What Changed with DVC Stays in 2021?
As we wrap up the news from the past year, several changes will impact your next DVC vacation. Here’s what changed with DVC stays in 2021 that will affect your future DVC
5G Cell Towers Added
Here’s a small news item that could profoundly impact future visits,
depending on how much time you spend in the room. All DVC Points users know that the internet service across the various resorts is…unreliable. Thankfully, Disney is trying something new. It has populated several DVC resorts with the smaller 5G cell towers. These units look similar to light posts but offer decent range. More importantly, they provide enough signal to improve overall bandwidth. That’s significant as more and more people stream video from their hotel rooms. This solution isn’t full-throated, but it’s a solid start to fixing the problem.
Can’t Request Additional Housekeeping Services.
This change comes down to staffing issues. For a while, Disney was offering $1,000 sign-up bonuses to anyone willing to take a housekeeping job. With a limited staff, the company didn’t want its workers distracted away from standard duties. The hygiene issues of the pandemic also played a factor. So, DVC members cannot order additional Trash & Towel pickups or full cleaning right now. This service could always return later, but you shouldn’t count on it. Plan your towel usage accordingly, my friends.
Cannot Transfer Perishable Items between Resorts
This one’s just plain weird. Many of us like to do split stays during our DVC
vacations. Those who order groceries during vacation often wind up with extra items. Unfortunately, you’re out of luck if you’re big into produce or the like. Disney has instructed its Bell Services team not to transfer perishable items. When you have leftovers you’d like to take with you to your next resort, you must do it yourself. I suspect Disney’s motivation is to reduce the number of people making their own meals during visits, but that’s pure speculation.
DVC Drops Physical Membership Cards
This one probably won’t impact you much. You should still know about it, though. In 2016, Disney introduced a new system for verifying DVC owners. Guests received a physical blue DVC membership card. We show this whenever we’re proving that we’re members. I’ve used my card most often at the DVC Lounge at EPCOT. Well, many people sold their DVC memberships during the pandemic as a form of profit-taking. DVC executives have realized that these former owners can still earn discounts on food and merchandise by showing their membership cards. So, Disney is closing this loophole by switching to digital ID cards. You can access these via the official DVC website.
Magical Express Ending
New Year’s Eve, 2021, proved a grim day in Disney history. Unfortunately, that was the last time Walt Disney World resort guests could use Magical Express. Early in the year, park officials set the tone for a frustrating year. On January 11th, Disney released a public statement about the program’s future. The language made clear that Magical Express would end at the start of 2022. Now, guests are on the hook for their own transportation to and from Orlando International Airport. Magical Express had spoiled us for the past 15 years. Now, we’re all on our air at the airport.
MagicBands No Longer Free
Disney also confirmed that another free amenity would go away, and this change happened almost immediately. Official Disney resort guests no longer received complimentary MagicBands. Instead, they have to pay for this wearable technology. Almost immediately after the announcement, Disney parks also raised the prices on all tiers of MagicBands. So, this move felt personal and a bit disrespectful to our wallets. The good news is that all your old MagicBands still work. If you’re like me, you’ve accumulated quite the collection over the past decade.
Disney had some rationale behind its decision to drop complimentary MagicBands. Imagineers had readied a new technology called MagicMobile. This service replicates many of the features of MagicBands. The difference is that you use your phone instead of a wearable. With MagicMobile, you can validate park admission, access virtual queues, and bill food and merchandise to your hotel folio. In other words, MagicMobile replaces MagicBands. Interestingly, Disney isn’t ending MagicBands, though. In fact, version MagicBand 2.0 is in the offing. It definitely won’t be free, though.
New Trading Partner for DVC
Everything old is new again for DVC members. In 2009, DVC switched its timeshare exchange partner from Interval International to the RCI Vacation Exchange Network. For 2022, DVC is returning to Interval International. Overall, this change provides you with hundreds more options for exchanging DVC Points. Interval International’s resorts do require more points than RCI’s on average. Still, I suspect you’ll happily accept the opportunity cost for exponentially more vacation options. Since you may have more DVC Points than you can spend right now, you should check the exchange options. A surprise non-Disney vacation may be in your future!