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View Full Version : Grand Californian at Disneyland no longer an option...


artsvdo
03-17-2010, 12:32 PM
We have been DVC members since 2005 and live in California. We purchased membership solely for making reservations at the resorts at Disneyland. We have enjoyed using our points once for a villa at Saratoga Springs (our Home resort) in Florida in 2007.

Up to the beginning of this year, we really enjoyed our DVC membership.

Our membership simply worked for us and was great!

In February of this year, we tried to make a reservation at the Villas at Grand Californian for June 2010, which of course was booked (there is only 50 units available). We then tried to make a reservation at the Grand California, which we learned at the time, was no longer an option.

Of course we realize that we failed to read the fine print on last years point charts.

And worse, we can't even book a room at the Disneyland Hotel with Concierge anymore. Just Premium and Standard view rooms.

So like any good DVC member would do, we complained to our guide.

Our guide acted like he knew nothing of the changes. He asked us to email him our concerns so he could show them to his leaders. Our guide also referred us to a Quality Assurance Representative.

When the QAR called us back the next day, he mainly listened to our complaints.

Our main question to our reps was this:

How is our membership better today than it was when we purchased it in 2005?

So far they haven't answered this.

And we now know, thanks to this GREAT forum, that its going to get worse for us. We may or will be facing a $95 charge to stay at Disneyland Hotel and Paradise Pier.

So my questions to the Forum membership are this:

1. Even though our DVC Guide and the QAR acted like they knew nothing of these pending changes, did they?

2. Is selling our membership an option? We have a 300 points at SS and owe less than 25% on the loan we took out.

Well, thanks for listening!

bwvBound
03-17-2010, 12:41 PM
Howdy neighbor! We are just a tad south of your location and also own at SSR. We've used our DVC points for stays in both GC hotel and GC villas.

My hunch is that the guides and related staff knew that the GC hotel rooms, effective this year, were no longer offered via DVC points. Yes, you have the option of selling your points.

Other options: Try the waitlist for the GC Villas?
Consider the DL and Paradise Pier hotel rooms?
Consider adding DVC GC points to take advantage of home-resort window? (We haven't done it ... as we know we'd never book more than 7 months out ... but perhaps you might?)
Consider hotels or other timeshares located near DLR?I hope things look brighter for you soon!

artsvdo
03-17-2010, 01:00 PM
Hello neighbor bwvBound!

Thank you for the reply!

After the whirlwind died down a bit, we made a reservation at the Disneyland Hotel for our vacation this June.

From what I understand, in the future, there may be a $95 charge for reservations there and Paradise Pier.

As for buying ownership points at Villas at Grand Californian, we did look into that originally but it just wasn't financially feasible for us.

The waiting list doesn't work for us because we do plan way ahead for these trips.

Why did they construct so few villas there. Did they think it wasn't going to sell?

Thank you!

bumbershoot
03-17-2010, 01:12 PM
"Why did they construct so few villas there."

Where is the earth available for them to build more? Anaheim is packed already!


Is your guide in Florida or Anaheim? The Anaheim guides, I'm sure, knew about it. The Florida guides perhaps not.

Sorry you didn't know about this ahead of time...we stayed at the hotel side in October, but it was shortly after that that points bookings at GChotel weren't allowed any longer.

The concierge thing was just taken off a couple/few months ago. Was a bummer, as that's how we used our "bonus" points last May at the DLH.


And I've learned from the boards that as soon as a hotel gets a DVC property, you can't book the hotel anymore on points. It's a common thing...so if the Poly gets a DVC, then you can't book at the Poly anymore with points.


I could be wrong, I often am, but I'm not *worried* about the booking fee for the other hotels at this time...would seem a bit "shoot ourselves in the foot" of them, given how relatively small the GC villa area is.

bwvBound
03-17-2010, 01:13 PM
After the whirlwind died down a bit, we made a reservation at the Disneyland Hotel for our vacation this June.Good call! :banana:

I hear you on the other comments (potential $95 fee, too few units, loss of concierge). Using my mom's advice, "Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first." ;) We enjoy what we can while we can.

Pakey
03-17-2010, 01:33 PM
I would guess that the guides did know about it but if you didn't specifically ask the question "are DVC rooms being built at DLR at such and such a time", they probably would not volunteer that information. I remember asking if we could use our points to book hotels at WDW and we were told sure, it's easy, yada yada but they certainly didn't disclose the points to dollars ratio.

Yes, you can sell your membership, if you can find a buyer. The sponsor on this board, the Timeshare Store, does resales. We used them to buy our 3rd contract and the personnel were very nice to deal with. I'm probably going to sell 2 of our contracts in the years ahead and I would use them.

wbl2745
03-17-2010, 01:56 PM
"Why did they construct so few villas there."

Where is the earth available for them to build more? Anaheim is packed already!

If you look at the layout (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=35720656&postcount=2223) of the addition to the GC where the VGC are located you'll note that there are three "wings" only one of which are DVC villas. They could have tripled the number of villas by making all of the addition DVC. Ultimately this was a financial decision. Clearly at some point they decided they could make more money with hotel rooms than DVC units. (In which case why did they do it at all?) I've wondered to myself whether there might not be a plan somewhere that says that if DVC is a grand idea at the Grand Californian if they might not convert the hotel rooms in the wing to DVC units at some point in time?

I've also heard rumblings about a DVC property in a fourth tower at the Disneyland Hotel. They also own property to the east of the resort proper. Perhaps something could go in there. Also, with the Anaheim Garden Walk in bankruptcy, one always wonders why the auction was called off at the last minute? Was there some behind the scenes dealing going on?

artsvdo
03-17-2010, 02:02 PM
I can't argue with land being a premium in Anaheim!

I think if they could only build a "limited" amount of villas at GC, then they shouldn't have closed off GC completely, YET. I can understand their policy of closing off the main hotels, etc.

"And I've learned from the boards that as soon as a hotel gets a DVC property, you can't book the hotel anymore on points. It's a common thing...so if the Poly gets a DVC, then you can't book at the Poly anymore with points."

50 villas at VGC as compared to over 700 rooms at GC? Im only guessing but I'm sure when they did this, the villa section would have a comparable amount of rooms available.

tjkraz
03-17-2010, 03:15 PM
Our main question to our reps was this:

How is our membership better today than it was when we purchased it in 2005?

So far they haven't answered this.

That's a very subjective question so I wouldn't expect Disney to answer it for you. Each of us will answer that in our own way.

Personally I've never booked outside of the DVC resorts so the $95 fee is of no impact. I own points at the Grand Californian so I'll be booking my stays there 11 months out.

I can think of a number of perks introduced since 2005 which are beneficial to members, also upgrades to guest rooms, new destinations available, etc.

If you feel the program is worse, you are certainly entitled to that opinion. But there will never be any universal agreement on the matter.

And we now know, thanks to this GREAT forum, that its going to get worse for us. We may or will be facing a $95 charge to stay at Disneyland Hotel and Paradise Pier.

Well, you could use the "may" qualifier with regard to just about any aspect of DVC. The common line of thought was that DVC didn't impose the $95 fee for Disneyland resorts because there was no DVC out there. But now there is a DVC (Grand Cal) and the fee is still not present. All we can do is speculate as to whether it will ever be added.

1. Even though our DVC Guide and the QAR acted like they knew nothing of these pending changes, did they?

Yes, they should have. And you probably should have realized it was a possibility, too. Going back almost 10 years to the opening of VWL, DVC has always eliminated the ability to book cash rooms at a resort after a DVC component was constructed. Wilderness Lodge...Beach Club...Animal Kingdom Lodge...Contemporary...Grand Californian...all have had their cash rooms removed from the list once the corresponding DVC villas opened.

Ultimately this was a financial decision. Clearly at some point they decided they could make more money with hotel rooms than DVC units. (In which case why did they do it at all?)

Well, all business decisions (and most personal decisions) have a financial component. ;)

Hotel rooms are far more profitable so I agree with your reasoning. They knew demand existed for another 200 cash rooms so the hotel received the bulk of the expansion.

The Disneyland guest demographic is much different than Walt Disney World. In many ways you could label the 50 DVC villas as a test program. Nobody really knew how DVC would be received out west. In fact, some critics have already labeled the Grand Cal a failure because they are still working to sell those 50 villas more than a year after sales began. (By comparison, Disney has sold about 150 villas in the Bay Lake Tower over an 18-month span. And those sales were concurrent with two other properties at Walt Disney World.)

I've wondered to myself whether there might not be a plan somewhere that says that if DVC is a grand idea at the Grand Californian if they might not convert the hotel rooms in the wing to DVC units at some point in time?

Yes, the possibility does exist. There are other options for building on the fringes like the 4th DL hotel tower.

But I wouldn't expect any dramatic growth out west. Going into 2007 Walt Disney World already had over 2000 DVC units and they were constructing another 700+ spread over 3 sites (Bay Lake Tower, Kidani and Treehouses.) Disneyland doesn't have nearly that much demand so growth will occur at a slower pace.

toocherie
03-17-2010, 03:33 PM
I think if they could only build a "limited" amount of villas at GC, then they shouldn't have closed off GC completely, YET. I can understand their policy of closing off the main hotels, etc.

50 villas at VGC as compared to over 700 rooms at GC? Im only guessing but I'm sure when they did this, the villa section would have a comparable amount of rooms available.

I always understood that the GCV villas were going to be at a premium--that is why I bought as soon as they came out. There is no guarantee that there will be availability at any resort--so I don't think the number of villas needs to come close to the number of hotel rooms for the hotel to cut off availability--and keep in mind there are the DLH and PPH available too. It's not like there aren't options. (It is a bummer about concierge--but I suspect those get booked faster than regular rooms and they don't feel the need to turn rooms over to DVC to fill them.)

As for availability of the GCV--I think that if you are planning a three day or more trip (especially if a weekend is involved) you are going to need the 11 month booking window. Having said that--I'm local and not likely to plan any long-term trips, and have had little difficulty booking one or two nights when I want--in fact I just called last week and booked a studio for the second to the last weekend (Sat-Sun) in May. So there is availability, but once you get within that 7-month window you are going to need to be flexible.

I think the guides and DVC expected GCV to sell-out immediately--and that would prompt another DVC development at DLR. However, with the sinking economy that didn't happen so think it will be a while before we see a second West-coast DVC.

toocherie
03-17-2010, 03:34 PM
oh and about converting GCH rooms to GCV--someone recently posted a great map--and IIRC the hotel rooms were smaller than the studios--so it might not be so easy to do a conversion.

artsvdo
03-17-2010, 03:41 PM
Thank you everyone for all of your answers to my questions! I really appreciate it!

I realize now that my wife and I were never fully involved with all of the DVC rules and processes.

In 2005, the "part" of our DVC membership that we used worked very well for us. No need to look into it further if it working for us.

Now in 2010, those same "parts" now no longer work or have been greatly modified. Since its not working, now we are looking into it further. This is clearly our fault.

But it's not the end of the world.

Thanks again to everyone for all of you information!

BigTigger
03-17-2010, 07:37 PM
Don't beat yourself up too much as it's easy to miss the details as DVC has so many options beyond the DVC resorts and the changes in options is constant from year to year.

It has been Disney/DVC policy to drop hotel rentals as an option when the DVC addition to the hotel opens. WL fell off when VWL opened, BC fell off when BCV opened (although you can do YC and the especially fun YC Concierge still), and AKL fell off when AKV opened. DVC also instituted the fee for using the hotels, but exempted DL hotels. I'd guess the DL hotels will get the fee now too.

I can't find the link on DL hotel points to reference, but I believe concierge isn't an option as the DL hotel is undergoing a three year renovation and concierge in the main building is part of this year's renovation.

ACDSNY
03-17-2010, 10:21 PM
artsvdo - Are all your points at SSR in one contract?

We've actually sold our small SSR contracts in order to purchase additional points at VGC as I was worried we would have trouble booking at the 7 month window. Yes, money wise it wasn't the wisest choice, but we're happy to have most of our points in the VGC as we vacation there way more often then WDW.

I would also waitlist as it might come through has more units sell and are declared into inventory.

tjkraz
03-17-2010, 10:24 PM
artsvdo - Are all your points at SSR in one contract?

We've actually sold our small SSR contracts in order to purchase additional points at VGC as I was worried we would have trouble booking at the 7 month window. Yes, money wise it wasn't the wisest choice, but we're happy to have most of our points in the VGC as we vacation there way more often then WDW.

I would also waitlist as it might come through has more units sell and are declared into inventory.

'course that only works if you're trying to book June 2010 far earlier than February 2010. I suspect OP is going to have to make changes to booking habits in order for VGC ownership to be of any real benefit.

ACDSNY
03-17-2010, 10:42 PM
'course that only works if you're trying to book June 2010 far earlier than February 2010. I suspect OP is going to have to make changes to booking habits in order for VGC ownership to be of any real benefit.

So true! We had to change our booking habits for DL, now I put in early what I think we may want and I'll worry about changing later if I have to.

artsvdo
03-17-2010, 10:43 PM
We have:

230 points at SSR that were purchased in 2005 that are paid for.

in 2006, we purchased 70 additional points at SSR that we are still paying on.

With some of the promotions that they keep giving and the fact we don't expect to go to Florida any time soon, it may be worth a "cut" in value to sell and purchase GCV.

Wow, never thought of that.

Thanks for the idea!

lark
03-18-2010, 12:18 AM
I think the OP's point is just further confirmation of the number 1 point to consider when buying DVC: Buy where you want to stay, or at a minimum, would not mind staying if you can't get on a wait list.

Buying SSR hoping to stay at disneyland is not that different from buying Vero Beach hoping to stay at BLT. It might work sometimes. It might not others. At a minimum, you have to try at 7 months.

It really is a very significant point that should be imparted to prospective purchasers doing their due diligence: Home resort matters. That and understanding dues are at or near the top of the list.

With respect to VGC, though, there's not really enough data yet. An awful lot of people report being able to get in well inside the 7 months. I booked inside 2 months. And as they sell more of the resort, presumably more inventory will be declared. So it may be premature to assume it's going to be impossible to get VGC at 7 months.

nunzia
03-18-2010, 07:14 AM
Hello neighbor bwvBound!

Thank you for the reply!

After the whirlwind died down a bit, we made a reservation at the Disneyland Hotel for our vacation this June.

From what I understand, in the future, there may be a $95 charge for reservations there and Paradise Pier.

As for buying ownership points at Villas at Grand Californian, we did look into that originally but it just wasn't financially feasible for us.

The waiting list doesn't work for us because we do plan way ahead for these trips.

Why did they construct so few villas there. Did they think it wasn't going to sell?

Thank you!

I'm sorry this came at you in such an unpleasant way...Yes, 50 units seems very tiny, but they haven't sold out, so I guess they knew better than me, who was sure they would sell out immediately. There is a rumor floating around that if these units do well they would build more..maybe at PP somehow..That said, this is the same as any other DVC with a hotel attached..can't use points there any longer. And yes, they could start charging the $95 fee to stay at DLH and PP. I don't understand why they took the Conceirge option off the table though..I find that odd.
If you tend to stay at the Grand more often than going to WDW would it be a possibility to sell your SSR poins and buy into VGC?

nunzia
03-18-2010, 07:17 AM
If you look at the layout (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=35720656&postcount=2223) of the addition to the GC where the VGC are located you'll note that there are three "wings" only one of which are DVC villas. They could have tripled the number of villas by making all of the addition DVC. Ultimately this was a financial decision. Clearly at some point they decided they could make more money with hotel rooms than DVC units. (In which case why did they do it at all?) I've wondered to myself whether there might not be a plan somewhere that says that if DVC is a grand idea at the Grand Californian if they might not convert the hotel rooms in the wing to DVC units at some point in time?

I've also heard rumblings about a DVC property in a fourth tower at the Disneyland Hotel. They also own property to the east of the resort proper. Perhaps something could go in there. Also, with the Anaheim Garden Walk in bankruptcy, one always wonders why the auction was called off at the last minute? Was there some behind the scenes dealing going on?


The auction was called off?? INtersting...

keishashadow
03-18-2010, 07:31 AM
I've also heard rumblings about a DVC property in a fourth tower at the Disneyland Hotel. They also own property to the east of the resort proper. Perhaps something could go in there. Also, with the Anaheim Garden Walk in bankruptcy, one always wonders why the auction was called off at the last minute? Was there some behind the scenes dealing going on?

when we toured the DVC property in 08' i 'unofficially' heard the same rumour when talking to the kiosk people during our stay.

Convention business is 'off' due to the economy, it would certainly make sense to open up one of the DLH towers @ a studio rate imo if only for short-term.

We didn't use our points for our trip as I was able to grab such a good rate @ the DLH in prime summer season. If a $95 fee were involved; it'd certainly keep us from considering a revisit.

SuzanneSLO
03-18-2010, 09:33 AM
The auction was called off?? INtersting...

Having a foreclosure auction on a large property delayed is nothing unusual. While the delay is party because hope springs eternal for the owner, the lender also has to be concerned about acquiring a half empty shopping center that has at least one tenant that has never paid any rent and itself is in bankruptcy. I think the amount due on GardenWalk is about $195M, which is pretty good size chunk of change for potential bidders to raise. I believe the auction was rescheduled for sometime in April. -- Suzanne

SoCalKDG
03-18-2010, 04:34 PM
2. Is selling our membership an option? We have a 300 points at SS and owe less than 25% on the loan we took out.

Well, thanks for listening!

Do an add on at VGC for approx. 200 points, financed. After you have the points, sell your SS membership. The costs should be similar, plus you should be able to get studios at VGC for cheaper than you were getting the rooms at the GC. Plus the VGC's have better views than the GC.

mopee3
03-18-2010, 05:12 PM
I for one am glad:goodvibes that there are Villas at the Grande Californian, if there weren't we would probably not stay there because it's not a place we want to spend points on. :rolleyes: As it is we have a 3 night stay coming up the 1st of May :dance3:that we booked 7 months out with our last avalible points of our 2011 use year. :scared1:

Moe