23 May 2013

World News Roundtable - 23 May 2013

Roundtable Contributors: Estelle Hallick (This Happy Place Blog), Alan Mize, Blake Taylor (BlakeOnline.com), Andrew (Disney Hipsters Blog), and yours truly.

Alan Mize

It is an exciting time for DVC members right now.  Speculation is running rampant in regards to a future DVC expansion at the Polynesian Resort and construction has been coming along very nicely over at the Grand Floridian.  This week, the excitement grew even more when Disney finally announced the details of the new DVC wing at the Grand Floridian.  Officially called the Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and set to open for business on October 23, points go on sale today to current DVC members and then will open up to the general public on June 19.  With an initial price point of $145 per point, it is actually surprisingly affordable compared to what many thought would be the initial sales point.  With the Grand Floridian being the most glamorous of the Walt Disney World Resorts, some people thought this new DVC resort would allow Disney to really push the envelope and charge $170 or more per point and get away with it.  It looks like they’ve decided to go a different route.  While the “per point” sales price is very reasonable, they appear to be really letting you have it on the points per night end of things.  For those families that need a 1 bedroom or larger villa for their Walt Disney World stays, it is going to cost a lot of points to stay at the Grand Floridian.

Pictures of the model room were also released this week, and I have to admit that it looks very nice.  While I’ve always enjoyed the atmosphere at the Grand Floridian, I’ve never been a huge fan of the room d├ęcor.  That is not the case for the model rooms.  They are certainly elegant and themed to the Victorian period that the Grand Floridian is known for, but the rooms still have a nice up to date feel to them.  I don’t get that “Grandma’s stuffy old house” feel from these pictures the way I do from the regular Grand Floridian rooms.  These new DVC villas are really shaping up to be very nice and I can’t wait to get the opportunity to stay there.  And now that the Grand Floridian is nearing completion, I can’t wait for Disney to confirm the rumors of a DVC expansion at the Polynesian.

Finally!  Disney announced this week the development, construction, and impending sale of a Grand Floridian wing of Disney Vacation Club. This will of course be old news for anyone who follows Disney news even in the slightest. Up until this week Disney had all but denied the existence of the project, despite the fact that construction has been visible from the monorail (and from the Magic Kingdom...) for months now. Nearing completion, the resort will surely take on the beautiful grandiose nature of the main building, and hopefully add a restaurant or bar to enhance the property. The only apparent downside at the moment is the lack of unique pool to the resort, though that will probably be installed in the coming months.

Let's all cross our fingers, and hope for a lounge along the lines of Bay Lake Towers own 'Top Of The World!'

Blake Taylor (BlakeOnline.com)

Everyone knows there are differences between Disneyland and Walt Disney World, but the dissimilarities for the Monstrous All-Nighter are a bit absurd. As each destination prepares its own respective version of Friday's 24-hour operating day, Disney released a long list of instructions for how guests should line up outside the west-coast park prior to the 6 a.m. opening. The specific item that made my jaw drop was this beauty of a sentence: The early arrival queue will open to guests on Disneyland Resort property at 10 p.m. on May 23.

10:00? For real?

On the opposite side of the spectrum, there is strangely no list of instructions for WDW, perhaps since there doesn't need to be any. A head-scratching Google search later, I found that monorails will not start their run from the Transportation & Ticket Center to the Magic Kingdom until 5:15 a.m., 45 minutes before the park's opening. So while no one will be outside Magic Kingdom until less than an hour before rope drop, hoards of Disneyland guests will be waiting a whopping 8 hours prior to the event kickoff. That just bamboozles me. Why such a huge difference? Are the crowd-control tactics of each resort SO different that one needs an entire night of preparation while the other requires mere minutes?

Part of me thinks that simply because Disneyland stated an early start time, people will show up then and would not have arrived that early otherwise. The other side of my brain understands that, in the long run, it's probably a smart move that will only help organize a gargantuan crowd. I'm more familiar with WDW than I am DLR, so there are surely issues related to this topic (of "camping out" for the parks) that I simply have never experienced. But even still... I understand wanting to arrive on time, but 10 hours seems a bit much!

Estelle Hallick (This Happy Place)

Friends, biggest news of my life! The Muppets are officially going to be my neighbors in 2014-2015 with a permanent exhibition coming to the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens. Museum of the Moving Image is a great space that previously housed "Jim Henson's Fantastical World", a touring collection of many Henson artifacts. In addition, the Museum has hosted many events surrounding movies and documentaries.

Obviously, I am QUITE thrilled about this new Muppet haven that will be coming to New York. I'm already imagining all the future events that may come out of it: speakers, book signings, movie premieres (?!?!) and more. Nice to know the Muppets getting some love and will be a little bit closer to home.

Ryan P. Wilson (Main Street Gazette)

At one point or another, we've all had the dream of living in Walt Disney World. Whether it was plunking a home down in the middle of the vast wilderness that occupies much of Walt Disney World or just taking up residence in the Swiss Family Treehouse, the thought has crossed all of our minds. When Golden Oak was announced that dream became a reality for a select few, though most of us were just given something new to dream about.

This week Golden Oak unveiled plans for their second neighborhood in the compound, Marceline. Currently only nineteen quarter-acre homesites were announced, but each will be afford a view that will included either a waterway or nature preserve. The area, named after Walt Disney's childhood home, will also house a sculpture garden featuring statues of Snow White and her merry band of mischievous dwarfs.

The idea of Golden Oak has always intrigued me, and I'm sure I'd jump at the chance to move in if Walt Disney World offered it to me, but I prefer my dreams of the Treehouse or constructing a cozy, yet furnished with all the amenities, fort on the old Discovery Island. Walt Disney did so much to make dreams attainable for all of us that a community of homes that start at $1.6 million just seems like a step in the wrong direction.


Anonymous said...

There's something about Golden Oak, a suburban sprawl-like set of mini-Mansions, that seems like an insult to Walt's plans for E.P.C.O.T. on the Florida property

Rich T. said...

@Blake: I'm sure this year's Disneyland line-forming-at-10-PM plans are a reaction to the insanely huge turnout for the last 24 hour party. Southern California DL fans eat this stuff up--and I have to admit that, yeah, if I wasn't in Northern Cal right now, I would have been in line at 10 myself. Party at Walt's place! :)