the World Showplace Pavilion
Located between the Canada and United Kingdom Pavilions

CELEBRATE THE SEASON ON ONE OF THESE DATES
November 25
December 2
December 9
December 16

TIME
3:00 PM to 5:00 PM

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A Closer Look At The Villas At The Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

The Disney Vacation Club will be opening their 12th property, The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa on October 23, 2013, so I thought we would take a closer look at the rooms they’ll be offering.

The Villas at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

Combining tons of Victorian elegance, fun Disney touches, and state of the art technology The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa are beautiful!

We had a chance to tour the model rooms at the Disney Vacation Club Walt Disney World Preview Center, and while some of the finishes may be different when the resort opens I know I can’t wait to see the finished product.

httpv://youtu.be/qg9IWD2UyuE

There are four room types at the Villas, and they all feature crown molding, granite countertops, and a mirror TV in each bathroom in addition to what guests have come to expect from staying in a Disney Vacation Club room.

Room Types Available At

The Villas at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa:

Deluxe Studio

  • Sleeps up to 5
  • 1 queen-size bed, 1 queen-size sleeper sofa, 1 pull-down bunk size bed
  • Kitchenette
  • Small refrigerator
  • Wet bar
  • Flat panel TV and Blu-ray™ player
  • Full bathroom with separate tub and shower
  • Private porch or balcony

One-Bedroom Villa

  • Sleeps up to 5
  • 1 king-size bed, 1 queen-size sleeper sofa, 1 pull-down bunk-size bed
  • Fully equipped kitchen
  • Dishwasher
  • Refrigerator
  • Stove and oven
  • Washer and dryer
  • Flat panel TV and Blu-ray player
  • Freestanding tub with air jets
  • Walk-in shower
  • Private porch or balcony
The Villas at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
The Villas at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa will feature many of the amenities guests have come to love at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa…especially the larger selection of H2O products found in each bathroom.

Two-Bedroom Villa

  • Sleeps up to 9
  • 1 king-size bed, 2 queen-size beds, 1 queen-size sleeper sofa, 1 pull-down bunk-size bed
  • Fully equipped kitchen
  • Dishwasher
  • Refrigerator
  • Stove and oven
  • Washer and dryer
  • Flat panel TV and Blu-ray player
  • Freestanding tub with air jets
  • Walk-in shower
  • Private porch or balcony

Three-Bedroom Grand Villa

  • Sleeps up to 12
  • 1 king-size bed, 4 queen-size beds, 1 queen-size sleeper sofa
  • Fully equipped kitchen
  • Dishwasher
  • Refrigerator
  • Stove and oven
  • Laundry room with washer and dryer
  • 4 bathrooms – 1 with whirlpool tub and shower, 1 with shower only, and 2 with combination tub/shower
  • Media room with home theater system including flat panel TV and Blu-ray player
  • Flat panel TV in living room and each bedroom, with Blu-ray player in living room
  • Dining room with dining table and chairs
  • Private porch or balcony

Cheryl shared some thoughts comparing The Villas at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa to Bay Lake Tower in this DVC post, and I can’t wait to hear what she thinks of the completed project!

I hope that you enjoyed this look around The Villas at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, and don’t forget to join us on October 23rd

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Two Disney Vacation Club Announcements!

This week the Disney Vacation Club was busy, as they announced two very different but both very cool new things coming to DVC

Disney Vacation Club

 

Share Your Memories: Disney Vacation Club Member Challenge

Disney Vacation Club Members can participate in the Share Your Memories Pinterest challenges to win some pretty awesome prizes!

The first of three challenges is posted on the Share Your Memories Disney Vacation Club Members site, and if you are into Pinterest this challenge is super easy and looks like a lot of fun!

After members register on the Share Your Memories site, all they then have to then do is create a board on Pinterest with images showing all the ‘must-see’s’ and ‘must-do’s’ on the most magical Disney Vacation Club vacation you can imagine. The deadline to submit the URL to the dream pin boars is 11:59 AM ET on November 4, 2013.

The Pinterest Prize Package for this challenge includes 4 Walt Disney Worldor DisneylandResort Annual Passes, a Disney VIP Tour Service experience, autographed copies of “The Sherman Brothers Songbook” and “Dream it! Do It!” by Martin Sklar, plus a Disney Vacation Club Gift Bag!

Make sure you take a peek at the Official Contest Rules before you enter!

 

Disney Vacation Club at Disney’s Polynesian

Disney Vacation Club announced that its planned next location will be at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, located on Seven Seas Lagoon at Walt Disney World Resort. When this resort is completed, Disney Vacation Club will have destinations at all three resorts on the monorail system, allowing easy access to Magic Kingdom Park.

The planned development project at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, when completed, will join Disney Vacation Club’s 12 other properties, including The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, scheduled to open Oct. 23. Construction on the Polynesian project began this month, and completion is estimated to be in 2015. In addition to the Disney Vacation Club project, other guest areas within Disney’s Polynesian Resort will undergo refurbishment. More information and project details will be shared at a later date.

Disney Vacation Club debuted in October 1991 with a flexible, vacation point-based model rather than the traditional fixed-week timeshare model. Disney Vacation Club is approaching a total of 200,000 member families from all 50 states and approximately 100 countries who have discovered the joys of membership.

Disney Vacation Club members are able to choose from among a variety of vacation destinations, including a stay at any Disney Vacation Club Resort or at more than 500 other destinations around the world, and when they purchase directly from Disney, members also can take trips on one of the Disney Cruise Line ships or guided vacations with Adventures by Disney. Additionally, vacations at a Disney Vacation Club Resort can last from one night to several weeks.

For more information about Disney Vacation Club, visit www.disneyvacationclub.com.

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What Is That Disney Vacation Club Kiosk About?

Stopping at the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) kiosk, what happens next:

Disney Vacation Club
Disney Vacation Club Kiosk at Disney’s Polynesian Resort.

Disney Vacation Club

Most guests just walk by the kiosks, you’ve decided to stop and see so what is this all about. Disney’s Vacation Club program is a timeshare but not your typical timeshare.

Disney Vacation Club
Disney Vacation Club Kiosk in Magic Kingdom’s Frontierland is themed to match its surroundings.

Disney Vacation Club

Disney Vacation Club

The sales person at the kiosk will have photos of the current models.. They can answer some questions you may have. Next, you can decide to take a tour or walk away. If you decide to take a tour, the sales person will escort you to the front of the park and a van will be ready to take you to the preview center.

Disney Vacation Club
Disney Vacation Club Preview Center Desk.

At the preview center, there will be snacks and drinks. There is also a kids club available so your kids don’t need to take the tour with you. You’ll be introduced to another sales person. You’ll get name tags and a tour of the models of the current hotels they are selling.

After your tour, you will get a sales talk.

This includes pricing, along with the features of buying directly from Disney. Yes, there are other ways of buying DVC called resales, we plan to discuss this in a future blog post.

What else can you get by taking a tour?
Offers vary, in the past they have offered gift cards, fast passes or limited pins.
There also will likely be a buying incentive offered.

What is the price of DVC?
As an example 160 Vacation Points Per Year Costs are based on a cash purchase of a real estate interest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas:
One-Time Purchase Price: $24,000
Closing Costs: Approximately $424.50 2013
Annual Dues: (Dues for future years will vary.) $907.20 or $75.60 per month
Transaction Fee: (For vacations to destinations other than our Disney Vacation Club Resorts) $95 per transaction
You receive 160 Vacation Points each year of Membership. Disney Vacation Points are very flexible, you decide when you want to go , how long you want to stay and what type of room you want. Your vacation points will end in 2042 or 2057 depending on what location you buy.

Here is an easier way of explaining this:
When you buy you will need a downpayment.
After your down payment you will have 2 future payments.
Your first payment is your loan payment which will typically last 10 years.
Your next payment is your dues payment, you can pay this annually or monthly.

Do you have to have a loan?
No, if you’ve got the money you can pay it all upfront.

Do you have to pay dues?
Yes, dues are needed for upkeep, transportation and other needs.

What does DVC get me?
Basically I think of DVC as a forced savings plan. It gets you enough points to stay at Disney on property once a year or once every other year. You stay on site and get amenities better than most hotel rooms. (unless you are in a studio)

Can I use DVC in other states where there is no Disney?
Yes Disney has a partnership with RCI Timeshare system. Do your math, since your 160 points are basically worth $12 per point.

Can I rent out my points?
Yes, we plan on discussing this in a future article.

What is a home resort and why is it important?
Your home resort (in My case Boardwalk villas) gets you 11 month access to book before other resorts (example Aulani)

Lets use my upcoming trip to California as an example: I wasn’t able to get in for some of the days I needed because I had to wait until 7 months before. I am offsite for some of my trip because the Grand Californian was unavailable.
In some cases this may cause you to transfer resorts or choose another resort.

Wait: You live 15 minutes from Disney and still own DVC. Why??
I bought DVC back when I lived in Massachusetts in 1999. My first loan for 170 points is paid off. I pay my dues monthly and I feel its affordable. I enjoy not having to save up. In my case I save up to visit family and friends.

How do you use your DVC?
My husband has the running bug so we use it for races:
I am using 124 points to stay from Sept 2 – 6 in a 1 bedroom at Disney’s Grand Californian.
I am using 22 points from Sept 6 -7 in a studio at Disney’s Grand Californian.

What if I don’t use my points or need more points?
You can bank and borrow points.

How does banking work?
You must banks your point by a certain time. If you miss your banking deadline. You must use them (yes this includes renting them) or lose them.

How does borrowing work?
If you are short points you can borrow from the next year.
Borrowing is a final transaction and borrowed points can’t be banked if you cancel.
If you cancel using borrowed points the points must be used or they get lost.

What if I cancel?
I don’t suggest canceling but If you cancel before 30 days your points go back to their current use year. Depending on your use year you can bank your points and/or book another vacation.

If you cancel between 30 -1 days your points go into holding. I don’t recommend this.
Holding points have very restrictive rules.
Get travel insurance. DVC offers this, as do other services.

Use year? What is a use year?
When you buy, you can be assigned a certain month or request a certain month.
Your points will be deposited into your account each year on that month.
My use year is March: On March 1st 2013 I got 170 points to use and I must use them by Feb 28 2014.

Does DVC ever make exceptions to the rules?
I have heard of where DVC has extended things in special cases, I do not recommend relying on these stories.

Make sure you have your plans set and get travel insurance if you want to totally be covered.

I have more questions, who do I contact?
You can ask me and I will try to answer the best I can.

You can get the DVC dvd from DVC or stop at a kiosk and ask.
DVC has a website at http://disneyvacationclub.disney.go.com

What do you get if I buy?
Readers can use my name as a referral.
I will get a benefit from Disney if you buy.
You can also choose not to use me. The choice is there.

Disney Vacation Club
A sign from the Disney Vacation Club Kiosk in Frontierland sums it all up!

 

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Disney’s Vero Beach Resort – A Breath of Fresh Air

The second day of my trip to Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, I got up and was excited to be heading back to Shutters for the character breakfast with Goofy and Donald. This breakfast is one of the best character meal values I’ve ever seen at under $18 for adults. It is family style usually, but since I wasn’t eating meat, I was permitted to order off the menu and got the pina colada pancakes with pineapple and rum sauce. Incredible!!!

 

Goofy's Beachfront Breakfast at Disney's Vero Beach Resort
Goofy’s Beachfront Breakfast
Goofy signing autographs
Goofy signing autographs
Goofy wanted to dance
Goofy wanted to dance
Then Goofy wanted a hug
Then Goofy wanted a hug
Donald
Donald
Autographs from Goofy and Donald
Autographs from Goofy and Donald
Ocean view from Shutters breakfast
Ocean view from Shutters breakfast
Fresh fruit
Fresh fruit
Pina colada pancakes
Pina colada pancakes
Pineapple and rum sauce
Pineapple and rum sauce

Shortly after breakfast, I heard from Shalon, who had asked if she could come visit for lunch since she had not been to Disney’s Vero Beach Resort before either. I told her no problem. We met up, and I showed her around before we had lunch at the Green Cabin Room, another casual restaurant and bar at the resort that is open for lunch and dinner. In the evening they also sometimes offer live entertainment in the form of musicians. We had a nice lunch, with me ordering a roma tomato, basil, roasted garlic and buffalo mozzarella flatbread, and Shalon got the oak-grilled breast of chicken  on crispy pretzel. We were both very happy with our selections. After lunch we decided to try out the miniature golf course since it looked like fun (and it was, until that six on the last hole) and it was such a great value. Shalon headed back home after a quick stop in the gift shop where we found out one of the CMs I had spoken to the evening before for almost an hour about the turtles, turned out to be our friend Matt’s mom. It is indeed a small world after all.

Tomato flatbread
Tomato flatbread
Chicken on pretzel
Chicken on pretzel

Playing hostess, even for just a few hours, can really take it out of a girl. Bed called, but not before I called down to the spa to see if there was a pedicure appointment available. Luckily, there was for late afternoon, which would still allow me some more reading time before my dinner reservation at Sonya’s, the more upscale restaurant at Vero Beach. This trip really was shaping up to be the ultimate in R&R. If only I had been able to splurge even more on the massage, but there’s always next time. The pedicure was great and again, with an ocean view from the spa, and phenomenal service.

The Spa Menu
The Spa Menu
There's even an ocean view from the Spa
There’s even an ocean view from the Spa
Getting my pedicure
Getting my pedicure
Pedicure
Pedicure

Sonya’s vegetarian trio, along with the spectacular service and the triple chocolate dessert made the evening even more magical. I finished earlier than I expected, so I again was able to go back to my room to read for an hour or so before the campfire. Although very different, I would say both nights’ singalongs were equally enjoyable. I even saw the couple from New Jersey from the night before, as well as some other guests from Orlando that I enjoyed speaking to earlier in the trip. Disney’s Vero Beach Resort very much has the feel of a family resort that guests return to year after year and the CMs get to see the families grow up over time. I loved this feeling of kinship and recognition. Even though I was only at the resort for a couple of days, I was remembered and called by name from the restaurant staff at Shutters to the recreation cast. It was really a nice feeling that I don’t typically experience at most WDW resorts just due to the sheer size and turnover of the resorts.

Entrance to Sonya's
Entrance to Sonya’s
Sonya's
Sonya’s
Dinner table at Sonya's
Dinner table at Sonya’s
Apple sorbet
Apple sorbet
Bread and olive oil
Bread and olive oil
Vegetarian trio
Vegetarian trio
Cheese trio
Cheese trio
Triple Chocolate Semifreddo
Triple Chocolate Semifreddo

On my last evening at Vero Beach, upon returning to my room, I found my favorite movie of all time, Casablanca, on Turner Classic Movies and felt compelled to watch the rest of the film as a great ending to the night. I read for a bit longer to finish my book after the movie ended, and set my alarm so I would have enough time to grab a bite to eat before checking out at 11 before heading to work. I slept so well, hearing the waves crashing on the shore just outside my window. It is one of the most peaceful sounds, yet backed by so much power. It was entrancing! I missed it from my youth and miss it now.

There is a Sunday brunch offered at Shutter’s, with additional seating in Sonya’s, but seeing as I couldn’t eat the majority of the items on the buffet, I chose to order a la carte and got the heavenly orange oatmeal french toast. Even the chefs in the restaurant remembered me from day to day due to me having food allergies and needing to consult them before ordering. Also, the table service restaurants at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort even take Tables In Wonderland, excluding the Sunday brunch. This was meal a great way to end my trip.

Orange oatmeal french toast
Orange oatmeal french toast

Disney’s Vero Beach Resort was most definitely the breath of fresh air that I needed to recharge and renew myself. It was absolutely one of the best weekend vacations I’ve ever taken. I cannot wait to go back and experience some of the amazing culinary options I wasn’t able to try this trip. I relished the fact that I could unplug (literally and figuratively) and get the rest and relaxation I was so wanting and needing. This trip and resort completely exceeded any and all expectations I had. I think this is due so much in part, possibly in whole, to the incredible Cast Members. I even took the time before leaving to get the manager of the resort to personally compliment him on the exemplary service everyone provided. I do not think there was a single thing I would have changed about this visit, other than to maybe extend it by a week or two.

I hope that everyone will take the opportunity to visit this magnificent resort at some point. Have you ever been to Disney’s Vero Beach Resort? What did you enjoy most? Did you take it easy like I did, or did you take advantage of the tons of activities at the resort and in the area?

Panorama from the back porch
Panorama from the back porch
Seating area off lobby
Seating area off lobby
Kids seating area
Kids seating area
Entrance to Shutters
Entrance to Shutters
Back of the resort
Back of the resort
Mickey fence
Mickey fence
Kid's water pay area
Kid’s water pay area
Playground
Playground
Bike rentals
Bike rentals
Hibiscus
Hibiscus
Recreation schedule
Recreation schedule
Eb & Flo's sign
Eb & Flo’s sign
Activities board
Activities board
Rental equipment
Rental equipment
Ocean view from the pool
Ocean view from the pool
Community Hall
Community Hall
Sports rentals
Sports rentals
Exercise room
Exercise room
Pool table
Pool table
Bleachers
Bleachers
Surf conditions
Surf conditions
Beach equipment rental
Beach equipment rental
Surfers
Surfers
Back of resort
Back of resort
Island Grove Packing Company
Island Grove Packing Company
Island Grove 2
Island Grove 2
Tervis Tumbler
Tervis Tumbler
Port Holes Mini Golf
Port Holes Mini Golf
Mini golf course continuing Peter Pan theme
Mini golf course continuing Peter Pan theme
Broken mast hole
Broken mast hole
Cannonball hole
Cannonball hole
Skull Rock hole
Skull Rock hole
Shark hole
Shark hole
Evil treasure chest hole
Evil treasure chest hole
Paraglider
Paraglider
Paraglider dropping a parachute
Paraglider dropping a parachute
Sunset at the beach
Sunset at the beach
Maria and Trey warming up the crowd
Maria and Trey warming up the crowd
Campfire singalong
Campfire singalong
Campfire closeup
Campfire closeup
Singalong
Singalong
Toasting marshmallows
Toasting marshmallows
Dodgers dedication plaque
Dodgers dedication plaque
Sea Turtles
Sea Turtles
Nesting Sites
Nesting Sites
Loggerhead Turtles
Loggerhead Turtles
1715 Fleet
1715 Fleet
Lobby ceiling
Lobby ceiling
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Disney’s Vero Beach Resort – A Breath of Fresh Air part 1

Disney's Vero Beach Resort
Disney’s Vero Beach Resort

A few weeks ago I took my first trip to Disney’s Vero Beach Resort and it was amazing!!!

After a rather hectic first few weeks of the year between some personal adjustments and a very busy time at work, I needed a break. I decided it was far past time to explore Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, and went ahead and booked a solo weekend stay as it was the last Disney resort in Florida that I had not had the chance to visit.

I really didn’t know much about the resort before I went and thought I’d share some of my thoughts and experiences in case you are, like I was, unaware of the fantastic offerings this resort has.

The resort is similar to many of the Disney Vacation Club properties at Walt Disney World in that it offers deluxe studios as well as one, two and three bedroom villas that can accommodate up to 12 guests. In addition to these, the resort also has standard rooms with either a garden or an ocean view. For my stay, I opted to splurge and go with the Inn Ocean View Room since it was only slightly higher than the studio, plus I wanted the convenience of staying in the main building.

Disney’s Vero Beach Resort is about an hour and a half to two hours from Walt Disney World theme parks by car, and is a pretty easy drive on highways (some routes may include toll roads). I arrived at the resort not really having looked at many pictures or knowing what to expect of a Disney resort that wasn’t right at Walt Disney World. I was immediately welcomed by the familiar logo on the resort’s sign as well as a security guard to check me in to the parking lot. I pulled up to the porte cochere as instructed and left my vehicle there until I received further directions on where to park from the front desk.

When I stepped in to the lobby, I felt like I was stepping back in time and to a place that was very familiar to me. For those who don’t know, my background is in hospitality management, and I got my start back in high school at a four diamond resort on the coast of Maine called Inn By The Sea. Although Vero Beach is a good 1500 miles plus from that resort, there was a very comforting familiarity to it. The vibe felt like a combination of the Boardwalk and Beach Club to me and was very welcoming. Hardwood floors in the lobby are softened by rugs in the great seating areas that feature comfortable chairs for relaxing in the open four story atrium. Two themes seem to be prevalent throughout the lobby and are carried throughout the entire resort: oranges and sea turtles.

Lobby from 3rd floor landing
Lobby from 3rd floor landing

Welcome home is a greeting customary at the Disney Vacation Club resorts, but in this instance, it really felt like I was coming home, but not to one I had ever visited before. The Cast Members seemed to genuinely be inviting the guests to enjoy their stay at this, their home away from home. Arriving shortly after noon with check in not being until 4 pm, I was not expecting my room to be ready, but was very pleasantly surprised (a theme for this trip). After parking my car in the brilliantly located parking garage under the main inn, I took the elevator up to the third floor to find my room.

Full disclosure, I had a friend who had stayed at the resort a few months ago and had booked the same ocean view room. His view of the ocean was noticeable it seemed only from the balcony and then, only a sliver of blue. Having seen pictures of his view, this was honestly what I was prepared for when entering my room, but again, had luck on my side. I ended up with one of the most spectacular ocean views! This is coming from someone who spent her formative years spoiled with an ocean view from her bedroom.

I haven’t really spent much time on the Atlantic Coast of Florida, since I live on the Gulf Coast and prefer the typically warmer waters we have here on the west coast. Expecting gray or dark blue waters, perhaps tainted by my memories of the Maine coast, I was happily greeted with gorgeous turquoise water seemingly feet from my room. Again, the view was spectacular! I had, I came later to find out, one of only three rooms that have double sets of windows facing the ocean. Most of the rooms in the inn that are ocean view have one set of windows facing the water and then longer side of the room faces the grounds. Mine was the opposite. I could see the ocean from my balcony on the one side, the double set of windows in the middle on the long wall, and then also from the window on the other side above my reading nook. Fantastic!

My room number
My room number
Entering my room
Entering my room
Kitchenette in my room
Kitchenette in my room
Reading nook in my room
Reading nook in my room
Hallway in my room
Hallway in my room
Vanity area in my room
Vanity area in my room
Disney H2O products
Disney H2O products
My bathroom
My bathroom
Crush, Squirt, Dory, Marlin and Nemo
Crush, Squirt, Dory, Marlin and Nemo
View of my room from balcony
View of my room from balcony
Towel stingray
Towel stingray
Bedside table
Bedside table
Tv stand
Tv stand
Hidden Mickeys on chair
Hidden Mickeys on chair
View from the bed in my room
View from the bed in my room
View from my room
View from my room

My trip was off to an amazing start! In case I haven’t mentioned it yet, my primary objectives on this trip were rest and relaxation. The priorities, in no particular order, were to sleep, eat, read, and unwind. I took a few pictures and dumped my luggage before heading down to the pool area to grab a quick lunch at Bleachers, the counter service location open for lunch and early dinner. Since I was not eating meat, drinking soda, or partaking in an adult beverages at the time, I did a little research prior to arrival to make sure there were vegetarian offerings and I wouldn’t be stuck eating a salad every day. The menus for the restaurants looked great, so I was excited to see what they had when I actually arrived.

As is often the case, things change and menus online on third party websites are not always as reliable as you would like them to be. I read about a veggie burger that had gotten decent reviews from guests, but when I looked at the menu board didn’t see it as an option. When in doubt, ask. I did and was happy to hear they did still have them, but were phasing them out, so no guarantees whether or not they will be there on your next visit. While I was ordering I noticed the thing that to this point pretty much made my day (okay, aside from the jaw-dropping view from my bed) DOLE WHIPS!!! Again, for those who don’t know me, you may not be aware of my love of this delicious pineapple treat (Vero Beach also offered Vanilla and Orange) found at Disneyland, the Magic Kingdom and Captain Cook’s at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. Others are very well aware and have been with me on after midnight trips to acquire this great dessert/snack/breakfast/what have you. Anyhoo, I had a great lunch sitting out by the pool on a sunny afternoon with my veggie burger, fries and dole whip.

After the taxing drive (not really) and lunch, I needed to start working on my to do list. Next up was nap time! I went back to my room, on the way stopping by the front desk to make a dinner reservation for that night at Shutters, the casual table service restaurant. Before I crashed, I took a look at the recreation calendar to make sure there wasn’t anything I wouldn’t mind sleeping through. I am one to try to find the more unique offerings, and was intrigued by a wine tasting (which I wouldn’t be doing, but to investigate for journalistic research, and for future visits) and a musician who sang and played banjo on the back deck. Deciding I needed to check this out, I set an alarm to make sure I got in a good two hour nap, but allowed myself enough time to get to the activities before dinner.

Napping is seriously like one of the best things ever invented. If I could go back to my childhood and bank all that nap time I fought and didn’t want to take as a kid and cash it in now as an adult, that would be amazing … maybe a trip in the DeLorean can fix this. Back to the story at hand … I woke up sufficiently refreshed from my nap and brought out my DSLR camera to take some pictures around the resort. I discovered that there was a spa just off the lobby. Who knew? I put that in the back of my brain for not so future use. I also stopped by the desk again to pick the brains of the Cast Members to see if there was anything I should know or was missing about the resort. They told me I should go check out the recreation facilities across the street. Since A1A, the road on which the resort is located, is a relatively busy street, the resort built a tunnel under the road to safely get guests over to the other side. A tunnel!!! The only thing that would make this cooler and more like one of my favorite movies, Clue, would be if there was also a secret passage since there was already a library-like area off the lobby.

Lake and fountain
Lake and fountain

The trip across the street was well worth it! I found a beautiful lake with a dock for catch and release fishing. There is a pavilion with picnic tables and an area setup for a campfire by the shore of the lake. There are also soccer fields, walking paths, basketball and tennis courts. Equipment for most of these activities can be found by the pool, acquired from the recreation staff with your room key, and most free of charge. There are also bikes to rent and a great little 9 hole miniature golf course by the pool in addition to the waterslide, kids water play area (very jealous I couldn’t play in the pirate ship), hot tub, sauna, ping pong, and pool table. Miniature golf is only $2 a round for guests, $1 for DVC members. Then, of course, there is the beach itself. There are cabana rentals, jetskis, small boats and kayaks, as well as bodyboards and surfboards for rent.

Recreation opportunities at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort are seemingly endless! I’ve only scratched the surface with the list above. As with most DVC resorts, you have a Community Hall location with games, arts and crafts and activities for the kids primarily. They also have the standard pool games, dance party, etc. on the pool deck weather permitting.

After talking to the front desk CMs again, I learned the resort even helps take part in protecting the local wildlife with turtle watchers during certain times of the year. There are signs along paths and the beach reminding guests of the sea turtles and to be cognizant of the dangers brought by shining bright lights that can attract the turtles and potentially cause danger to the animals by misleading them away from the ocean. During the warmer months, guests can sign up to participate in watching the mother sea turtles coming in to the beach late a night to give birth to the babies.

Sunset on the beach
Sunset on the beach

After exploring for a bit, I settled on the back deck to listen to “Unca Banjo” play and sing. It was a cool late afternoon and it was only a nice couple from New Jersey and me enjoying the music so Unca (aka recreation CM Mike), told us great stories in between songs. I consider myself pretty well versed in the music field, but he played some songs I had never heard before, and I loved them nonetheless. It was one of those practically perfect moments that you just get lost in conversation and storytelling and great music. I will never forget that hour we spent just enjoying and living in the moment. On that note, I opted for almost the entire weekend (except when I was expecting an important text message) to leave my phone in the room. For those who know me well, I am never without my phone, but this weekend I was unplugged, much like Unca Banjo. 😉

Following the concert, dinner at Shutters was fabulous! There was a separate vegetarian menu and I opted for the Caprese El Forno Melt with portabella mushrooms, tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, spinach, caramelized onions with a panko bread crumb crust and basil in a red pepper sauce with balsamic vinegar and great fresh rolls served with Mickey-shaped butter. After dinner I returned to my room to read, something I hadn’t done in book form in quite some time.

Coconut Elixer
Coconut Elixer
Rolls
Rolls
Mickey butter
Mickey butter
Caprese El Forno Melt
Caprese El Forno Melt

The other activity I wanted to make sure I caught was the nighttime campfire and singalong with s’mores. Heading out to the campfire after adding an extra layer of clothing, I found I was the first guest to arrive. I was greeted by two great recreation CMs, Josh and Maria. We talked for a bit before the other guests showed up, and was amazed to find out the s’mores were free! And unlimited! Maria said the record was held by one guest who ate 28 in one sitting. I opted to be a bit more modest and had one, followed by a perfectly burnt marshmallow. But first, to earn your food, you must first sing, and dance, and let it all out. Josh and Maria led some traditional camp songs, even a Disney song or two, and a couple I wasn’t sure I’d heard before. He played guitar, and when it was over, Josh encouraged me to come back the next night to see how another CM, Trey, put his own spin on the singalong without an accompanying instrument. I agreed I would return Saturday night, and retreated to my room to read before an early bedtime.

 

Moon reflecting off the ocean at Disney's Vero Beach Resort
Moon reflecting off the ocean at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort

 

httpv://youtu.be/HHCkKjUG8OQ

Stay tuned for part 2 next week!

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Claire Bilby Moves On To Disneyland Paris; Ken Potrock Takes Over Disney Vacation Club

DVC Logo

 

 

Claire Bilby Message to Members

Dear Members,

I want to share an important Disney Vacation Club organizational announcement with you, our Member families.

As Disney continues to identify ways to deliver the best-possible vacation experiences, the company is providing new growth opportunities for members of the leadership team. In this case, Disney is giving me the opportunity to lead the Sales and Marketing organization at Disneyland Paris, leveraging my depth of international sales experience.

I am thrilled about this new opportunity, which begins February 1, and also deeply proud of the great work our team has done over the past couple of years at Disney Vacation Club. The team has accomplished so much and truly elevated the benefits, perks and experiences we provide to our Members.

You will be pleased to learn that longtime Disney leader Ken Potrock is succeeding me at Disney Vacation Club as Senior Vice President and General Manager. I can tell you that you’re in great hands with Ken. He is a wonderful leader, full of creativity and passion for the Disney brand, and extremely talented. Most recently, Ken has served as the Senior Vice President of Disney Sports Enterprises and Downtown Disney in Florida. I have known him for a long time and couldn’t be more delighted with his passion for the Disney brand, for innovation, and for always putting our Guests and Members first. In his new role, Ken will also have responsibility for Adventures by Disney, our family guided-tour business.

As I say “au revoir” for now, please know how much I have enjoyed my time with Disney Vacation Club and the privilege of getting to know so many of our Members. I look forward to Ken and the rest of the organization continuing to enhance the Member experience in creative and magical ways!

At Disney Vacation Club, it’s all about you – the Member – and that commitment will never change. Thank you for vacationing with Disney year in and year out. We look forward to delighting and surprising you each time we welcome you home.

Sincerely,

Claire Bilby

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The Week in Review: August 19th – August 24, 2012: Halloween, Adventures, Movies, and More!

The Week in Review: August 19th – August 24, 2012: Halloween, Adventures, Movies, and More!

This past week here at On the Go has been full of great stuff, and now it’s time to look back at our Week In Reviews so we can see all that happened August 19th to August 24th!!!

Let’s Go!

On Sunday, we brought you news about Cohen’s Deli Opening a Kosher Hotel Near Walt Disney World!

There is a Kosher Hotel coming to the Walt Disney World Area!

Monday brought us news about the 2012 Halloween Merchandise at Walt Disney World! Halloween is my favorite time of year, and this year the merchandise is well designed and even better than last year’s offerings.

Duffy’s Halloween Costume

We are all really pumped for the Orlando Solar Bears to Come Out of Hibernation, and they have signed a new player!

Simon Danis-Pepin Orlando Solar Bears

Tuesday brought the first in our Girls Night Out in Orlando series, where a few of the gals had a fun night at Universal’s CityWalk!

Wordless Wednesday took us to Animal Kingdom at night for a look at the Tree of Life. Animal Kingdom is a beautiful park at night.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Tree of Life at Night

I also went shopping at DStreet, and found that the Mavericks of Mayhem line by Noah had arrived at Downtown Disney’s Westside!

Mavericks of Mayhem Teams

Thursday started with another installment of Betsy’s California Adventure!

Matterhorn

Then I reviewed Doc McStuffins: Friendship is the Best Medicine, available now on DVD.

Doc McStuffins: Friendship Is The Best Medicine Available August 21, 2012 on DVD

Nights of Joy are coming to Walt Disney World, and we look at the artists that will be performing this year!

We ended the week with Cheryl taking us along for her DVC stay at Bay Lake Tower for One More Disney Day.

Disney Vacation Club Bay Lake Towers Couch Area
Disney Vacation Club Bay Lake Towers Couch Area (courtesy of Betsy Bates)

We also gave away two tickets for the Big Time Summer Tour with Big Time Rush with Special Guest Cody Simpson, coming to the Amway Center on August 28, 2012.

Catch Big Time Rush at the Amway Center with Special Guest Cody Simpson August 28th at 7pm!!!

And finally we took a look at two new logos that the Orlando Solar Bear will be using!

Orlando Solar Bears Opening Night Logo

Thanks for joining us this week in review at On the Go, and we can’t wait to bring you even more posts next week!!!

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Disney Vacation Club: Staying At Bay Lake Tower For An Amazing One More Disney Day

It was Disney’s One More Day event on leap year, the park would be open 24 hours, so I decided I would like to get a room close by using my Disney Vacation Club, DVC, points.  I originally booked a 1 bedroom at Bay Lake tower, but later changed it to a 2 bedroom not knowing who would want to come after and crash.

That morning we arrived early at Bay Lake Tower, the Disney Vacation Club Resort near the Contemporary, and let the guard house know that we would be having additional guests needing parking passes. They advised us that we should get parking passes since it was there was a special event that day and that parking enforcement could happen, and then we called our friends who were on the room to advise them that they should get parking passes as well.

Todd had done Disney Vacation Club Online Check-In the night before, so we didn’t stop at the front desk which turned out to be a bad idea this time. Around 1pm, I called to check on the room. The front desk said that I had to go to Bay Lake Tower and check in before they could give me my room info. I left the Magic Kingdom and headed out, at check in I was still confused why I had to be at the desk but I got our room keys.

The room was not ready so I went back to the park. The security lines were a little more crowded so I rented a locker. It was a few hours later, I finally got the notice that the room was ready. Thank goodness since by then I needed a nap. After my nap, I walked into the Contempo Cafe for dinner then I went back to the park. Around 1am, I was ready for bed; I walked back to my room. I woke up around 9am. Checkout was at 11am.

We left at 11am and headed back home. It was a quick stay, but having a room close by was really convenient and a great use of my Disney Vacation Club Points!

Note: These photographs are not those of our room.

Thank you to Betsy Bates for the use of her photographs!

 

 

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Vacationing My Way with DVC

If you aren’t familiar with the Disney Vacation Club. Basically its a timeshare system by Disney, when you buy  in you buy points. Originally my husband and I bought 170 points when we lived in Massachusetts and we were visiting about 2-3 times a year. When we moved to Orlando, we lived 40 minutes away, which while seems close is a long drive at Midnight after wishes. Now we live about 10 minutes away.

We have a total of 245 points, I banked in 4 points from last year. The following is my current and past vacations for this calendar year. In my next articles I will be discussing my stays and my reviews.

I will be talking about our upcoming stay at Disney’s Boardwalk Villas from September 28-30, 2012, where we will be staying in a Deluxe Studio with a Garden View using 32 Vacation points.

During One More Disney Day, we used 48 Vacation Points on a Ded. Two Bedroom Standard View room at Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

On February 25 & 26, 2012 we stayed at Disney’s Beach Club Villas in a Deluxe Studio using 22 Vacation Points.

Earlier this year from January 6 to 9, 2012 we stayed at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas- Kidani Village in a Deluxe Studio Savanna View using 46 Vacation Points.

Many thanks to Betsy Bates for the use of her pictures in this post!!!

 

 

 

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